Emily Schromm is a trainer, coach, writer, and entrepreneur. To sign up for her free 8-week strength training program, created in collaboration with Nuun, just follow this link.
Hydration for Strength Training
by Emily Schromm
There was a visual on a documentary I watched recently that will never get out of my head. It was an image of various people, all sizes and shapes, holding in front of them a bucket of how much water their bodies consisted of.
We know we have a lot of water inside us, but to truly comprehend that water is literally two thirds of your body sometimes takes a visual. It is A LOT of water.
My mom would say one thing when I would come to her with any problem, from a toothache to being in a bad mood... "Go drink a glass of water." As many of us know by now, hydration can help us with the more obvious things like muscle cramps and better skin, to the not-so-obvious things like moodiness and cravings.
But when it comes to muscle growth, or working on toning, hydration becomes even more important. Think of it at a cellular level.
When your muscles are contracting and working, water is pulled from the blood into the muscles. If you are not properly hydrated, your body will always prioritize blood over muscle, not allowing optimal protein production and a decrease in cell volume.
We know that studies testing max strength have shown that you are stronger when you are hydrated, but if you aren't necessarily trying to get a heavy bench press quite yet, think of it this way: the goal of strength training is simply to build more lean muscle mass. Increased lean muscle mass is connected to lower body fat, better bone density, and even a longer life. We build muscle by breaking it down in the gym and then optimizing the recovery of that muscle so that you can consistently do it. Your muscle does not grow by doing a shoulder press at 10 pounds for the rest of your life: it takes reps, it takes progressions, and it takes WATER.
In the gym, a properly hydrated body allows for more efficient oxygen transfer, faster recovery between sets, and the ability to do more reps. Out of the gym, a properly hydrated body allows for toxins to be flushed, cells to be replenished, and recovery to be faster.
A reminder that not all water is created equal: running to the bathroom with clear pee is not a hydrated body. Electrolytes hold water in our system to be properly utilized, and those electrolytes become even more important when sweat and stress are involved.
Muscle cramps, soreness, fatigue, and even in-between-sets recovery time are dependent on something we take for granted daily: water. There is a reason it is two thirds of your body! Let's treat it like it's equally as important in our workout programming.
Emily Schromm--The Meathead Hippie
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