Don’t Let a Little Brrr… Stop You!

It’s finally, really and truly Fall! (Until we get a couple more 75 degree days…but anyway.) As it starts getting colder, it’s tempting to work out only indoors or stop working out altogether. Don’t let a little cold stop you!

We’ve got a few tips on what to do and what to wear if you’ll be working out in the elements. When you take the weather into account when you exercise outside, you can continue your training no matter what Mother Nature decides to do!

General Tips

  • Dress for 15 to 20 degrees above the actual temperature. You’ll be generating your own heat once you get going.
  • Stay hydrated. This will help you regulate your temperature. Drink 17-20 ounces of water about two hours before beginning. Every 10-20 minutes during exercise, drink 7-10 ounces. After exercising, drink 16-24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost. (Some people do better with more or less fluid in their stomach while running. If you can feel or hear it sloshing, it’s probably too much! Test out what works for you.)
  • Check the weather. This seems like a total no-brainer, but it doesn’t just mean the temperature. As the temperatures drop, find out if there is a windchill. Sunscreen a good idea no matter the season or weather, but you may need a visor or glasses if it’s particularly sunny. And remember, there’s a huge difference between being caught in a possible rain shower when it’s 75 degrees and feeling those drops start to fall when it’s 50.

Baby, it’s Cold Outside

Exercising in the cold without proper preparation can lead to a generalized vasoconstriction effect (which can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or heart disease) or even hypothermia. And anyone can become chilled quickly when the body is wet from sweat and/or conditions are windy.

  • You’ve heard it before – layers! This helps you create a “pocket” of body heat that will keep you warm while allowing heat and sweat to escape. Wear several layers so you can outer layers as you get warm and replace them while you cool down and stretch.
  • Ensure adequate evaporation of sweat, since wet clothing speeds up heat loss. Choose wicking fabrics for inner layers and make sure outer layers can breathe or have “pit-zips” and flaps that will allow for needed ventilation.
  • Cover extremities. Gloves (mittens are even warmer), ear bands, hats, etc. are your cold weather friends, especially during the beginning of your workout. And they can be removed easily and stored in a pocket or waistband if you get too warm. Long-sleeve tops with thumb holes in the hem of the sleeves are also great for keeping your hands warm until you get going!
  • Select clothing made from materials that allow your body to give off heat when you’re moving and retain heat when you rest. Wool is an old standby, but is still a good choice depending on what you are doing since it maintains body heat even when it is wet. Cotton is a bad idea in the cold because it absorbs sweat and will stay wet and cold. Synthetic wicking materials work well, and nylon is good for outer layers to block wind. Outer layers with Gore-Tex can be good when it’s windy and wet.
  • If it’s windy, try to start out going into the wind and finish with the wind at your back. This will help keep your core warmer once you are sweating.
  • Don’t forget to drink! You may sweat less when it’s cold, but you can still become dehydrated. Cold air tends to be drier, so your body has to work hard to humidify it as you breathe it in. Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and refer to the info in the General Tips above on how much to drink when exercising.
  • Be sure to warm-up well. Do some jumping jacks, high-knee marching or a little dynamic stretching to get your blood flowing and your muscles warmed up. This will help you feel better during your workout and prevent injury to cold-stiffened muscles.
  • Take it slow(er). Your performance level can be affected when the temperature drops below 40 degrees because joints can feel stiffer and muscles can be harder to warm up. So don’t worry if you are a bit slower or feeling a little less peppy than usual.

Now get out there and stay warm!

The BEST Diet and Exercise Plan for You!

How to choose from approximately 3 zillion plans, programs, and lifestyles and find what works for you

We’ve all seen them. Commercials, magazine ads, click bait on the web – this latest, best ever diet will make you lose weight with zero work!!! Eat everything you want to and lose 10 pounds in two weeks. Exercise just 8 minutes a day. You don’t even have to break a sweat!

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true…well, yeah….

