Are you drinking enough water? If you’ve ever looked for ways to boost your metabolism, increase your natural energy, clear your skin, grow your hair, avoid injuries, prevent early aging, or really asked any wellness related question, you’ve no doubt heard the golden rule of health: drink more water. It’s easier said than done though. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters or 0.98 gallons) of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters or 0.71 gallons) of fluids a day for women, but those of us who are more active or are trying to get our weight under control, stick to the fitness community’s rule of thumb: one gallon a day.
So let’s get straight to the point.
Pre-measure your water - whether you’re drinking straight from the jug or pouring each glass, having a day’s worth of water physically in front of you can help your brain quantify your progress. Some people like to fill one jug and drink continuously throughout the day, others prefer to fill several small water bottles, or refill one bottle multiple times. The sweet spot tends to be no more than 4 fills a day, so a 1 or 2 liter bottle fits the bill.
Make it easy to sip - keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Keep your water so close you're almost kissing. When your water is in close proximity to your mouth, you just drink more. Adding a straw to the mix can be a total game-changer, especially when you’re hydrating on the job when you’re the most likely to accidentally forget to drink water for 16 hours. Oops. Those absent-minded sips, brain breaks, and boredom drinks can really add up.
Sip limits - How many sips will it take to drink a gallon of water? According to the internet, 189.27 sips. Will you sip your water. That’s 1 drink every 5 minutes for 16 hours a day. When you put it like that, it does seem rough. But what if you take 10 sips at once? That's like, a whole hour of sips… To avoid facing down a half-gallon right before bed, make a habit out of drinking at least 10 sips of water every time you drink.
Chug alarm - As much as we may wish to be water-drinking robots that sip once every 5 minutes for 16 hours, it isn’t so. Even with a sip limit, sometimes we get a bit off track and need to be reminded that we’re drying up like a raisin and all we’ve had to drink is 10 cups of coffee. The answer? Set alarms or reminders that correspond with your hydration schedule. You can choose whatever intervals you like, but I recommend 4 reminders in 3-hour intervals, reminding me to finish 1 liter at a time. My first alarm goes off at 12pm, then 3pm, 6pm and 9pm.
Build on existing habits - Pretty much everyone habitually drinks a little throughout the day, so take note of when you’re already drinking, and make sure you’re set up for success. Take 10-20 sips when you first wake up. If you take any medications or supplements first thing in the morning, enforce the sip limit. Before you take your cup of coffee in the morning, drink 10-20 sips, which also reduces acid reflux and primes your metabolism. Drink plenty of water at each meal, and lots during your workouts too. Just by doubling down on your existing habits, you can make substantial improvements on your water intake.
Keep it interesting - Any hydro-homie knows, all water is not created equally. If you’re struggling to make water a habit, make it worth craving! Sparkling water, flavored water, concentrated flavor mixers, diffused fruit or herbs, and water-based supplements like BCAAs are all great ways to stay hydrated without getting tired of the tap. These are all great replacements for high-calorie drinks and can help reduce snacking if you’re working on cleaning up your diet.
Be consistent - The number one complaint with water intake is that what goes in must come out… Peeing every five minutes is not ideal, but it gets better! Your body will adjust to the water intake if it’s sustained and you’ll be able to comfortably drink a gallon a day without the constant bathroom trips. In the mean time, think of the bathroom trips as a nice excuse to stretch your legs and blow off your responsibilities for another 5 minutes. Keeping a healthy mix of electrolytes as well as some food in your system can also slow down the water’s passage and put it to good use.