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How Important Is Water To Fat Loss?

Is drinking enough water important to weight loss?  How much water should you drink?  Is it okay to drink sports drinks?  We answer those, and go over why drinking enough water is so important to your weight loss results.

by Ed Scow, NSCA-CPT (aka The Fit Dad) - Fitness and Nutrition Expert to the true superheroes - busy Moms and Dads! and Author of Fat Loss To Go

Staying hydrated is something that you’ve probably heard over and over. Even though it has been said over and over and written over and over, I’m willing to bet that you still don’t drink enough water.   water for fat loss


Your body is made up of over 90% water, so it should come as no surprise that water intake is extremely important whether you want to lose fat, excel in sports or just live a healthy lifestyle. 


Water serves many different purposes both during and out of exercise.   Whenever you get your body into a state where you burn more fat, waste products are produced.   Just by drinking a bottle of water during and after your workout will go a long way to making sure those waste products get flushed out of your system. 


Water also plays a key role whenever your muscles contract (flex).   If you are even a little dehydrated your muscles won’t work as hard as they normally could which leads to sub-par results from your workouts. 


A drop in body water volume of as little as 1% can cause a reduction in performance of over 10%.  That means you’ll have to work a lot harder during your workouts to achieve the same results you’d get if you just drank some water.  Plus, you won’t be as exhausted after those harder workouts if you keep your fluid intake up. 


One last thing that water helps with is reducing muscle soreness. 


Whenever your muscles contract your body releases a chemical called hydroxyproline from the connective tissues and muscle cells.   This chemical really irritates the nerve endings and is one of the causes of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is the soreness you feel the day or two after your workout.   Your body naturally gets rid of this chemical, but drinking plenty of water, both during and after exercise, will help further that process along. 


A good way to ensure you drink enough water is to always have a bottle of water with you.   If you are a deskbound person through most of your day, always have a bottle sitting at your desk and drink it throughout the day.   Or if your day-to-day activities have you in your car, make sure to grab a couple of bottles when you leave the house. 


You should also try to drink water with every meal.   Not only does that cut unnecessary calories out of your diet, but it also fills you up quicker, which helps if you’re like me and have trouble pushing away from the table when there is still food left on your plate. 


When you wake up in the morning you should also drink a full glass of water.   When you stop and think about the fact that you have just slept for 8 hours (hopefully) and probably ate a few hours before you went to bed, that’s a long time to go without drinking anything and your body is pretty dehydrated by that time.   Not only that, but drinking a nice, cool glass of water first thing in the morning helps to wake you up. 


Water can also act as a natural appetite suppressant.   It does that because often  what we interpret as hunger is actually thirst. 


Adequate water intake also helps your liver use stored body fat for energy and it helps to transport nutrients to your muscles and brain which keeps your energy levels high and metabolism cranked up. how much water should i drink


One thing to remember when increasing your water intake is to try to limit other fluids.   Meaning things like coffee drinks, sodas or a sport drinks. 


Most of those drinks are either caffeinated or loaded with sugar, or both.   Too much sugar makes you gain fat, plain and simple.   Sodas and most sports drinks are loaded with sugar (around 30g per serving or more).    


Sports drinks may be consumed while vigorously exercising, but if you’re just out for a leisurely walk or working in the yard just stick to water or teas.   Many people are lead to believe that sports drinks will increase their performance – which they can, but only if you need the boost in nutrients and carbohydrates that are found in them.   If you haven’t been working hard enough to have a drop in those nutrients or carbohydrates, then those calories may be stored as body fat. 


I’m not a big fan of coffee drinks.   Not because they are bad, because there have been numerous studies on the benefits of some caffeine intake.   However, many people who drink coffee simply drink too much.   And when coffee is combined with things such as whole milk, cream or whipped cream it turns them into calorie bombs. 


Plus, you may be surprised to find out that a single serving of coffee can have as much as 3 times the amount of caffeine of most sodas.   Caffeine is a natural diuretic, which means it makes your body get rid of fluid (water) and this entire section has been about the importance of fluid intake. 


Water doesn’t have to be boring.   You can add lemon or orange slices to your water to give it a little kick or you could even drink teas instead of coffee or soda – while increasing your water intake. 


It’ll be hard at first to limit sugary drinks and coffee if you’re used to having lots of them throughout the day, but once you do your body will be very happy and you won’t even miss those calorie bombs. 

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The preceding article was written by Ed Scow, aka "The Fit Dad". To learn more about Ed's story, click here.

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