While the idea is tempting, if these work over the long term, why isn’t everyone we know at their goal weight and in fabulous shape? Hmmm…

There are also multiple options that we’ve seen work for people we know. Maybe your neighbor lost weight on the paleo diet or your cousin got in great shape doing yoga or your friend swears by Weight Watchers. It’s also tempting to think, “That’s what I’ve got to do! It worked for them; it has to work for me.” Well, maybe. Maybe not.

The unfortunate answer is that there is no single, one-size-fits-all plan that will work for everyone. I repeat – no one diet and exercise program will work for everyone.

Yeah, that sucks. I get it. It would be so much easier if there were such a plan. (And lots of people and companies have made lots of money convincing us their plan is the one!)

But don’t worry. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a plan that will work for YOU. There is. It just may take a little work, a little trial and error, a little mix and match.

There is one common denominator for everyone: the absolute best, most effective diet and exercise plan for you is THE ONE THAT YOU WILL DO.

I know that sounds stupidly obvious, but it’s true.

When considering plans that are based on healthy foods, reasonable portions, and smart exercise, studies show that they ALL can work, for SOME people. The key is finding the plan that you will stick with, one that works with your everyday life, one that you enjoy and can continue for the long haul. If you wake up every morning and think, “Oh crap, I have to swim again today, and I’m going to throw that nasty breakfast shake across the room!” Guess what? Not gonna work for you, even if you know someone who’s basically a mermaid and dreams about those shakes at night.

Think about it this way: Can you see yourself eating and exercising this way a year from now?

That doesn’t mean nothing can change, of course. You may have times you are working out more or less intensely or being a little more or less flexible about desserts, depending on your goals at the time. That’s okay. But can you follow the plan’s framework over the long term? Can you LIVE this way? If not, you probably won’t be successful over time.

It’s one of the main reasons so many diets and exercise programs fail. We follow the plan for a few weeks or even a few months and get results. Yay! Then we go back to our “old” way of eating and exercising (or not exercising), and we gain the weight back and lose the improved fitness level we worked so hard for. Not so much yay, right?

So, if you find joy in flipping tires and eating paleo foods, go for it. If you want to be a vegetarian endurance runner, grab some leafy greens and hit the road. If you love yoga, do it. High carb, low fat, raw foods, lots of protein, whatever. They ALL work for SOME people. You just have to find what works for you.

There are a few basics that are a good place to start. They are the building blocks that many different plans have in common, and you can use them in ways that work for you.

Move more – Exercise is important, whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain, gain, or just feel better. And new studies are showing that moving throughout the day is just as important as exercising for an hour. So get your run in or lift weights or hit spin class, and be sure you are also moving throughout the day. You’ve heard ‘em before – take the stairs, park farther away from the door at the store, get up from your desk and take a walk around the building every hour.

Eat fewer processed foods – Whether you go paleo or vegan or just try to eat more locally, you’ll be including more whole foods like vegetables and fruits. These are often low-calorie, high-volume foods that will fill you up while providing key nutrients, lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals. You will also consume a lot less sodium and sugar (processed foods can be chock full of those!), and you’ll know exactly what’s in the meals you are eating.

Get support – Some plans have support built in. You go to meetings or can login to a group online. With other approaches, you may need to create your own support. Tell a friend what you are doing and ask that person to check in with you about it once a week to offer encouragement. Use an online or phone app to track your progress – these also often include forums where you will find others with the same issues or questions you may have. Work with a health coach, who can provide accountability and help you stay focused. Just as with the type of plan you choose, you’ll find the type of support that works for you.

Here’s to YOUR plan, your way to achieve your goals and live a fit and healthy life!

Let’s Get SMARTER!

You’ve probably made SMART goals before. These goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Now, we are getting a little SMARTER!

It’s important to train with an end goal (or goals) in mind. A goal will keep you focused and motivated as you put in those all-important training miles or workouts, and when you’re making choices at the grocery store, a restaurant or in front of the late-night glow of your refrigerator.

