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The Art of Movement Edition 59: Optimise Your Water Consumption With 2 Simple Rules

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Edition 59: Optimise Your Water Consumption With 2 Simple Rules

Drinking enough water is one of the biggest 'easy wins' most people fail to do. I’ve been guilty of it myself. Losing my water bottle for the 1000th time, then going through a neglectful day which consists of (possibly) a glass of water in the morning, then coffee and maybe a smoothie at work being my only consumed fluids, before a complete panic at the end of the day when I get home, which results in me downing water in the hours before bed then going to the toilet all night.

This is admittedly the worst case scenario, I am not too bad at getting it in, and generally consume a decent amount of water every day. But on the other hand, what I had previously believed to be ‘good’ consumption levels - around 1.5-2 litres per day - I have now discovered are distinctly average and probably the bare minimum that I should be consuming to maintain a well hydrated condition for my body on a daily basis. I bold and underline ‘I’ because as you are about to see, the amount of water we should be taking on is not quite the same for everyone.

The other thing I hadn’t considered back in the day was whether it mattered when and how I was drinking water. I, like most people, believed that there was a certain quantity that should be reached every day (with no idea what that actual number was), and that it didn’t matter how or when I consumed it as long as I hit that daily quota. Thanks to all of the scientific research in this area, I now realise I was an idiot, because I wasn’t considering the pretty obvious importance of timing with water consumption.

For example, ask yourself:

  • You want to be hydrated for sport or exercise. What would happen if you waited until after the event to consume water?

  • You haven’t drank enough water throughout the day, what would happen if you tried to ‘catch up’ by drinking more before bed?

  • You drink plenty until midday, but then absolutely nothing for the rest of the day, then go to bed. How do you think you would feel that night and following morning?

Hopefully, in the process of asking these questions, you have come to some kind of conclusion that when we consume water might be important. But how do we take this knowledge and turn it into some kind of cohesive strategy for staying hydrated? Well I am going to give you 2 hard, fast rules to guide you.

Rule #1

On average you need to consume 240 ml of water (or other *non-caffeinated* fluid) every hour the first 10 hrs after waking, then 120 ml per hour thereafter (about 3 litres total).

So that means if you get up at 7am, you need to be taking on 2.4 litres between then and 5pm, then a further 0.6L (give or take) before bed, rounding you up to a total of 3 litres for the day. Remember, as far as I'm aware you can include juice, milk, smoothies etc. To this number, but not caffeinated fluids or alcohol, and ideally, as much of it water as possible.

However, smashing rule number 1 does not guarantee we are nailing our hydration. Why? We have not taken exercise into account.

Rule #2

Firstly, for the sake of argument, we are not talking about walking and very low intensity activities (like gardening) as 'exercise', this applies to anything higher intensity than that.

To calculate what you should intake during exercise, you first need to calculate your bodyweight in pounds (there are 2.2 pounds to a kilogram) - this is the number of millilitres (ml) of water you need to consume on average for every 15-minutes of exercise (on average over the course of before-during-after exercise, not precisely every 15th minute).

Using my bodyweight as an example:

Workout length: 60 minutes (divided by 15 = 4)

Bodyweight: 81kg x 2.2 = roughly 180lbs

4 x 180 = 720

I should therfore consume 720 ml water in and around my 1hr workout in addition to my daily needs in order to meet the hydration demands of exercise (my gym sessions usually last about 45 mins so for me this would actually be more like 540 ml).

So there you have it. How did these numbers go down for you? Are you in the camp of 'stunned, devastated and scrambling for the water bottle'? Or are you feeling pretty smug right now? Either way, I hope this edition hasn't been too alarming for anybody, and hope this helps you towards better hydration habits I'm future.

“The human body is 55-80% water (depending on age) - let's keep it that way!”

Movement of the Week: Inverted Row (Bar)

3 x 10-15 reps

That’s all for this week! Check out my Patreon channel for video episodes, on-demand workouts, training programmes, training guidance/advice and more!

Thank you,


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