I used to reference the RDA measures for water intake and discuss 3.2L for men and 2.9L for women to my clients. I would mention that some hydration comes from your food (like the 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables you should be eating everyday) and some from the liquids you drink (straight water and other beverages). Empathetically, I might quote a company that manufactures high tech body composition testing equipment who use total body water readings and admit to using a suboptimal average in their calculations because virtually everyone is dehydrated to a degree. My disgust would become apparent as I simply cannot disgest such backwards logic. I might also mention out of empathy that the USDA reports that less than 1 in 10 people get the RDA (or minimum amount) of fruits and vegetables. I would assume that people know that our cells are mostly made of water and that the function (of every cell in our body) would be diminished if not properly hydrated. As a former wrestler, I have been made very aware that even a small percentage of dehyrdation leads to reduced strength, coordination, stamina, and cognitive response time.
All of this is overwhelming to me and my clients and it gets confusing. So, my new strategy, in regards to water intake recommendations, is to simply highlight the extremely positive impact proper hyration can have on our health and energy and challenge people to actually measure their intake for a few days and stop assuming that they drink enough just because they carry a bottle around. I mention that many fitness professionals still use the goal of 64 ounces of water per day. I use this amount as a minimum goal for myself. Some of my clients start with a goal of 20 or 40 ounces because they are used to drinking less than that. They report feeling better almost immediately. I have determined that I feel the best when I get about half my body weight in ounces which is a rule of thumb that many other fitness professionals use.
Here's the catch, water consumption is a good thing but it is not the only variable that affects hydration and therefore I don't believe it should be used as the sole measure of whether or not we are hydrated. Some people drink and drink but then have to run to the bathroom just as much. Although there are worse things I agree that this can be annoying. Have you ever consumed glass after glass only to still feel dehydrated? Variables that can have an impact on your hydration and energy level include medications, alcohol, the amount and type of caffeinated beverage you drink, the amount of plants you eat, exercise, the timing and number of meals you consume, salt intake, potassium intake, the environment, the clothes you wear, the health of your gut, the overall balance of your entire system (called homeostasis) which is largely impacted by your nutrition at the cellualr level, and oh yea how much water you drink. It's rather fascinating to me.
Water is mother nature's energy drink or health and wellness beverage of choice. Know how much you're getting and figure out how you might be able to get more because chances are you will feel the difference.