Yogi Berra supposedly said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

So, where are you going? Maybe you’ve never done a race and your goal is to reach the finish line. If you have a bit more experience, you might have a specific finish time or even a PR in mind. Or maybe you have an outfit you haven’t worn in a while, and you want to fit into it. Or you want to introduce your family to clean eating and reduce the amount of sugar your kids eat. Your goal will be specific to what you want to accomplish.

A few basic tips for SMART goal setting:

Make it SMART – Your goal should be specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Create a plan – In addition to your end goal or the “outcome” you want, you should also develop smaller goals that will create the plan or process you’ll use to get to there. How often will you train? Where? When? Will you set aside time to prep meals for the week? When?

Have a back-up plan – Sometimes things don’t go as planned. It rains and you can’t train that day or you get sick and miss a week. What then?

Check out more info on setting SMART goals.

Now, let’s get SMARTER! So we add the ER – Exciting and Rewarding.

If you are trying to reach a particular goal only because you think “I need to” or “I should,” it’s going to be a lot more difficult to stick to it. So find a goal you are excited about, or find a way to approach your goal that is exciting to you.

For example, let’s say you want to finish your next 5K under a certain time – we’ll pick 30 minutes. That can be a kind of arbitrary goal and hard to stay focused on sometimes. Because really, who knows if you don’t beat that time?

So how do you make it exciting? Challenge a friend or family member to see who can run the sub-30 race. Or tell your friends and workout buddies about your goal – it will be exciting to have their support and to look forward to telling them what you achieved.

Then comes the rewarding part! Maybe the challenge “winner” gets taken out for a fun dinner after the race. Or you get a new pair of running shoes in your favorite color to train with your friends. It can just be rewarding yourself with a few hours of “me time” to relax and read a book. You know what works to keep you motivated!

Creating even SMARTER goals will make them more effective, and even more fun. Here’s to reaching your goals in good health and reaping the rewards of your hard work!

Heading into a Healthy Spring

Check out info from our latest Fit For All email below. Visit http://eepurl.com/bjKdZX for the full email.

Fit For All Spring Programs

It’s finally getting a little warmer, and before you know it we will really be into spring weather. Upcoming warm and sunny days will be perfect for getting outdoors to exercise, play, have a picnic, or just take the chance to be out and about.

Whatever your springtime plans, Fit For All can help you enjoy better health and fitness while you do it! Whether you need a little help with healthy eating, or you and a few friends want to build a fitness accountability group and workout together, we can help.

4-week Nutrition KickStart
$125 per person
Group Discount – 4 or more, $99 per person

Personalized goal setting
Daily food log and feedback
Motivation and support to keep you on track
Long-term habit changes
Weekly meeting, with daily support available

Small Group Fitness

2-15 people
Workouts customized to fit your group and your location
HIIT, Strength & Toning, Cardio & Endurance, Balance & Flexibility
Group motivation and accountability
* Pricing varies based on workout type, frequency, and group size

Corporate Wellness

Employee Nutrition and Fitness Programs
Onsite Group Fitness
Lunch & Learn Presentations

Contact us with questions or for more information on any of our programs, or if you are interested in having a program developed for your group or organization:

Fit4AllCoach@att.net or 404-234-1214.

Supermodels and Sumo Wrestlers

It’s warming up around here, so of course, there’s a bombardment of bikinis and washboard abs, giant guns and perfectly rounded booties. No, I’m not at the beach – this perfect body overload is from all the pre-summer ads and articles warning us that there’s JUST enough time to get “beach ready” or have a “bikini body” if we ACT NOW! This kind of message is everywhere, from online to magazines to billboards. You too can have those all-important six-pack abs in just 12 minutes a day if you take these super supplements and follow this fabulous fat-be-gone program! Join now! The model in the photo doesn’t even exercise!!!

Is anybody else seriously tired of this?

When we fixate on having the “perfect” body and believe that nothing else is acceptable, much less attractive or fit or sexy, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

If our idea of the perfect body is focused solely on how we look instead of how healthy we are and how well our bodies function, we are creating a problem that can lead to everything from frustration at never being able to achieve perfection all the way to depression and eating disorders.

