If there is one thing I would like to realize in 2016, than it is maintaining a balanced and happy attitude towards life – regarding all aspects of my life, especially though regards my attitude towards food and fitness.
Do not get me wrong, I never feel deprived – I actually like embracing my lowcarb/paleo lifestyle now and love the energy I have both at the gym and in my beloved bikram yoga classes, but I do want to ackknowledge my family’s concern about being too strict for to myself and I admit I might have taken it a little far on the weight loss front in 2015. At the end of the day, all I want is to feel comfortable and this means fit to me.
So I started to amp up the weight training a little more since the start of the new year and after doing a ton of research I learned some basics in regards to growing muscle:
Increase your weights. Increase your food intake. Do not let a huge deficit sabotage your hard work in the gym. And do not obsess about it.
But there is one thing I will obsess about, pay attention because this is a good one.
If you are into fitness and weight training, you are likely to keep a somewha accurate track of your calorie intake and macros. You also tend to watch your nutrients, but most of us keep forgetting about the most important nutrient of all, which is water. Good old H2O.
And do not get this message confused with simply staying hydrated during your workouts, especially when we are talking about pumping our muscles, it is important to know that our skeletal muscle mass consists of more than 70 percent water. All contractions and the respective muscle protein synthesis will therefore also cause a movement of water, which is nicely explained in “Your muscles are thristy” on bodybuilder.com.
DISCLAIMER: I am of course no bodybuilder nor am I aiming for it, but I like this website to provide scientific insights into fitness and weight training. It provides food for thought and especially their calculation page can provide a helpful kick-start if your are looking into holistically tweeking your nutrition to achieve your goals.
Long story short though – I will try to keep the following facts in mind when guzzling on my water bottel to reach my 2.5l (85oz) target (as determined with this handy water intake calculator).
- Muscle strength is logically important for boosting muscle growth, since muscles adapt to an increase in loads by triggering growth. A study showed recently that a 1.5 percent decrease in water loss resulted in a decrease of muscle strength of the one rep max bench press – which is massive. Given the fact tthat such a small amount of water loss can compromise strength, staying hydrated can help you keep your strength and gain muscle over the long haul.
- Decreased body water leads to cells shrinking and protein breakdown. So if we simply maintain adequate fluid levels, we can cause cells to swell up, thereby reducing the amount of protein breakdown and increasing the building of new muscle tissue – especially during recovery.
- Drinking an adequate amounts of water will above all benefit your digestive system – make sure to let your gut efficiently absorb those carefully tracked nutrients in the body, othweise you can kiss muscle gains goodbye.
All in all, I am not a big drinker as I rarely get thirsty – but with these simple tricks I will keep on track and even try a #waterup challenge for lent this year. Because why deprive myself of a certain food/drink this year, I will ad something to my diet: WATER WATER WATER. And we will check for results.
Tip 1: Start your day with 1-2 glasses of pure water first thing in the morning.
Tip 2: Get a sippy cup and make sure to have a filled glass at your desk at all times and grab a “clean drinking buddy” and cheer with water during the day
Tip 3: Nibble on hydrating veggies like cucumber or kohlrabi sticks to add fluids to your diet.
Tip 5: Fruit – or veggie infuse your water for a refreshing flavour kick
Tip 6: Go do bikram yoga, you will never want water more urgently.
Meanwhile I just finished my first 1.5l and snacked on a juicy cucumber with almond butter. I feel like I am off to a good start.