The Importance of Hydration for Lifting

Bodybuilder drinking water after lifting


We all know that proper hydration is key to all physical pursuits.  Many top-tier powerlifters and bodybuilders will not even start their lift until they get an adequate level of hydration. But recent research shows that drinking water might be even more important to gains than was originally thought. A minimum of one gallon or 128 ounces of water should be consumed when training. This number should increase to about 150 ounces if you are taking creatine.


In a study from the Journal of Applied Physiology, healthy trained men were kept at varying levels of hydration. This was done to see the effect that hydration had on stress hormones produced. The stress hormones that were studied here were cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.


Your body releases these hormones whenever it is under mental or physical stress. These hormones are normal and nothing to worry about in small doses. When your body releases to much of them and on a chronic basic however it is a different story. At high levels these hormones will wreak havoc on your body and break down the muscle that you worked so hard to build.

Anabolic and Catabolic

To understand the importance of limiting these stress hormones one must also understand anabolic and catabolic states. An anabolic state is when your body is building more muscle than is being broken down. This state is normally achieved after strength training. If you fail to hydrate your body might instead break down muscle to survive the stress. The breakdown of muscle is known as the catabolic state.


Beyond staying hydrated, stress can also be reduced by other important lifestyle choices.  Getting proper sleep and practices like meditation might be an important step in packing on the muscle you want.