It’s time to focus on being fit and healthy so we can DO the things we want to do and not just look the way we want to look.

Lowering your body fat percentage, working to have defined muscles, feeling good about the way you look, even sporting six-pack abs – these are not “bad” goals, not at all. They can be goals that help us become healthier. But if they are our only goals, it’s time to rethink things.

Instead, let’s celebrate what we want our bodies to do and work from the idea of “form follows function.” It may be an architectural concept, but it works with bodies too. What we do with our bodies and how they look are interdependent.

Think about it – even supermodels and sumo wrestlers, those folks waaaaay on the extreme ends of the weight spectrum, have bodies that do what they need them to do. Of course, supermodels’ bodies are judged on how they look, and I’m absolutely not saying this body type is the ideal to strive for, or even that it’s healthy. But what they do is show off clothes (or makeup or whatever) so we want to buy them. Sumo wrestlers work hard to be as big as they are, and eating enough is a big part of their training regimen. They need to be that big for their bodies to perform in their chosen field.

Stories and pictures have circulated on the internet recently about several former NFL linebackers who have physically changed so much since they left football that they are almost unrecognizable. People seem shocked by the transformations, but it’s not shocking when you think about it. They no longer need to weigh 300 pounds in order to push around other 300-pound guys from the opposing team. Their bodies don’t need to function in the same way as before.

Sprinters don’t think, “I want legs for daaaaays!” They want to run fast, and they need strong legs to do that. The look of their legs is a by-product of making them strong and quick. Most elite marathoners are long and lean because that type of body functions well in endurance competition. And a lean build is often a by-product of endurance running.

So think about what you want your body to do, not just how you want it to look. Do you want to be able to run a 10K? Do you want better core strength to pick up your kids and swing them around? Do you want to feel strong and have more energy?

Focus on the nutrition and exercise that will help you achieve those goals. Work to be able to do the things you want to do with your body, to function as you want to on a daily basis. Using function-oriented goals takes away the enormous pressure our culture places on how we look. Then you can ignore the onslaught of ads and images telling you how to have that perfect body.

Because your perfect body is the one you have, the one you celebrate when you finish that charity race, run with your dog, play tag with your kids, hike to that waterfall, and do all the awesome things you do every day.

Exercise to Be Fit Not Skinny

The “Day After” – Post-Race Blues and What to Do

Congratulations! You made it through that race. You ROCK!!!

But once the celebratory dance, the “biting the bling” pics, and the all-important after-race meal are over…what then?

If this was your first race, or even if it was just the start of the racing season for you, the “day after” can often bring on a really big dose of, “Now what do I do?” You’ve been focused on training and planning for this race, and now that you accomplished it, you may feel a little let down.

The best way to alleviate this post-race funk is to make a plan and set some new goals – whether those include another race or not. Take advantage of the momentum you’ve built and keep moving on your fitness and health journey. (You can revisit our article on Goal Setting for a full recap on how to choose and set goals.)

Here are a few ideas on what you can do next!

Try a longer race – Many people have had success with or heard about various Couch to 5K (C25K) programs. Maybe you even used one for your first 5K. There are also programs designed specifically to help you train for your first longer race – 10K, half-marathon, etc. You can check out training programs from places like Runner’s World and Active.com, or even Google “10K training” or whatever distance you have in mind. Just remember, you shouldn’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% to avoid injury.

Be adventurous – Want to add a fun twist to your run? You can get muddy, be doused in colors and glitter, wear costumes. There are all sorts of options. Check for “mud run” or “color run” or “adventure run” on your favorite race sites (like Active.com), and you’ll find all kinds of races. These can be great for a group of friends or families.

Go multi-sport – You can add another sport to your race. Try a duathlon or triathlon. There are races where you run-bike-run or swim-bike-run, as well as many other combos, like paddle-hike-bike. (Now that’s a tri full of fun!)

