Nutrition for CrossFit Part 1: You Can Lead a Horse to Water

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 in Fitness, Nutrition | 1 comment

From Mrs. Oswald…

This might be the most boring nutrition topic, but it’s the most important. I see people counting their calories, watching their carbs, and consuming their post-workout protein shakes, but aren’t drinking water, not realizing its fundamental role in every one of their fitness or health goals.
Water is needed by the body to transport nutrients and oxygen to cells, lubricate joints, remove toxins, regulate body temperature and bowel movements, and protect tissues and organs. If water is essential to survival (we can only live a couple days without it) and has all these vital roles, shouldn’t optimal water intake be our first nutritional goal? Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked.

In contrast, some people with the best of health intentions, are overdoing the water intake. You can have too much of a good thing, even with water. If you are water-logged, your sodium-potassium balance can be off, and you deplete your body of essential minerals needed for many functions. So while hydration isn’t a complicated subject, I’ve put together some tips to improve or restore proper hydration in your body.

1. How much H2O? Your daily water intake in ounces should be half your body weight, up to 100 ounces (pounds = ounces). So a 150 pound adult should drink 75 ounces of water per day. And if you consume caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, add on another 12 – 16 ounces of water for every 8 ounces of that. This insures enough water is drank to replace the amount the diuretic beverage caused you to lose.

2. For sweaty days, such as those with a tough workout that left your shirt soaked, add a pinch of sea salt to your post-workout water. This added electrolyte will help replace the sodium lost in your sweat, allowing your body to more quickly restore balance. No need for Gatorade filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners.

3. Sip, don’t chug. A steady drip of water throughout the day is more usable for the body and doesn’t upset digestion or mineral balance, as opposed to chugging a glass every two hours.

4. Skip the flavored waters – they are filled with artificial sweeteners that have their own problems. Just drink real water.

5. Water quality – tap water in Kansas City isn’t the best, but if that’s what you have, it’s better than nothing. The best water is pure, naturally mineralized water from an Artesian well, but last time I checked we don’t have many of those around here. You can spend your dollars on fancy Voss glass bottles. There are Brita filter pitchers and reverse osmosis filtration systems and whole-house filters – do what you can to drink the cleanest water on your budget. Just drink water!

6. Do limit your water intake at meals to 8 ounces. Too much water at meal time can interfere with digestion. More on that in a future post, but for now, get the majority of your water intake between meals if possible.

7. Bored with the taste of water? Add lemon, lime, or orange slices to a pitcher of water overnight and let the flavors infuse. Try making ice cubes with berries and fresh herbs in them to drop in for an extra zing. Or, suck it up and just drink water. You will learn to love it when your body thanks you for that instead of Diet Coke or whatever crap you were drinking before.

8. Common signs that you are dehydrated: headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, water-retention/puffiness/adema, and even hunger. If you have the munchies and know you shouldn’t be hungry because you’ve been eating sufficient protein, fat, and carbs, you might actually be thirsty. Just drink some water.

So there you go – as boring and tasteless as it may seem, water is a MUST if you are striving for health and improving your fitness. With sufficient hydration, all the many functions that depend on water can do their thing, allowing you to be and feel your best in the gym and out. Next up…Digestion, which means I get to talk about poop!

One Comment

  1. While it may be a boring topic it is so crucial to maintain adequate hydration I agree. You can always find me with a water bottle in or outside the gym. It’s interesting how everyone seems to know hydration is important but then doesn’t act on it. I work in a pharmacy and my pharmacist came in one day with a headache and the first thing I questioned was her lack of hydration, which I believe ended up being the issue because to this day you will always catch her with a half-gallon water bottle during her shifts. I’m interested to read about the 8oz during meals since that’s something I haven’t considered before. Keep the posts coming!

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