My Water Experiment

I've never been good at drinking water. I don't think it tastes good unless (a) it's room temperature and I'm really hot or (b) it's flavored, cold, and carbonated. I drink a lot of coffee, protein shakes, tea, and I'll sip on water throughout the day.

I never thought much about it, despite EVERY source out there saying it's better for so many things, from skin, to energy, to immunity. I clung to the random study that claimed coffee doesn't dehydrate you or you don't actually need 8 glasses of water a day. I'd think, "ha! I'm just fine!"

Boring.

After all, when I'm training I was still recovering okay and lifting some pretty good weights.

So what gives?

I attended Brian MacKenzie's CrossFit Endurance seminar about a month ago. Kind of by chance. I'm no fan of endurance anything, I refuse to do conditioning work that lasts more than 15 mins and I refuse to do any running that isn't specifically sprinting for 100 m or less. But BMack has been coaching out of San Francisco CrossFit and was kind enough to let us SFCF coaches take the seminar for free.

It was at this seminar I had a moment of clarity.

I mentioned this test before, but it really stuck with me: press your thumb against the flat part of your shin, press hard. Hold it there for a long 5 count. How long does that indentation remain after you remove your thumb? It should fill in in about a second or two. Mine didn't. I looked up to listen to some of the lecture. After a couple of minutes, I look down AND OH MY GOD THE DENT IS STILL THERE!



I don't know why it hit me so hard. I guess because I do most things "right". I shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep a night. I train hard and rest hard. I eat clean and cyclic-ketogenic. I take vitamins and supplements to fill in what my activity levels need for optimum performance. But I'm screwing myself over because I'm really effen dehydrated.

My Experiment

Starting that day, every time I make or buy a cup of coffee, I have to down a glass of water. At least 2-3 times through out the day, I have to make myself down my 20 oz Nalgene bottle. Since I drink 2-3 cups of coffee in the morning, that's 2-3 cups of water, out of my ~14 oz glasses.

First week was really uncomfortable. I had to pee all the time, and I felt like I was sloshing with every step I took. It was super uncomfortable with a seat belt on in the car, or the wiggling that results from biking around or doing intervals on the watt bike.

Another test for dehydration. 

Second week was better, it's like my body started getting the hang of letting the water pass right through. And get this! All those markers of dehydration that blogs talk about seem to be true! Who of thought! Better energy later in the day. Less creaky joints. Less need or want for coffee. Skin is looking better. And so on.

So after two weeks I tried again. Still something of a depression, but it fills in SO MUCH FASTER! I wanted a little more, so for the next week, I would put a single turn of my sea salt grinder into each 14 oz glass of water.

And now! The depression test is almost gone. My plantar fasciitis, while still there, is markedly improved.

I'm a bit of an addict now. I'm still pretty bad on the weekends after my morning coffee, since I'm not always carrying a bottle and I don't have a regular weekend routine. I'll find myself exhausted, completely wiped out, from some excursion. Now I drink 1 or 2 large glasses of water and 20 mins later I feel like I had a nap.

Amazing. Why did it take me this long to deal with it?