Switch it up – Maybe you like running, but it isn’t your absolute bliss. Or you want to cross train to avoid injury, or just because you like it. That’s all good! Find other activities that you enjoy – whether that’s yoga or biking or swimming or whatever. Try out a few classes at your local gym, check out area group bike rides, rent a kayak for the day, hike a trail.

Whatever you choose to do, the important thing is to remember that you are in this for the long haul.

Whether you are training for a specific event – which helps a lot of folks stay motivated – or doing your everyday activities, find things you enjoy that fit with your overall goals. Choose activities you enjoy, that you will want to do, that you can make work with your schedule. That is what will help you stay fit and healthy over time – for life.

It’s Finally Race Day! Now What?

You’ve gotten your race number. You’ve done your training runs. You’ve even tested out the chocolate-flavored Gu. Race day is finally here! Now what?

With all the preparation in the weeks (or even months) leading up to a race, the actual day can bring on some serious nerves, especially if you haven’t done a lot of races. We’ve got a few tips that will help you be prepared and stay relaxed as you go into the day.

  • Don’t do anything new. Race day is not the time for new shoes, gear, or anything else you haven’t used during several previous runs. Stick to your routine. It will help you stay relaxed. As a bonus, you are much less likely to end up with new blisters in weird places!
  • Prep your gear. The night before, lay out everything you will need during the race, from your socks and shoes to your hat and ponytail holder. You can go “top to bottom” to double check that you have everything you need or want – hat, glasses, earbuds, lip balm, shirt, etc. Don’t forget your race number and safety pins. Better yet, go ahead and pin it to your shirt.
  • Stick with tried and true foods. Eat whatever has worked best for you during training runs. Don’t eat any “new” foods, and don’t eat a lot within a couple hours before the race. Check out our blog on Fueling Up for more info on what to eat and when.
  • Get there early. Try to arrive at least an hour before the start so you have time for that all-important porta potty stop and last minute gear adjustments. You never know whether parking might be slow or the line for the potties will be a mile long.
  • Don’t overdress. Depending on the weather, you might be a little cool before the start. But once you get going, it will feel about 15 degrees warmer. You can often stash extra layers with your other gear at bag check close to the start.
  • Start slowly. Thanks to adrenaline and the general pack mentality at the beginning of the race, you will probably be going faster than you think. Check your watch or GPS if you’re using one and stick to your planned race pace.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk through water stops. Don’t brake right in front of folks and cause a pile up, but know that it’s perfectly okay to stroll while you sip. It’s better to actually get the water or sports drink in your mouth while walking than all over your face, neck, shirt and shoes while running. Runner’s World also has a good tip on how to drink more efficiently at water stops.
  • Keep moving. After the race, walk around for about 10 minutes and get some stretching in before you sit down. This will help keep you from getting stiff the next day.
  • Celebrate – you did it!

Fueling Up – What to Eat before You Run

When you are exercising, there’s always that lingering question made famous by Hamlet… to eat or not to eat? Okay, not exactly, but there are all sorts of different ideas about whether or not to eat before you run, and what and how much to eat if you do.

Some things will come down to personal preference, so you may have to do a little trial and error. But one thing to remember is that food is fuel. It gives you the energy you need to do what you do – whether that’s run, walk the dog, work, play with your kids, etc. Many of us often have a love/hate thing going with food because of diets, food guilt and/or overindulging, so it’s sometimes difficult to hold onto that fact. Food is fuel!

It may take a few test runs – literally! – but you will find the “go to” foods that work for you before a run or a race.

