You’re [Probably] Not Drinking Enough Water

water bottles

You probably need more water.

I played football in high school.  In Texas.  Practice started in August.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Any day under 100 degrees we would rejoice.  When you sweat through foam and plastic to drench a jersey or uniform, you do a happy dance when a cloud briefly blocks the sun.

Licking your lips was akin to sucking on fresh seaweed…it was salty.

Our water breaks were comprised of 30 sweaty men breathlessly herding around a hose with holes poked in it.  This hose was designed by an engineering school dropout, a cattle rancher, or a sprinkler-installation technician (or some hybrid of all 3).

I remember the coaches encouraging us to drink up, “but don’t get waterlogged!”

Waterlogging, in farming, is when the soil is oversaturated with water and it pools on top.

Waterlogging, in the bellies of overweight 17 year olds, is when you jog back to formation after the break and you hear the water swishing from side to side in your stomach.

Not good.

I remember falling victim to “waterlogging” every now and then.  I couldn’t help it.  You get so sweaty, tired, and thirsty that you can’t have 10 sips and move on.

But something changed my senior year.  I started to learn more about nutrition (apparently 20 chicken nuggets, a large fry, and a 44 oz soda weren’t ideal pre-practice meal choices).  I learned more about water and hydration.  I listened to my body.

I made a point to stop at a water fountain between every class, and take 10 big gulps of water.  Not just before practice but throughout the day.

I also traded the sugary soda at lunch for more water.

And you know what happened?  It worked.

I was rarely thirsty in practice and was able to rehydrate in a controlled manner (as opposed to those other poor souls that lapped desperately as if they had recently emerged from a 10 hour hike in the Sahara).

When I moved to Colorado in 2004 I found out that they give you a Subaru, a Golden Retriever, a pair of Chacos, and a Nalgene bottle when you get your driver’s license.

Everyone had their own water bottle.  We got water bottles as gifts.  We gave water bottles at baby showers.  As we had more kids, they each had their own water bottles.  Now, at ages 8, 6, and 4 they get new water bottles a few times a year.

Our water bottles go with us everywhere.  “Wallet?  Check.  Keys?  Check.  Cell phone?  Check…does everyone have their water bottles?  …  Alright then, get in the van.”

How much water you should drink depends on your level of activity.  If you’re a couch potato at sea level you could probably get by with 1-2 quarts (32-64 oz) a day.

If you’re a Fit Dad in Colorado (7,000+ ft altitude) then that number for me is at least a gallon.

I take a gallon container along with my Contigo water bottle everywhere.  When I wake up in the morning I fill the gallon jug and put it in the freezer for a few hours while I go through my morning routine (gym, shower, meal #1).  This gets the water near freezing and keeps it cold throughout the morning.

Here are 3 tips to make sure you’re getting enough water.

  1. Break it up into tiny pieces – A gallon of water is 128 ounces.  If you have a 24 ounce water bottle that is 5-6 refills per day.  If you’re eating 5-6 meals (I eat 6) that is 1 water bottle per every meal.  A 20 oz water bottle is 6-7 refills.  A 16 oz red Solo cup is exactly 8 cups… and so on.
  2. Take it with you – I take my water bottle every where I go.  I have become very accustomed to being able to drink water whenever I am thirsty; so if I’m at the hardware store or getting a haircut and have forgotten my bottle I get very annoyed.
  3. Refill whenever you can – When I travel I am always on the prowl for clean, fresh water.  (Airport water, hotel tap water, etc…not ideal).  I have found the following places are good to fill up:
    1. The hotel gym or lobby – they usually have a water cooler (fill up your portable container AND your gallon reservoir)
    2. Convenience stores – you can fill up for free (and walk right by the Slurpees…don’t get any ideas)
    3. Restaurants or coffee shops – when I get coffee at Starbucks I ask if they’ll fill up my water bottle for me and they have never said, “no.”

By the way, I don’t get into filtered or distilled water.  Yes, I’d rather drink filtered water from Starbucks than out of a hose in my backyard.  But I just drink as much water as I can, from wherever I can get it.

Most days I have finished my entire gallon by the time I’m home for dinner.

I hope this post about water is as clear as my urine (very clear).

What do you think?

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