Second to oxygen, water is the most important ingredient for life. Failure to stay adequately hydrated can be detrimental to a bodybuilder's endurance, strength, performance and metabolism. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, bodybuilders and other active individuals require more fluids than those who are sedentary to replace fluid lost in sweat, maintain blood volume and regulate internal temperature.
"Wardlaw's Perspectives in Nutrition" notes that exercise can raise your muscle temperature considerably. If you are not replacing lost water, your blood plasma decreases. Your body pulls water from your muscles and organs to maintain plasma volume. This generates cramps and a decline in performance. To ensure optimal performance during training, many bodybuilders take a 1-gallon container of water to the gym.
Waste Product Removal
Bodybuilders consume high amounts of protein for muscle growth and recovery. This increase of protein in the body leads to the formation of urea -- a nitrogen-containing waste product created through protein metabolism. Because high concentrations of urea in the blood can be damaging, water is essential for its disposal. Water acts as a vehicle by excreting urea and other waste products via the urine. The more protein you consume, the more water you need.
Many bodybuilders consume large amounts of carbohydrates -- glucose -- to drive their workouts. With the aid of water, excess glucose is stored in the skeletal muscle system and liver as glycogen. If you fail to drink enough water to aid glycogen storage, glucose remains in your bloodstream until it reaches the liver and is then stored as fat. Failing to drink enough water while on a high-carbohydrate diet will encourage unwanted fat gain, according to "Fundamentals of Biochemistry."
During training, you should lose no more than 2 percent of your body weight through sweat. Your urine color can help you monitor your hydration. Urine should be no darker than the color of lemonade. Thirst is actually a late sign of dehydration and should be avoided as an indicator for fluid intake. Adequate fluid intake is especially important for a bodybuilder before, during and after training.
- Journal of Sports Nutrition Exercise Metabolism: Development of Individual Hydration Strategies for Athletes
- Wardlaw's Perspective in Nutrition: Ninth Edition; Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., RD, et al.
- Personal Nutrition: Seventh Edition; Marie A. Boyle, Ph.D., RD, and Sara Long, Ph.D., RD
- Fundamentals of Biochemistry: Life at the Molecular Level: Voet, Ph.D., and Pratt, Ph.D.
- Fitness: The Complete Guide; Federick C. Hatfield, Ph.D.
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