A couple of tips to get you started:

  • “Practice” your pre-race meal at least a couple of times before the race. Eat the same food at the same time you plan to on race day.
  • Eat at least two hours before the race so you can avoid cramping, pit stops, etc. The amount you eat should match the effort you are going to make. For a 5K, that means about 150 to 200 calories; longer races, like marathons, require much more (500 calories and up). If you are going to run 10 miles or farther, you also may also need a small snack (like a banana or an energy bar) about 60 minutes before the start to keep blood-sugar levels up.
  • Eat mostly carbs before you run, so it’s easier to digest. More protein and fat (eggs, cheese, etc.) takes longer to digest and turn into energy. Plus it can lead to that awful, gut-bomb feeling once you are running. A plain bagel with a little peanut butter is a good choice, or a banana, or toast with jam. Oatmeal or a granola bar are also good choices Beware of too much fiber before a run – it can also lead to stomach problems for some people.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate, but don’t overdo it! Drink most of your fluids – 16 to 24 ounces – at least 90 minutes before you start running. If it works for you, drink about six to eight ounces just before you start. You don’t want to feel water sloshing around in your stomach, but you do need to be aware of your intake, especially if it’s hot or humid. Use the color of your urine as a guide: It should be light yellow, but not totally clear.
  • If you are running less than 90 minutes, the general recommendation is that you don’t need to eat during the run. (However, some runners prefer to eat if they run more than an hour.) If you’re doing a long run, after about 60 minutes try eating about 100 calories, then another 100 calories about every 45 minutes after that. Some runners prefer gels or gummies, others stick with basics like bananas or granola bars. I’ve found this to be a highly personal preference!
  • After your run, you need to refuel. Within 20 minutes, try to have a protein-rich snack to help repair muscle tissue, and add some carbohydrates to restock your spent energy stores. This starts the process so you can recover quickly for your next workout. Some good options include yogurt smoothies or hummus and veggies. Just as you did when eating before your run, you should match the amount of food to the amount of work you did. Don’t go crazy and eat a giant 1,000-calorie smoothie after a three-miler!

Try out a couple of different foods before, during and after your runs. You’ll find the right meals and combos to make it work for you!

Embrace Your Pace

“Nah, I’m not a runner. I’ve just done a couple of 5Ks.”

“Oh, not me. I’m super slow.”

“I only walk, that’s all.”

Are these the voices you hear in your head when you head out the door to exercise? Or maybe you’ve even said similar things to people who ask about your training or the race you completed. For some reason, if we aren’t Meb Keflezighi (uber marathoner – he’s won a silver Olympic medal, the NYC marathon, and the Boston marathon, among others), many of us have a tendency to downplay or completely discount our own efforts.

Here’s the thing… are you putting one foot in front of the other? Are you running? Then you’re a runner. Are you walking? Then you’re a walker. You rock. Fast, slow, run, walk, short, long. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to be in Chariots of Fire or run like Forrest Gump (you can pretend if you want to!).

Depending on what statistics you look at, around 50 million Americans “went for a run” last year, and about 20 million completed a race. I guarantee most of them were not running like Meb or even like Forrest. And that’s okay. It’s great!

In addition to your general awesomeness for running and walking, you are doing some great stuff for your health. This is another area where people think they aren’t fast enough for it to count. But you don’t have to run like the wind to see benefits from exercise. USDA guidelines recommend 150 minutes of “moderate” cardio exercise a week. Moderate walking or running means that you should be a little out of breath. You should still be able to carry on a conversation, though it will be more difficult than if you weren’t exercising. This will be a different pace for everyone, depending on your fitness level and how often you exercise.

Embrace your pace and your accomplishments, whether you run, walk or crawl!

  • No matter how fast or slow you go, you are still going faster than those on the couch.
  • There is no test to pass, no membership card. You are out there. You win.
  • It’s about the journey. Look around. Enjoy.
  • Running slowly or walking isn’t “bad.” It just is.
  • It doesn’t matter if you come in first, middle of the pack, or dead last, you’ll still get the satisfaction of finishing.
  • We are all running our own race. We all have different goals.

“I often hear people say, ‘I’m not a real runner.’ We are all runners, some just run faster than others, that’s all. I have never met a fake runner.” – Bart Yasso, Runner’s World Chief Running Officer and author of My Life on the Run

Water, water, everywhere…

We all “know” we need to drink water, and probably more of it than we’re currently drinking. But how much is enough? And how do we get enough without guzzling it – all. flippin’. day?

