I believe water is the most neglected of all critical nutrients. A healthy adult is more than 50% water, which makes it the most abundant substance in the body. So water is even more essential to the bodybuilder than all the protein taken in. If we look at our body composition as a model for what we should consume, then it should be clear that water should outweigh most other things you ingest. Because a healthy body is made up of more than half water, followed by muscle, then fat and other elements, our diet should reflect these proportions.
From a bodybuilding and health standpoint, the standard bodybuilding diet tends to be very acidifying due to the high protein and low residue. If you add to that a low water intake, the result can be painful kidney stones. I’ve seen it all too much in bodybuilders and fitness fanatics that lack adequate hydration. In my experience as a physician, the worst of these guys tend to be coffee drinkers as well. Perhaps that’s because caffeine is a mild diuretic and may work to dehydrate their bodies even faster. But proper hydration is absolutely critical to muscle growth because, while protein may be the most common structural component, lean muscle truly and shockingly contains mostly water. This explains why, when the body dehydrates, the muscles quickly flatten.
From a dietary standpoint, the body cannot be expected to freely enter into an anabolic muscle-building state on the backdrop of poor hydration. There is just no way all that protein you are taking in is going to be put to use and piled onto your biceps without a good prerequisite hydration status. Think about it like a priority list. You want your body to build muscle, but your body won’t budge until it gets a few glasses of water first. Guess who’s going to win that argument?
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