Are you drinking enough every day? We’re told we need at least 8 glasses a day. That’s a half-gallon. Athletes are told they need a half ounce for every pound they weigh. So 8 glasses a day would only be enough if you weighed 128 pounds. Possible for some ladies; not likely for most men.
But I’m not here to talk about how much water you should drink. I’ll leave that for the Mayo Clinic . I’m here to talk about how you can drink much water.
You need three things. Strategy. Technique. Gear. OK, one at a time.
Strategy – There’s got to be a plan. If you leave it up to chance you’ll get a few sips at the water fountain and a few glasses at meals. Not nearly enough. Here’s my plan: I fill up a 24-ounce bottle and drain it four times a day. Two at home, two at work. The first one is filled the night before and set on my bathroom counter. While the shower water is heating up I drain it. Takes 25 seconds and bam, one bottle down. This is a habit I built after reading “Body for Life” by Bill Phillips. Took me 4 years to try it, but only 6 weeks to make it a habit. Now it gets me off to a good start each morning.
Bottle two I drink at work before lunch. I usually sip this one, but one way or the other it’s empty by noon. Bottle three I start after lunch. If I don’t finish by the end of the workday, I kill it in the car on the way home. Bottle four starts with dinner and usually ends on the couch watching a little TV. Easy. Peasy. I am well hydrated.
Technique – Your parents probably taught you not to gulp your food. But trust me on this; gulping your water is a good thing. If you sip, you’ll satisfy your momentary thirst. But to increase your intake you need to increase your intake. That means being able to pound down a bottle of water the way a Frat pledge pounds down a beer – by gulping, not by sipping.
Yes, there is a technique to this. To gulp successfully you need a long pull (the amount of water you take into your mouth at one time), a quick swallow, and to allow air to enter the vessel from which you’re drinking. If you don’t allow in air, you’ll create a vacuum and have to stop to release the air pressure. I breathe through my nose when I drink and allow air to flow back into the bottle from just above the top of my upper lip. This way I can pull continuously and drain 24 ounces in 24 seconds without stopping.
The final key to technique is flow rate. And that brings us to …
Gear – The basics of water strategy dictate that you have a refillable water bottle with you at all times. I keep one with me in my backpack, plus one at the office, in the car, and several at home. And though I probably own more water bottles than anyone you know, I am very particular about them. For me a good bottle must:
- Fit comfortably in my hand
- Be leak-proof
- Have a very high flow rate
Yes, flow rate is king. If the bottle limits my draw, it will take too much time to drink.
This bottle went everywhere with me. It fit great and had a wide spout for a good flow rate. This was my standby for years until REI stopped selling it. Why? Well, though the lid locks in place, if you drop the bottle it will pop open the spout, and that good fill rate will destroy your laptop, term paper or fancy shoes in about 3.2 seconds. I still have two of them, but they never go in my backpack, near my computer or my paper files.
Next came the Under Armour version of the Tritan. Though almost twice the price and two ounces smaller, the Under Armour’s locking mechanism solved the spilling problem. Unfortunately, the spout is smaller so therefore the flow rate is lower. Seems like a little thing, but I drink less water with this bottle, though I use it daily at work because of the safety issue.
But now there is a new bottle in my life, and I think it’s the best of all. Let me introduce the Contigo “Jackson” water bottle. Like the others, it’s made of BPA-free plastic, fits nicely in my hand, opens with one touch, has a ring to clip to my bag, and a good locking mechanism (though I have yet to conduct the drop test on it). But unlike the others, it has a huge spout and therefore a tremendous flow rate. Probably double that of the Under Armour.
That’s right, for less than what I paid Sports Authority for one Tritan, I got 3 Jacksons.
So to sum it all up, if you need to drink more water like most people do, get yourself a good bottle with a high flow rate, practice gulping, set your strategy and build the hydration habit.