Photo Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

You’re probably not drinking enough water, and it’s understandable: Life is busy, especially now. But if anyone understands the importance of staying hydrated, it’s athletes like Tom Brady, who have to stay at peak performance. Dry lips, dry skin, dry eyes, headaches, nosebleeds, and waking up in the middle of the night with a dry throat are all symptoms of dehydration. Sound familiar? Don’t worry. In an excerpt from his book The TB12 Method (now available in paperback from CBS sister company Simon & Schuster), the legendary football player shares his tips for developing a water routine that’ll get you back on track. 

Developing A Water Routine: Step-by-Step Basics 

Where hydration is concerned, balance and pacing are important. As usual, don’t do everything at once. Work toward proper hydration step by step, line by line, precept by precept. Drinking at least one-half of your body weight in ounces of water every day is a great place to start. Drinking those ounces of water enhanced with electrolytes is even better. It has taken me many years to get into a great routine—but I know I will have great hydration for the rest of my life.  

Drink One Or Two Glasses Of Water When You First Wake Up 

Drink a glass or two of water with electrolytes when you wake up. After a night spent recovering through sleep, the water can help flush out toxins that may have accumulated overnight and fire up your metabolism for the day ahead.  

Spread Out Your Hydration During The Day 

Try not to drink all your water at the same time. Space out your water drinking over the course of the day. In general, it’s not good to drink more than four eight-ounce glasses during a one-hour period. If you weigh 160 pounds, via our rule of thumb you should be drinking at least 80 ounces of water per day. Assuming you’re up by 8:00 a.m. and in bed by 10:30 p.m., that’s a glass of water every couple of hours. I carry a water bottle with me wherever I go, and I make sure I’m always properly hydrated.  

Limit Drinking Water During Meals 

Try not to drink too much water during a meal, as it can interfere with digestion, and always sip instead of chug. Rule of thumb: Drink more water before and after meals than during meals.  

Can You Overhydrate? 

Alex and I both believe there’s an optimal point of hydration, and theoretically you can overhydrate in the same way you can overdo anything. You can also reach a point where your body has taken in so much water in so short a period that it can’t metabolize it. But in realitythis happens to people so rarely that it shouldn’t be a top concern. The larger issue is that most people are underhydrated relative to the optimal pliability levels we recommend at TB12. 

Why Hydration Matters 

Our bodies are made up of anywhere from 60 to 80 percent water, and our muscles alone are about 75 percent water. Water aids in brain function; ensures healthy metabolism, digestion, and kidney function; helps circulate oxygen in the bloodstream; lubricates joints; and ensures proper muscle function. Proper hydration helps restore the body’s natural percentage of water while creating optimal pliability.  

TB12 Action Steps 

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink at least one-half of your body weight in ounces every day, and more if you can.  
  • Add electrolytes to your water as often as possible.  
  • Reduce or eliminate your intake of caffeine, soda, and alcohol. All three can be dehydrating. If you drink coffee, soda, or alcohol, rebalance your hydration by drinking two glasses of water for every one of those beverages you consume.  
  • Remember that if we don’t drink enough water, our lymphatic system can’t flush out the built-up toxins in our bodies. That’s one reason why keeping well hydrated is key to our overall health.  
  • Hydration and pliability are interdependent. How quickly or slowly you develop pliable muscles depends to a large extent on how well hydrated you are.  

Discover more nutrition and fitness tips in ‘The TB12 Method’ by Tom Brady. 

Excerpted from The TB12 Method by Tom Brady. Copyright © 2017 by TB12, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Simon And Schuster is a ViacomCBS property.

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