Water and Protein

Two of the main components that make up the human body are protein and water. You may have a fundamental understanding of what these nutrients do and why the body needs them, but I think that you would pay more attention to their intake if you had a better understanding. Most readers know that they need at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight, but for someone who is training hard and actively trying to build lean body mass, they need much more. Water is similar, because you should have more than just an adequate amount to prevent dehydration. Maximize your training by solidifying your protein and water intake.

Protein is derived from a Greek word, “proteios”, meaning “of the most important”. On average, a human body is about 18% protein and is an essential part of pretty much all body tissues and components including muscles, hormones, antibodies, enzymes, cell membranes, and skin. In other words, protein isn’t just used for repairing and building muscle, but creating and maintaining all structures in the body. An average, non-training person would do well to consume close to their body weight (in lbs) in grams of protein; it would significantly improve their metabolism, energy levels, immune system, and subsequently overall health. However, I typically recommend that guys who train get at least 50g more than their body weight with the hardest training guys upping that to at least 100g over their body weight. The first goal for women is to get their intake closer to their body weight, and they can titrate it up to 30 to 50g over their body weight after observing their recovery and body composition changes (women are more sensitive to total calories than men, hence my typical recommendation isn’t “get x more than body weight”).

Relevant: Arnold in water

It’s best to get the majority of macro nutrients through food, yet protein supplementation is an excellent way to garner the desired daily amount. Whey protein supplements usually only differ regarding extraneous ingredients and superfluous marketing tactics. Whey protein can consist of concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate (I like this article for the difference). Standard whey protein concentrate will satisfy most everyone’s goals who read this site; it’s cheapest and pretty much has an equal effect to the others. Concentrate is digested faster and has more BCAAs than food protein. These BCAAS can have a positive influence on metabolism and the immune system, but it’s also due to the fact that overall protein intake has improved. Remember: it isn’t the speed in which the protein is digested and utilized, but the chronic effect of consuming “enough” protein over time that is important.

If you have a sensitivity to lactose, then check out whey isolate as the trace elements of lactose are removed in its processing. Lactose sensitivity may be a factor that can be improved if you’re white, yet other races (Asian, black, hispanic, etc.) have more trouble with it. If you’re one of the people that have complained to me about a rumbling tummy from whey, get the isolate and test it. If you still get an upset tummy, take small doses and work them up over time. If you still have problems, then cry me a river.

Lastly, research and purchase quality raised animal meat. The better that they are raised (grass fed, no hormones, etc.), the more nutrients they will contain. Remember that meat should be the largest aspect of your protein intake and whey supplementation should get tacked onto it. I deem it acceptable for guys to get 100g of whey a day, but I’d prefer it to be 50 to 75g (implying that more meat is eaten in the latter scenario).

The body primarily consists of water with “percent of body weight” figures ranging from 70% down to 50% in old crones. Most people think about water in terms of staving off dehydration since “dehydration is bad”. It’s much more important than that. I’ve summed this topic up to Brent by saying, “Water is necessary for almost all reactions and enzymes in the body. If you don’t have plenty of it, then your body won’t be functioning optimally.” He told me weeks later that it was that comment that immediately made him consume more water.

Think about everything that occurs in your day. You wake up and try to have energy for work or school. You eat, train, do mobility, and sleep well because you want to get mega jehcked. Well, every one of those things will be hampered by a lack of hydration. Your food won’t be digested as well, your energy levels will subside, your training won’t be efficient, your joints, muscles, and fascia will be stiff and sticky, and you’ll generally reduce the quality of everything you do during the day (including trying to lose body fat and grow muscle). It’s all a result of the normal chemical reactions in your body not working as well since they’re scrounging for ingredients. If you’re going to spend all this time giving a shit about your training, then set yourself up to optimally succeed.

Just don’t carry a gallon of water around like a dickhead. And certainly don’t take it into the gym. If you do, then the sleeves of your shirt will fall off and your nipples will show. I’ve always hated the guy in a public gym who carries his water jug around, trying to show off how serious he is as if anyone gives a shit. Then they open their lips and relax the jaw as they gulp liquid in front of other guys grunting. Do not do this.

Instead, half your body weight and drink at least that many ounces in a given day. If you weigh 200 pounds, then you’ll aim for at least 100 oz. This is about five bottles of water and the minimum. I like to keep liter sized bottles of water in the fridge so that they are cold and easily accessible. If you’re in public, at work or traveling, then carry a water bottle with you or hit up most of the water fountains you see. When I’m on a plane, I ask for water, chug it, and get a quick refill. When I’m driving long distance, I’ll have a liter sized bottle with me.

