How Staying Hydrated Impacts Muscle Building and Overall Fitness
Most passionate weightlifters are constantly looking for ways to maximize their muscle growth, commonly referred to as “gains.” Many people understand that supplements, diet and rest are all important parts in building muscle, but not everyone appreciates the significance of proper hydration.
Past clinical research has indicated that sufficient hydration after a workout can play a critical role in maximizing gains. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that failure to sufficiently hydrate following an intense workout “strongly increased cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, the primary stress hormones.” In response to stress, the body releases cortisol, which helps break down muscle tissue.
Professional bodybuilder Jeff Behar discussed the numerous key roles that water plays in muscle building and overall bodily functions, in an article from Iron Flask, noting the following:
- Water helps improve every system in the body, including the skin, teeth, and bones, plus all of your joints.
- Water also improves the digestive system by helping your body maintain a healthy urinary tract and balancing your metabolism.
- Water reduces fatigue, one of the most common symptoms of mild dehydration.
- Water can help with weight loss, studies show, because it naturally increases metabolism while also acting as an appetite suppressant.
The article also points out how water plays an essential role in the muscle building process because it “transports the nutrients needed for producing protein and glycogen structures, the building blocks of muscles in the body.”
Additionally, a study published last year in European Journal of Endocrinology found that regular H2O can have an anabolic effect, helping to support growth, according to a summary of the findings in Men’s Health. Hydration also impacts sleep, which is necessary for optimal muscle recovery and lasting energy.
While it is possible to over hydrate, the more common problem is a failure to drink enough water. A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study from 2013 revealed that 43% of adults drink less than 4 cups of water each day, well below a healthy amount for most adults.
Simple adjustments, like buying a reusable water bottle or setting daily reminders to hydrate, can go a long way in helping you achieve your fitness goals. So, whether you are aiming to bulk, tone, cut or just be healthy, more water breaks might be the key you need to break through.