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Why Hydration?

With Paul Kriegler, RD

Season 4, Episode 2 | September 14, 2021

Our bodies are 70 percent water, so maintaining a healthy body starts with sustaining healthy hydration habits. In this mini episode, Paul Kriegler, RD, explains why proper hydration is so essential for our health and how we can make sure we’re optimizing our water intake.

Paul Kriegler, RD, LD, CPT, CISSN, is the director of nutritional product development at Life Time.

In this mini episode, Kriegler offers advice around healthy hydration habits:

  • Measure your intake. Drink water more than any other beverage, aiming to consume half of your body weight in ounces daily. If you’re working out, add about another 16 to 24 ounces per hour of exercise.
  • Drink up — but not all at once. Sip your water all day long versus large amounts in a single sitting so your body can better absorb and use it.
  • Look for quality sources. Ideally, you want your water to come from a natural source, such as mineral or spring water.
  • Consider electrolytes. Electrolytes are needed to drive certain gradations of hydration. We usually get enough to avoid disaster from the foods we eat, but you may want to consider optimizing through supplementation. Other naturally replenishing sources include pickle juice and olive brine.
  • Eat your water. Fresh produce is a great way to enhance bodily hydration. Eat vegetables and fruits rich in water, such as cucumbers, lettuce, celery, and strawberries.

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Transcript: Why Hydration?

Season 2, Episode 2  | September 14, 2021

Jamie Martin

Welcome to Life Time Talks, the healthy-living podcast that’s aimed at helping you achieve your health, fitness, and life goals. I’m Jamie Martin, editor-in-chief of Experience Life, Life Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.

David Freeman

And I’m David Freeman, Life Time’s national digital performer brand leader. We’re all in different places along our health and fitness journey, but no matter what we are working toward, there are some essential things we can do to keep moving in the direction of a healthy, purpose-driven life.

Jamie Martin

In each episode, we’ll break down the various elements of healthy living, including fitness and nutrition, mindset and community, and health issues. We’ll also share real inspiring stories of transformation.

David Freeman

And we’ll be talking to experts from Life Time and beyond, who’ll share their insights and knowledge, so you’ll have the tools and information you need to take charge of your next steps. Here we go.

[MUSIC]

David Freeman

I’m David Freeman.

Jamie Martin

And I’m Jamie Martin. And in this mini episode, we’re talking with Paul Kriegler about hydration. Paul is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer from Life Time who is also the director of product development for Life Time’s nutritional products. Paul, welcome.

Paul Kriegler

Thanks for having me again.

Jamie Martin

Alright. We’re talking about hydration and why it matters for health. Let’s just dive in. Tell us a little bit about it to kick off.

Paul Kriegler

Sure. The easiest thing to start with is our bodies are at least 70% water. Maintaining a healthy body starts with maintaining healthy hydration habits.

Jamie Martin

Alright. So how do we do it? How do we hydrate and how do we do it well so that we’re actually absorbing that, whatever we’re taking in.

Paul Kriegler

Yeah. How much does it take? In amounts, we should aim for at least a half an ounce per pound of body weight. I’m about 175 pounds. I’m going to I’m going to strive for at least 85 ounces a day, more if I’m sweating. If I’m working out I’m going to add another 16 to 24 ounces per hour of exercise or per hour of sweating. And that’s just a baseline that I strive for. That might not be enough in certain conditions.

David Freeman

I think the key word that Jamie just said is absorbing. And I always see people slamming down gallons and gallons of water. What would you say how you should spread that out, and how do we know that is actually being absorbed. Is there some type of way that we can know? I know people say look at the color of your urine. Can you kind of break that down to us.

Paul Kriegler

Absolutely. Yeah. We need more than just the water to hydrate our bodies. We need electrolytes to drive certain gradients of hydration, from intracellular, or inside the cell, or outside the cell. To balance out where the water is in our body we do need a healthy level of electrolytes in our fluids, bloodstream, extracellular matrix, all those areas of our body. Yeah, we need to consume other things along with the water.

Usually we get enough of those electrolytes to avoid disaster along with the foods we’re eating throughout the day. Foods, of course, have some of those electrolyte components, calcium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, that end up carrying that charge and helping our body manage fluid balance inside and outside of our cells and help us perform metabolic functions, if you will, with the help of hydration.

David Freeman

When we look at water, though, is water water? Because you see alkaline water here, pH 7, this, that, and the third. Can you define a little bit about quality water versus just water?

Paul Kriegler

Yeah. Quality water really should be, ideally it comes from a natural source. So natural mineral water, spring water, are better than purified water. You see a lot of brands of purified water, which is nothing more than tap water with a label on it in many instances. If possible, people should strive for drinking spring water or mineral water that comes from a natural source.

Jamie Martin

Paul, I want to go back to the biological functions that you mentioned. What happens when we’re not properly hydrated in our bodies?

Paul Kriegler

The short answer is, everything slows down or gets worse. Water is responsible for helping carry nutrients to our cells, as a transport medium. It’s also responsible for carrying waste products, diluting waste products and carrying them away from cells so that our body can get rid of them.

