Hydration is the second key element in any fitness program.

Second? Yes, second. It goes like this;

  1. Oxygen
  2. Water
  3. Food
  4. Activity

You can only survive a few minutes without oxygen, a few days without water, a week or two without food, and lack of activity will lead to an early demise. Most of us don’t have to worry much about #1, so a good fitness program should start with attention on hydration.

Hydration begins with learning to drink a lot of water. Just water. Companies like Hammer make high quality beverages and supplements for athletic training. Look into those later when you have achieved adequate fitness to consider yourself ‘athletic’. Start by learning to drink water. Don’t count water in other beverages. Don’t count water rich foods. And don’t be one of those show off guys chugging gallon jugs of water (unless that really works for you).

Every hour that you are awake, drink at least half a cup of water. Easy. So every hour, on the hour, drink half a cup of water. Build your habit. Would you rather sip. Fine, sip your water and if the next hour rolls around and you still have some in your cup, slam it and refill. Want it to work with your 2 hour breaks at work? Do one cup every two hours. Do not intimidate yourself with a huge water bottle that you commit to downing. Build little, simple successes.

If you really need to trick yourself, put water in light beer bottles and pretend you are drinking beer all day. Probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

Remember Saturday’s bad workout? Hydration was a big factor. I drank very little water, a couple of coffees, and a high sodium energy beverage while at work. Bad hydration, bad workouts.

Most days I run in the mornings. Not the best time for feeling fully hydrated. So I start my morning by slamming 2 cups of water then going for a run. I drink another 2 cups after. Before I even leave the house I have 4 to 6 cups of water down and it has set a pattern of hydration for the rest of the day. That means workout success the next morning.

It also means a lot of trips to the bathroom throughout the day. I know I am hydrating properly when I have to pee at least once every hour.

Water. Blood of the Earth. Originator of all terrestrial life. Drink deep.

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