The Relationship between Hydration and Protein Metabolism
Many people understand they need to drink fluids (preferably water) on a regular basis in order to live. The need for fluid increases in the hotter months of the year and with exercise due to an increase in body perspiration. An adult human body is comprised of approximately 60% water with approximately 50% of that found within the skeletal muscle system.
This leads us to the question: How does drinking water affect your performance in the gym and recovery following a gym session?
Our bodies are constantly undergoing changes without any conscious awareness. Changes such as catabolism (breaking down) and anabolism (building up) are occurring in our bones, tissues, and organs. Focussing on the skeletal muscle system, the muscle undergoes protein catabolism during and following a training session due to the demands of the workout. As an athlete or fitness enthusiast, the primary concern is to attenuate the amount of muscle protein degradation. For the purpose of this article, the discussion on a balanced diet or the use of protein supplementation will be left out.
When we workout (and sweat), we lose valuable water that is stored in the body leaving us in an overall catabolic state. Our body will naturally remove water from the muscles to provide the “more important” organs (ex. our heart and kidneys) the necessary fluid to live. This lack of fluid in the muscle puts the body in a state of protein catabolism and the inability to adequately repair the well-worked muscles following a workout. When in a dehydrated state, we experience an increase in muscle soreness and thus an increase in recovery time. Ever wonder why you feel extra sore even if the workout was at a mild intensity? Think about how hydrated you were leading into and following the session. On the contrary, with an increase in fluid consumption n protein anabolism will occur in the body. This anabolic effect is the result of adequate fluid in the body to keep all the organs in the body happy. In turn, the body is able to deliver the necessary nutrients to repair those hard-working muscles! See diagram for further understanding.
In summary water is not only a required nutrient for the body but it also plays a vital role for protein metabolism in skeletal muscle. It’s cheap, available everywhere and leaves you feeling refreshed so consider carrying a bottle with you at the gym and sip on throughout the day.
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