Note: Heat and Activity
If you participate in fitness activities or sports, you will need more water due to sweating and heavy breathing which causes water loss in the body. Such activities would include bodybuilding, basketball, baseball, football, soccer, tennis, running / jogging, cycling, dancing, swimming, yoga, pilates, golf, etcetera. Also note that being in a hot environment, like being outside on a hot day, will cause you to perspire, and increases the amount of water you need for the day. This chart is simply a baseline.
Water is extremely important, and vital to not only bodybuilding and fitness, but overall health. Water plays one of the most important roles in muscle growth because water is a nutrient transport mechanism by which the nutrients you consume are transported directly to the muscle. Water also aids in nutrient absorption and cell volumization.
Think of the body like a contained river that's always flowing. When the river gets low, the boats have problems delivering the goods (nutrients) to the docks (muscles).
2 oz of water per 5 lbs of body weight
Example: If you weigh 100 lbs, you need 45 ounces of water per day. If your weight is 200 pounds, then you need 90 oz of water per day.
Body Composition & Water
The human body is composed of 55% - 78% water depending on body size. Taking into consideration that water makes up about 85 percent of our brain, about 80 percent of our blood, and roughly 70 percent of our lean muscle, it would seem crazy to starve the body of its daily water needs. Water accounts for about 60% of a man's body weight, and represents about 50% of a women's body weight.
Approximately 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated according to the stats floating around on the web. We can't confirm this stat, but wouldn't be surprised if it's true.
Water will be taken from blood volume during the first hours of water deprivation.
Training and athletic performance can drop by as much as 20 - 30% if you lose even 4% of your body's water during exercise / training. It can be fatal if your body loses of 9-12% of its water weight. During exercise, or in a hot environment the body can lose about two quarts of water per hour. Your thirst can be impeded by exercise and overridden by the mind, so thirst is not the best indicator of your body's need for water.
Dehydrated cells shrivel like a prune. During the shrivelated state of our cells, we can experience physical pain, such as headaches and joint pain. Water is the basic need for cellular health. With all the "cell tech" and cell technology out there, water's importance is rarely ever mentioned.
The American Physiological Society states, "Despite the physiological importance of water to life, little is known about water intake and excretion patterns in free-living individuals, because fluid intake, particularly from non-caloric, non-alcoholic, and decaffeinated beverages is poorly documented."
This makes perfect sense because we drink coffee, apple juice, orange juice, sports drinks, milk and all sorts of other liquids, so it's difficult to know how much water a person really needs due to the many other things people drink on a daily basis.
Also, solid foods contribute to about three to four cups of water per day in an average diet.
Water generates energy as it flows through the cell's membrane. Water is also essential for the metabolic breakdown of ATP (Adenosine-5'-triphosphate), another source for energy that is used in cells as a coenzyme. It's often referred to as the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer.
Regulation & Waste Removal
Water regulates your body temperature, dissolves vitamins, minerals and other nutrients so your body can use them. Water also enables waste removal which reduces stress on the kidneys and liver.
Daily Water Loss
Approximately 10 cups of fluid is lost per day through sweating, exhaling, urinating and bowel movements.
How much salt does the body need? 1/2 spoon salt for every 2 quarts water (either in food or the water itself).
Adequate salt intake is needed for proper hydration. The body uses salt to balance blood sugar levels by clearing mucus and phlegm from the lungs, which aids in absorption from the intestinal tract, supports nerve cell activity, and strengthens bones. Salt is a natural anti-histamine that prevents water from being excreted. It helps create balance within our internal water system. Salt also helps extract excess acidity (hydrogen ions and oxidants from ATP production) from cells.
Bodybuilding Water Requirements
A bodybuilder's daily water intake requirement has a few variables. The first being body weight. Remember, you need 8 ounces of water per 20 lbs of body weight. Refer to the Daily Water Intake Chart above. The second factor being how much water is being lost through activity; cardio, weight training etc. Most pro bodybuilders that I've met typically drink about 1 gallon of water per day, but these guys weigh about 230 pounds and up, so that doesn't apply to everyone.
Let's go over some hypothetical examples on Pro athletes / bodybuilders.
Jay Cutler weighs about 274 lbs during contest time, and 310 lbs in the off-season. If Jay Cutler followed our water chart he would consume one gallon or more of water per day. Jay's daily consumption probably tops that, considering his high rate of activity. Jay's training routine is probably more taxing on his rate of water loss than most people.
The Rock weighs about 225 lbs and if he followed the water chart he would consume about 88 - 96 oz. or more of water per day. The Rock's workout routine is also at a level that puts his rate of water loss higher than most.
Daily water graph - daily water graphic - daily water infographic - daily water consumption - water guide