My workouts lasted nearly two hours, three times a week working on compound movements, accessory movements, and band stretching. For the entire summer I sweated profusely – I felt “dehydrated.” I would be one of those gallon-bros who would carry a gallon of water with him 24/7. Trying to think in my head I gotta replace the water in my system that I am sweating out. Every day I would finish nearly the whole entire gallon or more. Soon I found out I was actually harming my body and playing dangerously close to developing hyponatremia.
I woke up every day for five days straight sluggish, with a hangover-like headache, and weakness before I had anything to eat.
Hyponatremia is a rare disorder that is based on over-hydrating and lowering sodium levels in the body.
I never hit that threshold but I was suffering the symptoms that lead up to hyponatremia. The fact that I was over-saturating my body with too much water than what was needed essentially flushed out all the nutrients in my body and lowered my sodium levels. A strong frequency of hyponatremia can be found in ultra-marathon racers who have suffered from seizures or even died from hyponatremia. One research study measured racer’s weight before the start of an ultra-marathon race and recorded that many athletes gained weight, as much as 4 lbs for one runner when they all finished.
I started to see my body change when I stopped drinking so much water throughout my day. Just substituting that water with a small bottle of gatorade a day (focusing on the sodium and carbohydrates) made the difference. My water intake was back at a level I was consuming before I made a dramatic shift.
When it comes down to it, moderation is the best option. Avoid taking in too much sports drinks and alternatives that include too much sugar. Nutrition goes further into your hydration and performance than anything else. Stan Efferding even goes to the point that sodium might be a better performance enhancer than creatine.
Recently I had a conversation with one guy who wanted to check his weight. As he stepped on the scale he was shocked to find out he was heavier than what he saw in the morning. In his hand was a gallon of water. I told him it was his water intake to which he claimed he drinks two gallons a day to “improve his metabolism” (recommended by his coach).
That was the point where I lost it. So let us calm down with the gallons of water. Focus on your energy balance and nutrition. Everything in moderation.