This month’s only article is about water; please take the time to read it carefully. It is excerpted from Dr. Tindall’s book “Nutrition Made Simple.”  It you’re a speed strength athlete, you may wish to read more about athletic nutrition and water in Dr. Tindall’s book, “Speed-Strength Training for MMA: Fighting Power“: Water comprises the major portion of our bodies and serves as the medium for most chemical and exchange reactions with our physiology and bodily functions. The average adult consumes about one quart of water per day from various liquids: coffee, tea, water, fruit juices and soda. The foods we eat also supply another quart since they contain about 20 percent water. We also get about 1 to 2 cups of water as a byproduct of our metabolism. Thus, we generally use about 2 quarts of water per day. From this, about 1 ½ quarts is used to produce urine. The remainder is lost through the lungs, feces, and skin. When water levels in the body fall by 1 percent to 2 percent, the brain triggers a thirst signal. Athletes, the very active, sick persons, and those in less humid climates generally require more water than the average 2 quarts (1.9 Liters) per day.

Water always seems to be at the bottom of the priority list for many, especially when exercising. You can never have too much of it while exercising intensely, relatively speaking. A reduced water intake thickens the blood and thus, restrains nutrient flow to vital organs and muscles. Insufficient water supplies interfere with temperature regulation, energy production, fat and food metabolism, digestive processes, muscle and joint lubrication, resistance to diseases and glycogen stores. Water should be drunk slowly throughout the day and should be as cool as possible. Water that is very cold, such as that with crushed ice or near freezing, is more refreshing and will tempt you to drink it rather than soda, coffee, or other drinks that are considered diuretics, which dehydrate the body causing frequent urination.

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Those who exercise vigorously generate more body heat. To maintain the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature and keep cool, water is necessary. Unless the heat that is built up is quickly dissipated, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke can ensue. Almost all heat lost by the body is through evaporation of sweat from the skin. In prolonged exercises, this loss can range from 2 to 3 cups of water per hour, depending on climate. If you are in a climate that has greater than 75 percent humidity, sweat loss becomes inefficient.

Let’s look at some basic statistics. A suited football player in hot weather can lose 2 percent of body weight in 30 minutes. For the average size player, this would amount to about 4 pounds of fluid or 2 cups of water! A marathon runner can lose 6 percent to 10 percent of body weight during a race. Martial artists in competition have lost between 2 percent to 5 percent during competition events and about 3 percent during basic exercise days. A golfer on a hot summer day may lose 1 percent to 4 percent during an 18-hole game. During exercise, look for signs of water loss: profuse sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, flushed skin, and other characteristics. Look for rapid body weight loss (3 percent or more) and replenish fluids on a regular basis. Fluid intake during exercise should compensate for water loss anticipated.

Tip: When exercising anticipate how much water you will need, put this amount in a water bottle, and drink it throughout your workout so that the end of your exercise period finishes the water. Add ice if you can.

Two Ways to Determine Water Needs

There a couple of easy ways to determine how much water you need during or after your exercise.

Method I:

If you have no experience, try this: (1) For exercise times lasting 60 to 90 minutes, drink fluid freely until about 2 hours before your exercise, this includes any type beverage except alcohol, caffeine, or high sugar drinks (these cause dehydration). (2) Twenty to thirty minutes prior to your exercise, drink 1 to 2 cups of fluids. These extra fluids will replace what you may lose. (3) If you have begun your exercise, which will last longer than 30 minutes, consume about ½ to 1 cup of fluids each 20 minutes—about 4 cups per hour. Do not wait until you feel thirsty, especially on very hot days! (4) After your exercise program or competition, drink about 2 cups of fluid for each pound of body weight loss.

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For most activities, I recommend the coolest water you can get rather than carbohydrate drinks such as Gatorade. These should be reserved for very high intensity, long duration events, i.e., soccer, football, marathon, and so on. The key is not to drink too much or too little water during your exercise time. Experiment for best individual results. At the end of your exercise program, drink about 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrates from a sport drink or fruit juice. As an example, Gatorade has 14 grams of carbs per 8-ounce glass whereas grape juice has 32 grams. This will ensure replacement of necessary electrolytes that have been lost. If you work out all day, as in a golf event, or when you train more than once per day, i.e., strength in the morning, golf in the afternoon, electrolyte replacement is very important.

