More than any other topic, I receive questions regarding fluid intake; primarily how much water should I drink? Can I drink too much water? Can I drink diet soda on a diet? How do I stop drinking soda? Can I rid my body of water without the use of diuretics? And the list goes on and on. Water is a critical aspect of your competition prep and can make or break your appearance and/or placement. Even more important is the necessity of water in day-to-day life. I’d like to address as many topics and provide you with as much information as possible so you can take the guesswork out of the hows and whys of water consumption when planning your next competition program.
DIET DRINKS AND CARBONATION: YOUR WORST ENEMY
As an athlete or a healthy person—you know soda is not the best choice for a beverage, but drinking plain water sometimes seems more like a chore rather than the right thing to do for your body. More and more people today are “hooked” on diet sodas and carbonated beverages than ever before. Bodybuilders on a contest diet like to drink it, as the carbonation keeps them full and they like the taste better than plain water. It also feels like a treat to have a diet soda in a world of plain, unseasoned contest foods. But not only can diet sodas hinder weight loss and upset your digestive process, they can also prevent your body from ridding itself of excess water. The hardest part of getting on the “drink water” bandwagon is getting of the soda roller coaster. Rather than going cold turkey and moving straight to plain water, I have a plan that I use with many athletes and clients that either have difculty getting enough fluids in or for those trying to kick the habit of carbonated drinks and sodas. If you are used to drinking diet soda and carbonated beverages, the easiest way I’ve found to kick the habit is to wean down. If you are currently drinking soda or diet beverages on a daily basis, cut that amount to a single serving each day. From there cut down to three times a week, but you could add in sparkling flavored water. I have found that most people who are “hooked” on diet sodas aren’t so much hooked on the soda as they are the fizz and feeling of the carbonation. By adding in sparkling, carbonated water, you can continue to cut down on the soda until it’s completely replaced with the water. Once you’ve reached the point of drinking sparkling water, it’s time to begin weaning of the carbonation. By adding in beverages such as flavored teas, water with lemon, Crystal Light, etc., you can begin decreasing the amount of sparkling water you’re drinking. I suggest reaching the point of only having the sparkling water a few times a week, then eliminating it completely.
There are so many benefits to ridding your body of soda and carbonated beverages. You will find that you’re able to better digest your food, as well as having less indigestion, bloating, and reflux. You will definitely notice a decrease in your waist size, and you may even notice an increase in your metabolism and weight loss, along with less fluid retention.
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