If we don’t have a sufficient level of hydration, then all of those processes slow down. We can feel those effects oftentimes, sluggishness, brain fog, general malaise. We can get weaker. It might show up as, like, you can only do fewer reps than you previously could in a certain exercise. Your physical performance isn’t as good. Your recovery is hindered. All those things can start to slip if you’re not well hydrated.

David Freeman

Those are some signs of dehydration. Are there certain signs of over-hydration?

Sure. Yeah. You can drink too much water. In effect, if you’re drinking too much water without adequate electrolytes then you can have similar symptoms. Your body will try to get rid of that excess water. You’ll probably sweat a little bit easier. Hopefully, you’re peeing more of it out. So your urine would get much more clear, much more dilute. And there’s ways you can measure urinary output or even sweat output too.

But yeah, there’s a fine balance of getting enough water to maintain alertness and physical function, and getting too much water with not enough electrolytes to maintain the proper charge of signaling in your bodies, your nerves firing, and your muscles relaxing after they’ve contracted.

David Freeman

A lot of sports growing up, it was like the go to. We had to have these certain sports drinks, right, in between, at halftime or whatnot. Can you define or give us a little bit of insight more on what’s probably the best drinks when you are depleting a lot of, what you said earlier, you’re perspiring a lot and sweating a lot, to replenish with the electrolytes? Is there certain things that you would recommend in that area?

Paul Kriegler

Oddly enough, pickle juice.

David Freeman

Wow, pickle juice.

Paul Kriegler

Or olive brine can kind of be like —

Jamie Martin

Yum.

David Freeman

Right.

Paul Kriegler

— hacks for helping hydrate or re-establish electrolyte balance.

David Freeman

OK.

Paul Kriegler

Very salty, very high in potassium. Mainly what that drives is a sodium-potassium balance that our body thrives with. If we have a proper balance of sodium to potassium then that exchange of fluid and electrolytes across cell membranes and across tissues from the bloodstream to the tissues and back and forth, becomes much better. It becomes optimized.

In today’s society, the patterns we tend to see are people are drinking not enough water, typically. And they’re also consuming way more sodium compared to the amount of potassium. And that throws us into this kind of disarray where not only are we not well hydrated, we’re not properly charged to maintain proper muscle tone or blood vessel tone or even just systemic balance. That’s some of the major issues that face our healthcare industry today too, is people have way too much sugar and salt and not enough fluid and potassium, among other minor electrolytes as well.

Growing up as kids, if you’re an active kid and your hormones are just telling you to grow up taller and stronger, then sugar isn’t really that bad.

In the context of sports beverages. Like you just played a game or whatever maybe it’s not the worst. But if you can avoid it and just get the electrolytes in with the fluid and hydration, you’re probably better off.

Jamie Martin

Interesting. OK, so I want to — a lot of people drink coffee. A lot of people say does the water that’s the base of my coffee count as a source of hydration or not?

Paul Kriegler

In my experience, it’s a wash. It’s probably not taking away from your hydration unless it’s completely displacing your fluid intake. But it’s not adding to the benefits of being well hydrated either. It’s kind of neutral, in my book. If you’re adding calories to your coffee and it’s displacing your water, then I don’t see you being successful long term in terms of optimizing health.

We should be drinking mostly water, and also eating foods that are rich in water, produce, fruits and vegetables that aren’t overcooked or completely dehydrated and that sort of thing. But fresh produce is a great way to also enhance bodily hydration.

Jamie Martin

Alright, Paul. Anything else about hydration we need our listeners to know or you want them to know before we sign off?

Paul Kriegler

I think we hit on all the major things. Drink more water than anything else. Try not to drink your calories, I’d say, unless it’s like a protein shake that’s adding to your nutritional benefits of your plan. That’s a good source of calories in liquid form. But yeah, you might need additional electrolytes if you’re a hard charger like David here, working out hard every day and sweating plenty.

Jamie Martin

Alright. I think that’s it. David, do you have anything else?

David Freeman

No, that was it. Electrolytes 101 and hydration in depth. I love it. Sweet.

Jamie Martin

Thanks, Paul.

Paul Kriegler

Thank you.

[MUSIC]

David Freeman

Thanks for joining us for this episode. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our conversation today, and how you approach this aspect of healthy living in your own life. What works for you? Where do you run into challenges? Where do you need help?

Jamie Martin

And if you have topics for future episodes, you can share those with us, too. Email us at lttalks@lt.life, or reach out to us on Instagram, @lifetime.life@jamiemartinel, or @freezy30, and use the hashtag #LifeTimeTalks. You can also learn more about the podcast at el.lifetime.life/podcasts.

David Freeman

And if you’re enjoying Life Time Talks, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Feel free to rate and review, and share on your social channels too.

Jamie Martin

Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you next time on Life Time Talks.

Life Time Talks is a production of Life Time, healthy way of life. It’s produced by Molly Schelper, with audio engineering by Peter Perkins, and video production by Kevin Dixon, Coy Larson, and the team at LT Motion. A big thank you to the team who pulls together each episode, and everyone who provided feedback.

We’d Love to Hear From You

Have thoughts you’d like to share or topic ideas for future episodes? Email us at lttalks@lt.life.

The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.

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