Recommendations vary pretty widely, and it seems crazy that understanding something as basic as water has gotten so perplexing. Let’s try to break it down and take a look at some of the whys, wherefores, and how-tos of water.

Why drink water?

The term “water weight” takes on a whole new meaning when you realize that about 60% of your body weight is actually water. Every system in your body depends on water – it carries nutrients to cells, flushes toxins from vital organs, aids in digestion, and helps maintain body temperature. Water also helps keep your metabolism moving, helps energize muscle cells, hydrates your skin, and keeps you “regular,” among other great benefits.

How much water should you drink?

You’ve probably heard the “8 by 8” recommendation for water intake – eight glasses of water per day (64 ounces). Other guidelines include drinking half your body weight in ounces (150-pound person, 75 ounces per day) or multiplying your body weight by 2/3 (150-pound person, 100 ounces). As you can see, the recommended amounts are often very different.

Factors like how much you weigh do affect how much water you need – even if you aren’t using a “per pound” calculation, it makes sense that a 250-pound person needs more water than a 150-pound person. The amount of exercise you get is also a factor since you lose water through sweating. Fluid needs can also be affected by heat and humidity, illness, and certain medications (check with your doctor if you have a condition or are on medication that might affect thirst or hydration).

So what should you do?

Well, many of the more recent guidelines – such as those from the USDA – don’t include a specific amount, but say you should “let thirst be your guide.”

The easy way to do that is to drink enough so you rarely feel thirsty, and your urine is clear or light yellow. If you aren’t there yet, increase your water intake throughout the day until you find the amount that’s right for you.

Water and Exercise

Staying hydrated is especially important when you are exercising. Drink 17-20 ounces of water about two hours before beginning. Every 10-20 minutes during exercise, drink 7-10 ounces. After exercising, drink 16-24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost. (These are general recommendations. You may need to drink a little more or less while exercising, depending on the type of exercise you are doing. Sloshing while running is no fun, for example!)

Did you know?

About 80% of your daily intake comes from water and other beverages (the other 20% comes from food). Milk, juice and other beverages are mostly water, as are tea, coffee and soda. Even beer and wine are. However, you should focus on usually drinking water – it is non-caffeinated, calorie-free, and inexpensive, especially if you drink tap water.

Tips for Drinking More Water

  • Wake up with water. Your mouth is probably dry when you wake up anyway. Instead of slurping coffee (or tea or milk, etc.) right away, drink a glass of water first.
  • Use a straw. Many people find they drink more when they use a straw. On the other hand, don’t use a straw in beverages you want to drink less of (soda, juice, alcohol).
  • Keep it close and in sight. Having water with you makes it easier to drink more. Keep a bottle or cup on your desk. Carry water in your car. Put a pitcher on the table when you eat. It’s amazing how much proximity influences how much you drink! A study in military mess halls showed that soldiers drank 81% more water when water pitchers were placed on each dining table than when they were placed on a side table.
  • Drink water first. Drink a glass of water before you have a cup of your favorite other beverage (think coffee, tea, soda) – you’ll up your water intake and lower your consumption of caffeine, sugar, and/or calories.
  • Eat your water. Food provides about 20 percent of your total water intake every day.  And many fruits and vegetables – like melon, broccoli, and spinach – are 90 percent or more water by weight. Yummy, nutritious, and full of water!
  • Finish what you start. When you’re out to eat, don’t get a refill of your tea, soda, or coffee until you’ve drained your water glass. Better yet, order only water. You’ll save money and cut calories.
  • Flavor it. If you find water a bit boring, try adding mint, frozen berries, slices of cucumber, or wedges of orange, lemon, or lime.
  • Make it routine. Connect drinking water with other actions to make it a habit. Every time you send an email, take a sip. Every time you stop at a stoplight, drink up. It’s like being 21 again, but healthier!