“But Justin, isn’t it easier to carry a gallon, and then you’ll know how much you’ve drank?”

Carrying a gallon makes you look like a shit head. You cannot store it easily in your bag, you look like you a glutton when tipping it to your face when it’s mostly full, and you look like a big gay fish when wrapping your lips around it. Not to mention water is regularly available every where you go in America and you can easily refill everywhere and anywhere. Stop being a diva about it and just drink more throughout the day.

44 thoughts on “Water and Protein

  1. Love the agreement on the water jug in the gym + cutoff shirts.

    Curious, how much does milk factor into a portion of the water needed for the day? or should that 50% bodyweight in ounces be from pure water with or without milk and other juices/fruits etc.

    Don’t include that stuff. It will contribute (as will all foods that have water in them, which is most things, but especially fruit/veggies), but that means you’re getting lazy with the intake. Just get the water in on top of what else you drink.

    Are you someone who needs a lot of milk to worry about this anyway? That should be your real question.


  2. /fills gallon water jug
    /takes it to gym
    /drinks from it in between giant sets of bench, barbell row, dips, and deadlift with 45 sec rest between clusters

    come at me

    The fact that we haven’t chatted in a week makes me more pissed about this.


  3. I was supersetting regular DB curls with hammer curls the other day working my way down the DB rack and when I finished with the set of 20’s i figured id just max rep my gallon jug cause it was full.
    for some reason the awkward handle really pumps my bi’s

  4. When I worked out at Golds, I saw many a jacked nipple showing bro chugging water from a galon jug. It really inspired me and now I am primarily hitting shrugs and neck work so that I can have the vascularity to deepthroat that gallon jug in public and make all of you my bitch

  5. Excellent post. I’m one of those guys who can’t really handle any whey, even isolate. I cried through the whole article. Actually I drink goat’s milk instead since it doesn’t give me stomach issues. They also make goat milk whey protein (called Goatein). I’ve never tried it though.

    For quality meat, nothing beats wild. The animal eats its true natural diet, has a healthy life of running, swimming or flying around, and one values and appreciates his food so much more when he’s had to work for it and been involved in the actual killing. Anyone who has the ability to go hunting should consider learning the right way to do it and giving it a try. If you eat meat but can’t handle killing an animal, well then you’re kind of a hypocrite aren’t you?

    One idea for increasing water consumption for guys who get tired of water: try iced green tea. Each night I fill two 1-liter Nalgenes with hot water, two green tea bags and a squirt of honey. Then I put them in the fridge for the next day. It’s very refreshing. I ‘ve also read so much about the health benefits of green tea and it seems like there’s actually some truth to the claims.

    I go to Gold’s and there’s a guy at my gym with a nipple showing tank top who always has a gallon container of water. Each time he takes a sip he says to himself “mm yeah love it…mmm.” And I just think STFU dude your nipples point down, you have nothing to say.

    Does he actually say that?

    Also, where do you live again? I want to hunt and have never been.

    Lastly, green tea extract is said to be more effective than green tea by itself, so if anyone wanted to take it and not have the related caffeine, then…uh, yeah.


  6. Justin, do you think if you worded it properly you could convince Brent to drink a liter of his own piss every day?

    This is one of your weirder questions.


  7. I wear a sleeveless shirt at the gym but I drink water out of a fountain like a god damned American.

    It’s funny you say this because when I was in Australia, they didn’t have water fountains.


  8. Any thoughts on this article? Which basically says that most of what we know about hydration is wrong. And to basically just drink when you’re thirsty.


    I read about half a sentence of that and it said “If you don’t over hydrate, then electrolyte loss isn’t an issue.” I’m not telling you guys to over hydrate. Also, the writer and target population of the article don’t appear to be training (maybe just outdoorsy shit?). I’m curious to know how much they fucking curl. The point is that water is necessary for all that shit I talked about, and all of that shit results in an efficient increase in LBM. If you’re unconcerned with LBM or efficient recovery, then I suppose you could be unconcerned with hydration.

    Is there any element of science to that article? I don’t have time to read a shitty article.


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  10. bwengs,

    I think if you take a page of out Bear Grylls’s book and just drink your own piss, you’ll be fine.

