Most people think that the single most important ingredient for building muscle size is protein. While that is more or less true if we consider the fact that it’s essential for maintaining positive nitrogen balance, and that it makes up for approximately 20% of our muscle fibers, there is another ingredient that is almost as important.
That ingredient is water. After all, about one third of our body tissues, or roughly 75%, is made up of water. Yet, when discussing the nutrients that are involved in the muscle building process, people mostly think about fats, carbs and protein, often forgetting to take water into consideration, while it should be right there on top of the list.
In this article we are going to discuss how water helps in improving the quality of your training and the effects on your physique, giving you several advices on the best way to consume this ingredient, necessary for building your muscles.
Water Creates the Pump
We’ve all experienced the tightness of the pump, when the tension starts to settle in your worked muscle, making each following rep more difficult. The chemistry behind this is as follows: It begins by breaking down the carbohydrates stored in your body in a form of glycogen.
This process triggers the production of lactate and pyruvate, which contribute to increasing the muscles cells as a result of their osmotic activity. The consequence of their activity is the increased flow of water in your muscle cells, making them full. This is in fact a signal of the anabolic process.
All nutrients have some sort of an osmotic effect which is why they are required if you want to achieve muscle growth. This process can be also described as a pressure buildup within the muscle fibers that causes it to grow.
Creatine, which is one of the most effective muscle boosting supplements, in fact utilizes the osmotic process to achieve anabolic effect. After the loading phase with creatine you can increase your muscle mass several pounds, which is all a result of increasing the quantity of water in your muscle fibers.
Some of the other substances that effectively impact the cell pressure and work well as osmolytes are betaine, glycine, taurine and glutamine. The last two amino acids are known to trigger anabolism. Glutamine is especially recommendable as anabolic supplement, as couple of grams can also have an impact on increasing the growth hormone levels.
Water Keeps Your Strength Up
It’s a well known fact that dehydration has negative impact in endurance sports. This is no surprise as we are fully aware that one of the most important factor in endurance is the steady supply of oxygen from the lungs to your muscles.
Lack of water in your body increases the thickness and viscosity of your blood, greatly hindering the oxygen flow in your bloodstream. Because of that, even a mild dehydration can have dramatic negative effects on the performance of endurance athletes.
Another factor that determines the performance in aerobic sports is the supply of fat from our stores. When dehydration sets, your blood flows with reduced speed, increasing the chances for creating blood clots. Your body interprets this as a signal for turning on the defense mechanisms that prevent clotting. The result is slowing down the process of lipolysis, which is responsible for sending the fatty acids in the bloodstream.
This leads to slowing down the fat burning process, and reduced energy supply to your muscles. Now, having cleared the reasons for decreased performance in endurance sports as a result of dehydration, we ask if this effect is the same with anaerobic activities like weight lifting. After all, they shouldn’t be as dependent on the transfer of oxygen and fatty acids because the main energy source we need is glycogen, which is stored in the muscles.
Yet, according to the most recent studies, dehydration can reduce the strength and performances in anaerobic activities as well. Science still hasn’t been able to determine the exact mechanism that causes this, but it’s more than clear that dehydration reduces your strength, which is crucial for lifting heavy and building muscle size.
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