If you spend any time at all on the internet, you’ve seen those ‘one weird trick’ ads flashing away at the side of…whatever it is that you spend your time on. They’re usually for fat loss, skin care or making money, with the promise that lawyers, dermatologists and liposuction clinics will hate you afterwards. Do they work? I don’t know, I’ve never clicked one.
Here’s something that will work:
Drink a gallon of water a day.
This is one of those health tips that everyone dismisses as ‘obvious.’ Yeah, we’re all dehydrated. Yes, we should drink more water. Now shut up, I’m browsing for a new training programme.
What finally got me to take this seriously was that UFC fighter Joe Lauzon, a guy who (I hope he wouldn’t mind me saying) has made the most of his genetics with extremely smart training, got his entire gym to start drinking a gallon of water a day for the month of July. Cue stories of improved skin, better mental focus, fat loss, energy, etc etc etc. Also: it’s free. So I decided to give it a go. I’ll talk about results in a minute. First, the obvious question:
How do you drink a gallon of water a day?
Yes, this is the most frequent question I’ve been asked, and yes, it’s legitimate. After all, I – and most people – have been vaguely thinking about drinking more water for years. And so while the annoying answer would be to say ‘With your mouth, dumbass’, I will instead take the high road and give you the exact system that’s worked for me. You can follow it if you want, but you certainly don’t have to. Here goes:
1. Get at least one, and preferably two, containers that hold roughly a pint of water – one for home and one for work. This does not mean getting two pint glasses – it just means measuring whatever glasses/jugs/protein shakers at your disposal already fit a pint. Some people recommend getting a gallon jug and carrying it around – I don’t. Apart from being inconvenient and heavy – and making you into ‘that guy who carries around the water jug’ – it makes drinking the whole thing seem depressing and unmanageable.
2. Resolve to drink eight of those containers a day. You can drink anything else you like, including more water – but it doesn’t count. If you’re anything like me, you probably go ‘Well, I drink a lot of green tea, that’s hydrating, and I sometimes drink from the water fountain or have a sparkling water when I eat out, so…’ None of that counts. It’s too easy to overestimate your consumption, and too difficult to calculate. Just think about those eight containers.
3. Space it out. For most people, this is the revelation. A gallon of water is an insane amount, but eight pints of water is easy. Here’s how I do it:
Wake up: Drink two pints of water while the kettle boils.
Go to work: Drink tea, coffee as required to get brain working. At 11am, drink another two pints of water.
Have lunch: Drink another two pints of water with whatever your lunch is.
Go home: Have a pint of water as soon as you get home, then another pint with dinner.
And that’s it. I’m done with my water by, at the very latest, about 9:30pm. It’s not difficult to manage, and even if you’re insanely busy, you’ve got time to do it – if you aren’t getting out of your chair at 11am and lunch, you should be.
As for results: I hit a rep PB in the squat three days after starting the GOWAD plan, and felt more energetic almost instantly. I stopped drinking so much tea and coffee. Also my abs started to make an appearance, but I don’t think that was any magical properties in the water so much as the fact that I wasn’t snacking because of thirst. And in case you’re wondering, there was actually a slight decrease in night-time bathroom trips – again, probably because I wasn’t drinking any diuretics – and a slight increase in Austin Powers-style mornings at the porcelain. Yes, it’s a plan with no drawbacks.
HOMEWORK: Drink a gallon of water every day this week. Post your results in the comments.