When working on building muscle mass, it is critical to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Oftentimes, however, between the proper proportions of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, consuming a proper amount of water is overlooked. While drinking water does not directly correlate with increased muscle size or strength, when you're properly hydrated there are numerous benefits that indirectly affect your muscles.
The human body is as much as 60 percent water, according to WebMD. Blood, which contains oxygen, circulates through your body to bring oxygen to various tissues and organs, including muscle. However, if you are not properly hydrated, your body does not efficiently carry the oxygen to your muscles. When you have properly oxygenated muscles, you can work longer and harder before feeling fatigued, whether you're exercising or doing hard physical labor, both of which build muscle mass.
Your proper weight-training regimen should include a healthy diet that conforms to the USDA My Healthy Plate guidelines. Per the guidelines, it is recommended that at least half your plate is covered with fruits and vegetables at each meal. These guidelines are in place to give you the right proportions of nutrients to keep your body healthy. However, if these nutrients aren't absorbed properly or efficiently into your body, there's no point in sticking to the guidelines in the first place. Water consumed during and after meals helps promote quick absorption and distribution of nutrients, which in turn gives you the energy you need to exercise and provides your muscles the materials needed to build mass.
Muscle is about 80 percent water. The cells in your muscles need water to survive. The substances that enter your muscles after digestion and circulation, including protein and oxygen, need water to move efficiently throughout the tissue. If these substances do not reach your muscles in adequate amounts, or are not used efficiently, a phenomenon known as muscle breakdown occurs. Muscle breakdown halts muscle growth, stopping protein synthesis, or the use of substances that enter muscle tissue. With proper hydration, you can ensure that your muscles maintain proper water levels, thus mitigating muscle breakdown.
Building and Maintaining Muscle
Dehydration can negatively impact exercise performance and recovery, according to Men's Health. Research has shown that well-hydrated muscles use protein during and after exercise to build mass, whereas dehydrated muscles build mass much more slowly. To maintain proper hydration levels, Men's Health recommends you weigh yourself before and after each exercise session and drink 24 ounces of water for every one pound lost during the session.
About the Author
Based in Denver, Parker Bowles has been a wellness writer since 2006. Her work has appeared in "Yoga Journal," "Elephant Journal" and "CafeWell." Bowles holds a Bachelor of Science in biology with a concentration in nutrition from the College of William and Mary and a Master of Science in kinesiology from King's College. She is also a certified health coach with a certificate in holistic health and nutrition from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.