    This is the third or fourth “drink your own piss” comment. Weird.


  11. i just try to keep my piss clear throughout the day… takes the guess work out.

    Also, i am feeling rather nostalgic today as i remember back a few years ago when i would see all the bro’s and their silly cut of nipply shirts with their 3 week old gallon jug and shit… those were some good laughs. 70’s big is more like a time machine than it is an awesome website…

    Thanks for the time machine, Justin.

    I use piss color as a vague indicator of hydration as well. If you take B-vitamins, the neon color will throw it off, though.


  12. Yeah I hadn’t thought of the whole B vitamin neon piss thing, I figured my advice would make life easier for the water divas…

    I use one of those nalgene bottles with the skinny opening and probably drink 3 to 4 (128 oz) a day while I’m at work… makes me have to pee a lot, but that’s ok because I fucking hate sitting here all day…

  13. I also take a b-vitamin in the morning and then just drink and drink until the stream goes from pink floyd lazer light show to clean and clear.

    QUESTION: I’m thinking about running the Doug Hepburn singles program for a few months. My goal is to increase my 1RM capability in preparation for power lifting meets this spring. I’d be interested in anyone’s thoughts on the program and its efficacy. Thanks!

    Kilgore talks about a Hepburn program in the strength chapter of FIT, by the way. Link to the program if you want responses, yo.


  14. Just to be clear, I wasn’t saying that I agreed with the article. Just read it this morning right before reading Justin’s post and thought is was interesting.

    I also you use piss color as an indicator of my hydration level. And I try to equally divide my work day between actual work, surfing the internet, filling my water bottle, and peeing.

    That’s fine (opinion on the article). Can you summarize it real quick?


  15. @justin–yes he literally says that. I’m in the DC area and go hunting in Maryland, maybe Virginia some this year. I’ll take you hunting if you come out here at the right time of year (fall/winter). I think I saw Bambi’s father last weekend.

  16. “Are you someone who needs a lot of milk to worry about this anyway? That should be your real question.


    I would say that I do, as I still consider myself underweight (5’9″, ~185), and because I’m in studio for 7+ hours at least 3 nights a week starting right when I wake up milk is just convenient for me if I forget to prepare meals to bring with me and get home starving.

    Starting this weekend I’m going try making my entire week’s meals at once though, so that I don’t have to rely so much on milk. I love milk and have never had a problem digesting it, so it’s not a matter of hating every sip of it and bitching about it later, I just drink it while I’m doing homework and such. I do need more solid meals though, I just hate cooking more than I’m going to eat at once.

  17. Justin, I feel as though the …sleeveless nipple slipping shirt comment couldn’t have been more directed in my direction.

    Regardless, I will continue to wear extra sleeveless shirts – pop my nips out while squatting and chug my soda during workouts.

  18. Whoa guys the article is about drinking more water, not piss. Oh and don’t worry just have a camelback on at all times, it’s much less douchey. If you’re a professional hiker that is. Or a jogger. Or eliptical enthusiast.

  19. One area where people often get confused is that they equate “eat XX grams of protein” with “eat XX grams of beef/chicken/pork/…”. They forget that so much of meat is water and fat (protein is typically only about 1/3 of the total weight of meat).

    Thus, a 215lbs male eating 1g per BW lbs would need about 645g of meat, which is about 1.4-1.5lbs of meat per day (and that is on the low end of the advice for a hard training person). Eat like you got a pair!

  20. Working nights in a hot ass warehouse the whole summer had me drinking over a gallon of water a night easily….during that time my pee was clear and I felt great all the time. Acne cleared up, circles under eyes went away, and my training was great. Once school started and I stopped that guess what training became shittier (just felt worse in general), acne hasn’t come back but the circles under my eyes have.

  21. Breakfast: 3 eggs and 2 large sausage patties.
    Lunch: Brisket + salad + stewed carrots.
    Dinner: Shrimp cocktail + raw oysters + clams + 48oz porterhouse for two (in my case, for one). Oh, and a little broccoli and asparagus for greens. I think I hit the protein threshold for today!

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  23. This article could not have come at a better time, since I was literally about to go buy a gallon of water to have with me at all times so that I drink more water.

    On another note, I’ve recently decreased my milk intake to just drinking it when I take my protein shakes (breakfast and night), and I was wondering if you could do an article on milk proteins? Such as their effect on the body.

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