Water is essential for muscle growth. You knew that. But why?

Workouts

A drop in hydration levels of only 2% causes shrinkage of the brain, leading to poor concentration, reduced coordination, reduced strength, slow muscular response and can lead to cramping. All of these reduce the quality of workouts and can halt muscle growth in its tracks.

Muscle size

Osmosis. Remember it? Probably something you encountered in GCSE science. Basically, water moves through cell walls to areas where water is less concentrated. So if the cells in your muscles have more water in them than your blood, the water will enter the blood stream, shrinking the cell and ultimately the muscle.

Fatigue

One of the biggest causes of daytime fatigue is dehydration.

Fat loss

Water increases the ability of the body to metabolize fat cells, the opposite happens when you are dehydrated – you will store fat more easily. A glass of cold water can even burn up to 50 extra calories!

Water retention – that bloated feeling you get after a night drinking can be caused by water retention. The simplest way to reduce the bloat is to drink plenty of water – it will flush the water out of your body.

Tips

Drink water consistently throughout the day, a few sips every few minutes is better than downing a pint every 2 hours. Aim for 2.5 – 4 litres of water each day, depending on your levels of activity and the temperature. The only time you should down water is around 45 minutes before a workout and immediately after.

Be aware of how other substances affect your hydration levels. Salty meats, caffeine and alcohol will all lower hydration levels so should be accompanied by water.

For results, train clever, eat smart and rest hard.

Written by the guys from The Science of Muscle.

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