Hydration for Bodybuilders: How important is it?

When it comes to bodybuilding, many who train hard throughout the week may think that diet and exercise are the only two factors to take into consideration, in pursuit of their optimum muscular physique. However they’d be wrong, hydration is the key component to fuel both your performance in the gym and your end results. Let’s look at hydration for bodybuilders in more detail.

What Dehydration Can Do To a Bodybuilder

Here is a breakdown of what can happen to a bodybuilder that becomes dehydrated during his/her workout and why hydration for bodybuilders is so important.

1. Increase in cortisol

A dehydrated bodybuilder is vulnerable to an increase of the stress hormone cortisol in the body [1]. Cortisol is known to decrease amino acid uptake by the muscles and to decrease protein synthesis [2]. This in turn can have a negative effect on your muscle gains.

2. Cause a decrease in testosterone

When you exercise it usually results in an increase in testosterone, however dehydration can reduce these heightened levels of testosterone production. Testosterone is one of the building blocks in helping you to build muscle, so reduced levels of testosterone will limit your gains.

3. Premature fatigue

A study by Bob Murray in 2007 [3] showed that glycogen stores (energy levels) in participants depleted at a far quicker rate when dehydrated and can cause an impairment of your central nervous system. Dehydration can seriously hamper your exercise performance through reduction in blood volume and nutrient delivery to your muscles. All of these factors can result in a decrease in motivation and the amount of effort you put into your workout, which means you will feel tired after fewer reps.

4. Increased dehydration whilst exercising

Whilst exercising, the average bodybuilder will sweat 1-2 litres of sweat per hour. Most people do not drink 1-2 litres of water whilst at the gym in order to replace this lost fluid. This can lead to increased symptoms of dehydration and feelings of weakness as your workout draws to a close.

How To Combat Dehydration During Your Workout

  • Proper hydration starts the day and night before a workout as well as the morning or afternoon before you commence training. A daily water intake of 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women will meet the needs of the vast majority of people [4]. You can read more about the best time to drink water here. Making sure that your body is adequately hydrated throughout the day, will mean that you are less likely to encounter dehydration issues during your workout.


  • Take a sip of water just before you commence your bodybuilding routine and keep your water bottle close to hand, so that you have access to water at all times. With its large 2.2 litre capacity, the BPA Free Gym keg makes the perfect companion for a bodybuilder during an intense workout. And is available in a range of stylish colours.

Fundamental Points to Keep You Hydrated Throughout Your Workout

  • Remember to stay hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day
  • Drink a couple of glasses of water 1-2 hours before you start your workout
  • Sip water regularly to stay hydrated and keep fatigue at bay
  • Remember to drink lots of water after your workout in order to replenish the fluid lost through sweating

So there we have it, hydration for bodybuilders is essential if you want to perform at your optimal level each and every workout.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18617629

[2] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780125106047

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17921463

[4] https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/63/suppl_1/S30/1927756/Human-Water-Needs