How Much Water Should I Drink During A Workout

How Much Water Should I Drink During A Workout

Most people tend to be a bit dehydrated daily. I know that I often forget to drink as much water as I normally should. Water is one of those things we can do without but we might not be paying enough attention to it.

During a 30-minute workout, you will need to drink up to 15 ounces of water. During an hour’s workout, possibly up to 30 ounces of water. That’s about two 16oz water bottles. This all depends on your workout intensity, humidity, temperature, and other factors.  

When I go to the gym, I usually drink from the water fountain after I’m done with a machine or set of weights. This helps me drink consistently during my workout. Let’s find out more about how much water to drink and strategies you can use to stay hydrated during your workout.

Why is Hydration Important for Your Workout?

Because we are made mostly of water, we need to maintain a constant supply at optimal levels to get the most from our cells. Cells run their daily activities, in part due to water. If limited water is available, what happens?

Body Temperature – We have difficulty maintaining the correct body temperature if we are not hydrated. In fact, I have felt the beginning stages of heat exhaustion because I failed to recognize that I needed more water. 

Joints – We need water to help our joints stay healthy. Blood is about 80% water. It carries that water to the cells and our joints. The fluid between your joints is mostly water, so being hydrated can help. You’ll be less likely to feel joint pain because you’ve been drinking plenty of water.

Muscles – Water helps get nutrients to your muscles during the workout, and to flush out toxins after your workout. Drinking water can increase the rate at which you convert food to energy.

Drinking water 30 minutes before your workout might be helpful because “water (about 17oz) increases metabolic rate by 30.” ( Having energy during a workout will help power your muscles and help you feel less sluggish.   

Set A Healthy Water Baseline for Your Workout

Keeping track of how much water you drink each day is important. If you are a random water drinker and don’t know how hydrated you normally are, then you first need to keep track of your normal water intake for a week. 

You can then see how much your water intake throughout the day is normal for you. You can include items such as:

  • Fruits – Try watermelon, oranges, and other water-filled fruits.
  • Vegetables – Cucumbers, lettuce, and other water-filled vegetables.
  • Sports Drinks – Electrolytes in sports drinks are helpful to drink during a workout; just avoid sugary ones.
  • Vegetable and Fruit-Infused Water – I like cucumber-infused water and strawberry-infused water.
  • Milk – I prefer not to drink milk myself but it does count as water intake. (Yogurt counts, just avoid sugar)
  • Juice – Too much juice isn’t healthy, but it is helpful for hydration and nutrients.
  • Soup – There’s plenty of water in most soups.
  • Oatmeal – Having a bowl of hot oatmeal can provide some water.
  • Coffee? – One cup might be OK, but too much caffeine and sugar can lead to dehydration.      
  • Soda? – One soda should be fine but if it’s a daily habit, it’s not helping with hydration. (
  • Smoothie? – Just like juice, smoothies have lots of sugar, so one once in a while is fine.
  • Tea? – Tea can have caffeine like coffee, which can be a diarrhetic (increases water loss). So, you may want to drink herbal tea instead.

I don’t usually count most of these items myself unless I think they have a significant amount of water or one that I have made a habit of drinking daily.

After you’ve collected data about how much water intake you have had for about a week, you can then calculate how much water your body needs each day. A chart found in this article is helpful when determining the needed water intake.

Now you can compare the amount of water you have been drinking and the amount of water you should have.

If there’s a big difference, you’ll need to start helping yourself get more hydrated regularly before doing a regular strenuous exercise program.

Once you’ve established a good habit of hydration, you can begin starting an exercise program. You’ll have a good idea of where your hydration levels need to be, and your body will be able to work better and recover faster when you are drinking enough water.

This healthy water baseline will help prevent issues that occur from dehydration and exercise.   

Prepare for Workout Hydration

There are so many ways to stay hydrated, and most of them involve you carrying some type of water bottle with you. 

Sometimes, I need to hydrate while I am running in hot weather. That way, I purchased a flexible silicon water bottle that I can carry with me. I have a fanny pack that I use when I run to carry my keys and phone, and the bottle can just fit inside with a bit of water.

I would recommend a runner’s water belt that is specifically made for running if you run often. It can comfortably carry water and your accessories, unlike mine. 

I usually don’t need to hydrate too much when I run since I’m usually not in the sun and don’t run for more than 30 minutes.

I hydrate before and after, though.

64 oz water bottle

Those working out at home or the gym want to have a water bottle that encourages hydration. For me, that means something big. That way, if I’m lazy, I don’t have to get up and refill the bottle that often. 

 My bottle can carry 64oz of water, so I don’t need to refill it too much. 

Some other reasons I like my bottle are it opens easily, it has a handle, and it doesn’t leak. 

Whatever bottle helps you to hydrate is the one that’s best for your workout.

Prepare by Drinking Water Before Your Workout

Do you really need to prepare to work out? There are a couple of things you can do to make sure your workout turns out well. 

Once you are ready with your bottle, you can get it filled up and also be ready with a protein drink or bar after your workout. Some people have a habit of going to a certain restaurant or preparing their food at home. 

Timing is may be important for your protein intake before or after your workout. You can take it before your workout or after. If taking it before, make sure to wait long enough that you won’t get sick when working out. 

