7-Day Water Intake Challenge PDF
Of all the actions you can take to improve your health and well-being, drinking ample water is among the simplest and most impactful.
In fact, drinking water is so important, that it’s one of the 3 core pillars of the BuiltLean Transformation Program.
That’s why I created this challenge for you. Here’s how it works.
1. What Is The Challenge?
Drink at least 60 ounces of water (~2L) a day for 7-days. This equates to 5 12-ounce glasses of water, or 2 32-ounce water bottles.
The Institute of Medicine’s recommended water intake is 3.0 liters, or 101 ounces for men and 2.7 liters, or 91 ounces for women. This excludes hydration contributions from food, which is typically around 20% of hydration.
So why is this challenge only 60 ounces of water? Because this barrier is still high for most men in my estimation, especially when excluding coffee drinking. Coffee technically counts as hydration1, but not for the purposes of this challenge.
To learn more about water intake, check out this article by Dr. Charlie Seltzer on BuiltLean: How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?
2. Why Should I Do It?
1. Reduce Hunger
The research is conclusive that adequate hydration decreases the amount of food you eat.2 3 In his BuiltLean article, Dr. Charlie Seltzer summed this up well, “The reason behind this effect is simple – water has no calories and takes up space in the stomach, allowing people to feel fuller after consuming fewer calories. Additionally, the brain will often mistake thirst for hunger. In this case, a person will eat unnecessary calories when in fact the feeling of “hunger” could have been alleviated by drinking water.” There is also very compelling evidence that “preloading” water intake can significantly reduce calorie intake.4 5
2. Improve Mental Clarity
There are many pills and potions that promise you more energy. Adequate water intake trumps them all as nature provides you everything you need to function at optimal levels. One meta-review concluded, “Water, or its lack (dehydration), can influence cognition. Mild levels of dehydration can produce disruptions in mood and cognitive functioning…such as concentration, alertness and short-term memory.”6 It has been theorized that mild dehydration acts as a physiological stressor which diminishes cognitive processes.
3. Improve Energy Levels
Research studies show dehydration decreases athletic performance, which suggests your energy levels will drop as well. In fact, only 1% body mass change could impede muscle endurance, power and strength.7 Of course, your sleep patterns have a big impact on energy levels along with mindset and body posture, but from my experience, ample water intake will help maximize your energy levels.
3. How Do I Make The Challenge Easier To Complete?
Buy a water bottle, consider 20-ounce so it fits in your cup holder, 32-ounce, or even 64 ounce. I’ve been using the 32-ounce Midnight Black Simple Modern Insulated Water Bottle (affiliate link) for years. I’ve beaten it up quite a bit and it still looks great. The only downside is the bottle is not dishwasher safe, so you must hand wash it instead. We have no affiliation with the company and the link to Amazon is an affiliate link.
For this challenge, all you need to do is drink a 32-ounce water bottle twice throughout the day. I typically drink a full bottle early in the morning as part of my morning routine. Then I have water with lunch and dinner. Occasionally, I’ll have some water between meals, but I’ve found it’s not really necessary as I’ve figured out my hydration needs in advance. You can find what schedule works best for you, or just go with the flow. I typically have about 100 ounces of water a day.
4. When Do I Start?
Consider starting this Monday for a full 7-days.
5. How Do I Track My Results?
We created a PDF that you can print out and keep in a visible place like your refrigerator or nightstand. You just mark off an “X” for each day with no snacks. You can certainly use any app tracker or other method that works well for you.
You can share your results, how you’re doing, and lessons learned in the comment section below. We plan to keep the comments open for the foreseeable future. You can also leave comments under the Water Drinking Youtube Video, Facebook post, or Twitter post with hashtags #builtlean and #waterintakechallenge. Whatever works best for you.
- Killer SC, Blannin AK, Jeukendrup AE. No evidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake: a counterbalanced cross-over study in a free-living population. PLoS One. 2014;9(1). ↩
- Daniels MC, Popkin BM. Impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(9):505-521. ↩
- Popkin BM, D’Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration and health. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(8):439-458. ↩
- Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Comber DL, et al. Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010;18(2):300-307. ↩
- Davy BM, Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Wilson KL, Davy KP. Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese older adults. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108(7):1236-1239. ↩
- Popkin BM, D’Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration and health. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(8):439-458. ↩
- Goulet EDB, Mélançon MO, Lafrenière D, Paquin J, Maltais M, and Morais JA. Impact of mild hypohydration on muscle endurance, power, and strength in healthy, active older men. J Strength Cond Res 32(12): 3414–3424, 2018. ↩
Hey Marc, I drink homemade iced tea throughout the day (until dinnertime), unsweetened and delicious with zero sweeteners of any kind. It’s probably close to 60 ounces per day and obviously 99.9999% water. Can I take credit for this in your challenge?
