Why Bodybuilders Drink Distilled Water

Pour water from bottle into  glass, on light blue background
Save your distilled water for competition. (Image: serezniy/iStock/Getty Images)

If you want to get the most out of every workout, you need to drink water to stay adequately hydrated. As a water that's free of minerals, including sodium, distilled water helps prevent fluid retention. However, you may not want to drink it all the time.

What Is Distilled Water?

Distillation is one way water is treated to help remove impurities and make it safe to drink. In fact, distillation works so well that 98 percent of all impurities are removed, according to the University of Nebraska. Distilled water is a high-purity water that is void of contaminants as well as nutrients. Minerals commonly found in tap water that may not be found in distilled water include magnesium, calcium and sodium.

Sodium, Fluid Retention and Bodybuilders

If you're trying to sculpt your body for a fitness competition or trying to get more muscle definition, you may restrict your intake of sodium to help limit fluid retention. You may consider switching from your usual drinking water, which has 12 milligrams of sodium per cup, to distilled to help further limit your intake. Restricting your sodium intake is one of the safest ways to help lose weight before a fitness competition, according to the authors of "The Athlete's Guide to Making Weight." While 12 milligrams of sodium is still very low, the large amounts of water consumed during competition training -- in some cases, a half-gallon to a gallon or more per day -- means the sodium intake from water can add up.

Distilled Water Health Concerns

The World Health Organization suggests that mineral-free water may not be the healthiest water to drink. Drinking distilled water may increase urine output and cause an electrolyte imbalance. WHO also reports that evidence shows an association between demineralized water and an increase in heart disease because of the lack of calcium and magnesium.

Mix It Up

There's nothing wrong with drinking distilled water, but for overall health you might want to consider drinking regular tap water, too. Consider limiting your intake of distilled water to those times when you're trying to reduce fluid retention and improve muscle tone and appearance, and drink regular water the rest of the time. That way you get the mineral benefits found in regular water and the results you're looking for when you drink the distilled.

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