Tip: Drink 4 ounces of purple grape juice (16 grams of carbs) about 30 minutes prior to exercise.

Method II:

This method is for those who like to be more precise. Go to the gym and perform your favorite exercise(s) for 30 minutes. Weigh yourself before and after the 30-minute period. Any weight lost should be the amount of water you need to drink to replenish water that was lost. For every pound of weight lost, you should drink 2 cups of water to restore the weight. Replacing more than 20 to 75 percent of sweat loss during any exercise may be uncomfortable. The important point is to keep track of your individual needs and replenish as necessary. Once you have an idea of what you need through exploring the process, you will know what is required and it will become a good habit.

Water Types

There are different types of water that can be consumed. This does not include coffee, tea, juices, soda pop, etc.; consumption of these products increases water requirements. The best type of water is filtered water. Filtered water is pure and does not contain the contaminants that tap waters do. Tap water has been shown to contain chloroform, which is linked to cancer. Tap water also contains unnecessary metals and minerals. The only answer for outstanding performance is pure water. Home purification or bottled water will serve this purpose, although realistically, most of us will continue to drink normal tap water. You should also know that in many instances, scientific research has shown that tap water is purer than most bottled water.

Along with water there are other items you should consider:

Vitamins and Minerals

Foods deficient in minerals and essential vitamins are prevalent on the grocery shelves; be sure to read the label for nutritional content. Many have been fooled into thinking they are eating healthy food, when in fact, they may not be. To combat this problem, a good multivitamin, multi mineral/nutrient supplement must be taken daily. Without both supplements, deficiencies plague the body and eventually can lead to illness or injury.

Physiological Dynamics

Physiological dynamics refers to the amount of time a nutritional plan takes to obtain and achieve visible results, i.e., that your cells, tissues, organs, etc. totally recover. The amount of time for personal physiological dynamics is highly variable among individuals; you should allow at least six months for proper results, i.e., to ‘see’ a difference. This is the shortest nutritional plan you should consider and is also precisely why fad diets fail.

Treat Yourself

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Water is a big part of nutrition, more than you realize. However, while nutrition is very important, it must be tapered with realism. Once in a while, treat yourself to pizza, ice cream, candy bar, chips, etc. Whatever your favorite snack may be, it is okay to have it, just not too often. For those trying to lose weight, eating treats should be further apart (once per week) and then, opt for lower sugar and lower fat treats. If you are a competitive athlete, avoid sweets and treats during competition.

For many, nutrition will be the difference between great achievement and failure, i.e., the gain or loss of either lean muscle mass or fat or both. The concepts discussed in this chapter encompass the very basics of nutrition, but are scientifically sound. Once the basics have been adequately learned, additional tidbits of knowledge are easily added and retained in memory. There is much more to discover about nutrition that is beyond the scope of this book, so do not get frustrated with all the little details. Nutrition is another tool to health and longevity. The key is to find the proper balance between exercise and nutrition. To help with this key, I will again summarize the eight essential keys of nutrition. Although water is listed as number six, it becomes number one when working out. These keys should be followed each day and include:

1) Biochemical Individuality—we are all unique
2) RDA’s (very active people need more)
3) No junk food (prepare your own meals whenever possible)
4) Eat 5-6 small meals per day
5) Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fat (eat adequate amounts of each—watch portion size)
6) Water supply (drink enough—make it cold to quench thirst)
7) Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (eat proper amounts)
8) Physiological dynamics (pursue your nutritional plan for 6 months to determine best results)

By following these eight keys to nutrition, you will build a lean, quick, strong and more importantly, a healthy body that will serve you for years and allow you to remain active and enjoy life more fully. Adjust caloric intake to your exercise program and daily activities. Take the time now to design a plan for your individual needs (begin with the menus and workouts in chapter 4). You control your own nutritional destiny—become your own nutrition expert!

Tip: If you’re over 40 years of age, help your heart by consuming about two tablets of 81 mg, low-dose aspirin just prior to bedtime, which has been shown to lower blood pressure. Drink 4 ounces of water, consume the aspirin and then, drink another 4 ounces of water after to avoid potential stomach irritation. If you have a history of stomach ulcers, bleeding disorder, etc., consult with your doctor first.

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