Sure, go for it! Your iced tea concoction sounds like one of the few hydration options comparable to water.
As people age their water intake decreases. Relative dehydration becomes commonplace. In a busy person lifestyle water is often sacrificed for coffee and other beverages. Interestingly, alcohol actually is a diuretic and further contributes to dehydration. Drinking at least 60 ounces of water a day should be a mantra for all. Thanks Marc for pointing this out.
Thanks for the comment, Henry!
I use a 1 Liter Nalgene bottle. I drink 1 bottle before lunch. 1 bottle in the afternoon and a variable amount in the evening. After a while, it seems that my body craves for water.
Interesting and sounds sensible, thanks for sharing. I imagine it decreases your hunger levels.
I have read that water will reduce digestion, and also that it will aid digestion ?. (The joys of googling info). Do you have any information on this?
Personally, I’ve had a gastric bypass over 10 years ago and I was told then, not to drink with meals, 1/2 hour before and 1 hour after. I think it was because it would aid in emptying the stomach faster, thus not feeling full as long.
You can find just about anything proving anything on google as you know! The idea that drinking water before, during, or after a meal reducing digestion is false. In fact, drinking water more likely aids digestion. Here are a couple articles with a lot more information. The latter has several references:
Drinking Liquids with Meals: Good or Bad? (Healthline)
There’s a persistent myth that you shouldn’t drink water while eating. You can disregard it. (Washington Post)
…and I hope the surgery has been successful.
Very much same as will make up a concoction of green tea, chamomile tea, Kawakawa leaves, glucosamine and 2 tablespn cider vinegar in a 3 litre bottle
Outside of America people also subscribe and enjoy the articles, however all the non metric measures does my head in, ounces, gallons, yards, miles etc, I am forever pulling out of my head conversion rules, 2.5cm = 1 inch etc. I know USA is your world but please consider the outside world.
Totally my bad, Andrew. A large chunk of our customers are outside of the U.S. and website visitors. Shoot for 2L.
May I have your opinion about drinking tap water that is considered safe? I never gave it a second thought but a relative suggested it was necessary to filter water using a device such as “Berkey”. Thus, purchased a Berkey last year but don’t notice any difference. Thank you.
Whether tap water is safe to drink is endlessly debated. This article is probably the best I’ve come across with useful references => Can I drink the US tap water?. Here’s the punchline, “It’s unclear what the impact of microplastics, low doses of nitrates, lead and THMs are in the long term. Therefore it’s a cheap insurance to use an affordable water filter in the US.” Filtered water may also taste better than tap water. For those outside the U.S., the same reasoning can still apply.
Just a quick note to tell you how much you are appreciated! I look forward to everything you send. The information is sensible, practical and easily implemented. The additional links you send in the follow up comments are great too. Keep up the good work, Marc!
Thanks, John. I really appreciate the encouragement and glad to hear you find it helpful!
At last, someone advocating more than 8 glasses a day which is the advice we are given here in the UK. Two years ago, in my mid-forties, I suddenly went constipated for no reason that investigations discovered. I was advised on a new fiber supplement which helped but what clinched the cure for me was finding out that for gut reasons I should drink a liter of water for every 50 pounds of body weight. I did the math and now drink 4 liters at least. Tea is additional to that (I just don’t have the room to drink my previous 8-12 mugs a day now – and I’m English!). Coffee counts as one less to the water total. Constipation gone! I now urge my patients to drink far more. Their main concern is they will have to go to the restroom more often. So what? At their age, they need to constantly flush out their bladders (urinary tract infections are another largely avoidable issue for older people), it also greatly eases the burden on the kidneys. Most readers here will not be in that age range but we need to develop good habits while we can easily adjust and make them a routine, to help us into older age. And to think, when a senior nurse heard how much I drank she said I would kill myself by drinking so much! (Note – I drink that much for my body weight – others do not need to – however, I agree with Marc – most people need to drink way more than they do).
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Andrew. And glad to hear you feeling well now!
Do you only drink water? When was the last time you had a soda?