Adequate hydration

Being well hydrated helps your body in many ways. Apart from the fact that muscle is composed of roughly 76 percent water, adequate hydration maximizes your circulating blood volume. This benefit, in turn, maximizes the delivery of nutrients to recovering muscles while withdrawing waste products that accrue as a result of intense muscular contractions. Studies performed on subjects who strength-trained and on athletes have conclusively established that proper hydration aids significantly in optimizing recovery and enhancing muscular performance.3

The importance of adequate hydration is seen daily in emergency rooms throughout the world, particularly with elderly patients, whose thirst mechanism is often impeded. A common tipping point in their becoming ill is inadequate hydration, which impedes the ability of the bloodstream to deliver sufficient oxygen to the tissues. Dehydration results in a constriction of blood volume to the point where they can no longer perfuse their tissues with sufficient oxygen, causing them to become acidotic. Once this happens, the metabolism becomes almost entirely glycolytic, producing lactic acid. At the same time, a consequence of acidosis is a drop in blood pressure, resulting in acute sickness. Many such elderly patients who arrive at emergency rooms from a local nursing home look as if they are dying, but after the attending physician administers a liter of IV fluid over the course of two to three hours, they awake, completely alert, and appear completely well.

Another important side benefit of proper hydration is that your body's adaptation to the resistance-training stimulus effects some degree of adaptation that is largely hormonal.4 Any hormonal effect is very much dependent on that hormone's being circulated to the appropriate receptor sites.

As illustrated in Figure 6.1, the wall of any cell in the body comprises what is called a phospholipid bilayer. This bilayer is made up of fatty acids that have both a head portion, which is water attracting, and a tail portion, which is water repelling. Every cell membrane envelops the contents of the cell. Both the interior and exterior of the cell are water based. The water-attracting heads face outward toward the extracellular fluid but also inward toward the intracellular fluid. This is accomplished by the two ends of the water-repelling tails facing each other in the interior of the cell wall. As a consequence, the receptor sites for hormones become sandwiched inside the interior of the cell wall in such a way that they protrude toward the interior and the exterior (depending on what they're interacting with) of the cell.

If you are well hydrated, the hormones are circulated to the necessary receptor sites for optimal response. In addition, the cytoplasm (the water-containing interior of the cell) is maximally hydrated, which means that these same receptors, sitting as they do on the surface of the cell membrane, become maximally convexed into the environment where the hormones are circulating, thus allowing for maximal hormonal interaction with the receptor sites. If you are dehydrated, though, these same cells become somewhat concaved, because the cytoplasm is not fully hydrated. A lot of the receptors that sit on the edge of the cell membrane now involute away from the external environment where the circulating hormones can interact with them, thus preventing all of the hormonal responses necessary to produce an optimal anabolic response to the stimulus.

The act of hydration, as can he seen, enhances the hormonal responsiveness of the body after the exercise stimulus has been applied. Not only

0 Phospholipid with saturated fatty acid

Phospholipid with Omega 3 fatty acid

Tig fit and Stiff Lipid Dilayer

0 Phospholipid with saturated fatty acid

Phospholipid with Omega 3 fatty acid

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Plump and Flexible Lipid Bi layer

Increased hydration pushes the cell membrane outward, which increases the exposure of the hormone receptors on the cell. Increased omega-3 fatty acids promote a plumper cell membrane, further enhancing hormone receptor exposure.

does hydration allow the body to more effectively circulate hormones, but also, because the cells have been, in effect, plumped up, the receptor sites are now pushed toward the exterior of the cell wall, where they can better interact with the circulating hormones.

One hormone that is released in greater quantities into the general circulation as a result of the training stimulus is the stress hormone Cortisol, as noted earlier. The recovery process of the body requires that Cortisol be modulated, with noninflammatory hormones and chemical messengers predominating during the recovery period. (This is another instance of catabolism and anabolism.) Cortisol is produced in the middle layer of the adrenal gland, which is layered out in three sectors:

1. The mineralocorticoids

2. The corticosteroids

3. The sex hormones

Aldosterone and the antidiuretic hormones are located in the outermost layer of the adrenal gland, with Cortisol just underneath them, but the boundary between these two layers is not necessarily sharp. If you should become dehydrated, you will need to activate the adrenal glands to produce more hormone, which facilitates fluid retention. Your body will then be stimulated to secrete more aldosterone and antidiuretic hormone—and dragged along with these will be Cortisol. That is, these substances are so close in the structure of the adrenal gland that the stress hormones will be released more aggressively if you're not adequately hydrated. Adequate hydration, therefore, plays a lead role in the hormonal component of the recovery process.

IIow much water should one drink to help the recovery process? A good rule of thumb for proper hydration is to consume roughly three liters per day.

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