Have you ever thought about how water is the most overlooked nutrient of them all in the world of bodybuilding?
Good hydration is the key for a good muscle pump
A good muscle pump is a reflection of the effectiveness of the training and muscle growth. Therefore, in order to gain more muscle, bodybuilders require proper weight training, and the most effective way to do this is to train correctly with the right energy intake. And very important part of the process of training is the increasement of blood circulation, which supplies the active muscles with oxygen and vital nutrients, at the same time removing the waste products like lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
So when you train with weight, for example, a lot of blood is pumped into the muscles, resulting in this tense feeling called the pump. The muscles need an immediately available energy source, like adenosine phosphate, creatine and glycogen – three crucial nutrients already stored in the muscle cells. During the process of breaking down glycogen, which is essentially carbs stored in the body, the body produces lactate and pyruvate, osmotically active compounds which in turn influence the growth of muscle cells.
This means that water from the blood enters the muscles and makes them full and pumped. In other words, the pressure inside the muscle fiber increases, thus adapting to the process of growth. Other osmolytes, i.e. substances that affect cell pressure, are creatine, betaine, taurine, glutamine and glycine, all of which strongly support the muscle-building process.
Water maintains your energy levels
Dehydration negatively influences the athletic performance, especially when it comes to high-intensity interval training like running, swimming and cycling. Having a loss of water thickens the blood, thereby limiting the transportation of vital gases throughout the body, i.e. the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and the transport of carbon oxide from the muscles to the lungs. And when it comes to endurance, a good and steady supply of oxygen is crucial. On other hand, the quality of performance depends on the supply of fat as well.
When your body lacks water and your blood flows slower, a red-flag signal is sent to the fat cells telling them to slow down the process of releasing free fatty acids from the fat cells, also known as lipolysis. Of course, this means less energy for the muscles, thus reducing the overall performance – but does it apply to your gym workouts, too?
Since lifting weights is an anaerobic activity which uses energy derived from the glycogen that’s already present in the muscle tissue, it shouldn’t be dependent on the supply of oxygen and fat, right? Wrong, according to some new studies which claim that anaerobic performance is also influenced by the level of hydration. Although we don’t know the exact reasons and mechanisms responsible for this process, it’s safe to say that dehydration simply weakens your performance. And to build more muscle you’ll need both strenght and endurance.