Research has shown that when building muscles, you should take protein for about 15 minutes and up to 2 hours after a workout. It may not matter too much what time period it is because research also shows that the amount of protein you take each day is just as important, or more than when you take it, for muscle growth. (

Now that you have your water and protein ready, you want to prepare for more intense workouts by drinking a bit more water a couple of hours before work than you normally might. Some situations to consider hydrating more before a workout are:

  • On humid days
  • On hot days
  • When you’re out in the sun
  • When you are sweating a lot during a workout
  • When water availability is limited
  • Doing strenuous exercise

You’ll be able to feel better and have a better workout experience when you have prepared your body beforehand by being hydrated. The loss of fluid during your workout will determine how much water you need.

To get the most out of your workout, drink about a 16oz bottle 2 hours before your workout, then 8oz of water 30 minutes before. This will get your body both hydrated and energized to help you exercise more efficiently. 

There have been many days when my body was tired and I didn’t feel that good during my workout. Part of the time, I wasn’t getting enough sleep, but the other part was because I wasn’t hydrated. Your body just can’t function properly without proper hydration levels.

Drink 5oz of Water Every 10 Minutes of a Workout

While this number can vary in range a lot depending on your body size, the intensity of your workout, the clothing that you are wearing, and more, the things to consider are:

  • How much are you sweating during the workout? If you are not sweating, and it would be normal to sweat, you might be dehydrated.  
  • How much did you hydrate before the workout
  • How hydrated have you been in general lately
  • Is your workout making it hard to talk easily
  • Are you thirsty – An indicator that you need water, but if you are not thirsty, you may still need water.
  • Are your lips dry – Maybe from dehydration.
  • Are you replenishing electrolytes during longer workouts? A one-hour or longer workout reduces electrolyte levels, and your muscles and body won’t work as well.    
  • The temperature and humidity – You might be sweating and standing still on some days, and that water needs to be replenished. 
  • Swimming in water – It may seem like you are not sweating, but you still sweat in water and need to maintain the same hydration habits as if you were working out on land.

By looking out for signs of how your body is doing and the different situations you might be in, you can avoid problems during your workout. By hydrating regularly, you’re ensuring your body has the resources it needs to have a healthy workout. 

The best way to get yourself hydrated during your workouts is to keep track of water intake during the day and when you work out. Then, you can look at the data, see where you need to improve, and make changes.

Once you’ve gotten into a healthy hydration pattern, you won’t have to worry about how much you need to drink because it will be a habit.

Establishing Hydration Habits for Your Workout

For me, getting enough water each day comes down to measuring and habit. One reason I decided to purchase a huge water bottle is that measuring is simple. This makes it easy for me to keep track of my daily water intake, 

I think that most people need a simple process where the work of keeping track of water intake is done for them. That’s why lots of people choose to keep track of their water intake on their phones.

Many apps will remind you to input how much water you have drunk. These are really good at helping you visualize your daily needs and giving you the support to remember to drink water and record how much intake has occurred.

Apps are helpful, but we can always ignore them and it might take more than an app to get into a healthy habit of hydration. Talking to friends and family about your goals is another strategy that can help you get on track at the beginning.

It’s important to write down what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do it. A written goal feels more concrete for most people, and then telling someone what you wrote down helps cement that goal into a stronger commitment.

Some individuals may need to ask for support by talking to their friends and family on a daily or weekly basis about how their goals are going. 

Changing how much water you drink may be difficult because you have to change some of your habits, and you need to pee more. Just keep in mind that after 2-3 weeks, your body will return to its normal rate of bathroom breaks, and you’ll be well on your way to making drinking more water a habit.

Be aware that if you are drinking more water, you can “flush water-soluble vitamins and minerals” away. ( Make sure you are getting enough supplements and have a relatively healthy diet.

For some, this is easy; for others, it’s a struggle. One way to make the process easier is to compliment yourself and accept compliments from others on the work you’ve done toward your goals, even if you haven’t met them. 

No one gets fit in one month, as seen in different advertisements and YouTube videos. Drinking more water is similar. It takes continued practice every day to get to a healthy place, and then you need to keep up the habit, just like exercise. 

Hydration After Your Workout     

Once you are done with your workout, you’ll continue to sweat and need to hydrate. You may want to bring a protein drink to consume after your workout.

Drink about 8oz after your workout to stay hydrated. Wait about 15 minutes if you are drinking a protein shake directly after a workout so it can benefit your muscles. Drink water or your protein shake 30 minutes is up after your workout to stay hydrated. 

Consider hydrating with electrolytes if you have been exercising for an hour or more. Some come in packets that you can pour into your water. For longer workouts, it’s a good idea to drink electrolytes during the workout as well. 

Final Thoughts  

Working out can bring short and long-term benefits to your life. Being hydrated will ensure that you are getting the most out of your workout and your recovery.

If you are not in the habit of drinking much water, try a technique you think will work for you to help with better hydration. I know it made a big difference for me and how I felt as I worked out. 

Each person’s body is different, and the amount of water you need, as listed in this article, is just a general guideline. You may need a bit more or less. As you develop healthy hydration habits, your body will more likely be able to signal when it needs water, and if you are aware, you’ll likely know what it needs. 

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I enjoy many types of outdoor activities including running, hiking, and walking. I was a former elementary school teacher for 17 years and now enjoy writing and sharing my love of the outdoors.

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