T Nation

WATER - Why So Much?

I understand why we need to drink water, but why so much? I read of people drinking 1-2 gallons a day. Is this really providing noticeable benefits? Also, do non-caffeine drinks count in your water total for the day? I don’t drink much water, but I do drink a lot of de-caf coffee, milk, and crystal light.

  • Larry

Because it flushes toxins out of the system, and it keeps you hydrated.

Yes other liquids count if they don’t dry you out (like alcohol). But they may have other undesired side-effects, which you should keep in mind.

The few times I worked out while dehydrated, I could really see the difference. I’d guess on the level of 10-15%. Weights feel heavier, I fail a few reps earlier and generally skip some sets at the end of the workout.

“The best anabolic is water.”
- Dan John

Yes, but how much is needed? Is 1-2 gallons really better then 10 glasses?

Without knowing a few basics, it’s hard to give exact amount. What’s your current weight? What’s your caloric intake? Are you bulking or cutting? Good rule of thumb might be 1 oz of water per lb of bodyweight-especially if cutting. When you are bulking you are probably consuming more milk? more wet foods, so take this into account. Drink up–it’s good for the health of it


The 1-2 gallons you often here about is a KEY component of the natural trainers arsenal of “getting ripped” for a contest and/or photo shoot…

The theory is that you “prime” the kidneys to efficiently rid the body of water (drinking like this has you in the bathroom every 15 minutes!)

Then, when you get close to a contest or shoot, you DECREASE the amount you drink, allowing the already “ramped-up” kidneys to continue there efficient elimination of water for that “ripped” appearance. (Note: this often is in concert with some form of Sodium and Potassium manipulation, but you get the gist…)

On a “non-contest” note…I agree with everyone else…a well-hydrated body is a healthy body…and a healthy LOOKING body…


An extensive review, published recently in the American Journal of Physiology, could not find medical evidence to support a need for 8+ glasses a day. Drinking large amounts of water will not curb your hunger, ‘flush’ away toxins, etc.

“Despite the seemingly ubiquitous admonition to “drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day” (with an accompanying reminder that beverages containing caffeine and alcohol do not count),rigorous proof for this counsel appears to be lacking. This review sought to find the origin of this advice (called “8 x 8” for short) and to examine the scientific evidence, if any, that might support it. The search included not only electronic modes but also a cursory examination of the older literature that is not covered in electronic databases - and most importantly and fruitfully, extensive consultation with several nutritionists who specialize in the field of thirst and drinking fluids. No scientific studies were found in support of 8 x 8. Rather, surveys of food and fluid intake on thousands of adults of both genders - analyses of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals - strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed because the surveyed persons were presumably healthy and certainly not overtly ill. This conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks (and, to a lesser extent, alcoholic beverages) may indeed be counted toward the daily total, as well as by the large body of published experiments that attest to the precision and effectiveness of the osmoregulatory system for maintaining water balance. It is to be emphasized that the conclusion is limited to healthy adults in a temperate climate leading a largely sedentary existence - precisely, however, the population and conditions that the “at least” in 8 x 8 refers to. Equally to be emphasized - lest the message of this review be misconstrued - is the fact (based on published evidence) that large intakes of fluid, equal to and greater than 8 x 8, are advisable for the treatment or prevention of some diseases, and certainly are called for under special circumstances, such as vigorous work and exercise, especially in hot climates. Since it is difficult or impossible to prove a negative - in this instance, the absence of scientific literature supporting the 8 x 8 recommendation - the author invites communications from readers who are aware of pertinent publications.”


I respectfully disagree
I don’t claim to have a PhD in anything, but I can site emperical evidence that suggest that water, and lots of it, help my, and others physical performance. We are not talking about somewhat healthy, mostly sedentary people here on this site. While the study sited made reference to people who exercise needing more ?was this for health or foe performance based needs? I do, however; tend to agree that all beverages go towards your total as several recent studies do agree that REGULAR users of caffinated
beverages do not get the dehydration effects as severely as those non-regular users. I would say that your sited article, for general health and well being, may be accurate, but for specific weightlifting purposes–DRINK UP.

It’s worth noting the different needs between a highly physically active individual and the average sedentary American (or European, etc.)

Your water needs will be much greater than “average”, study or no.

Please name the “toxins” being flushed.

[quote]LarryJr wrote:
Yes, but how much is needed? Is 1-2 gallons really better then 10 glasses?[/quote]

I don’t bother counting it that way.

I just try to keep my piss as clear as possible. When it gets yellower, I’ll have 1 to 2 glasses immediately after. It usually goes back to clear for the next piss.

If I’m outside during the hot summer, I’ll make sure to keep something to drink handy and drink regularly.