Water Poisoning: The Overlooked Risk in the Quest for Optimal Hydration

In our journey to better health and fitness, we often hear the mantra: “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!” Indeed, as we discussed in our previous article, “The Science of Hydration: Unveiling the Secrets Behind Your Water Intake,” water plays a crucial role in weight loss and overall health. However, it’s equally important to understand that there can be too much of a good thing. This was a lesson learned the hard way by Michelle Fairburn, a TikToker who was hospitalized while attempting the viral fitness challenge “75 Hard,” which includes drinking a gallon of water every day.

The “75 Hard” Challenge and Its Risks

The “75 Hard” challenge is a fitness regimen that requires 75 days of a strict diet, working out twice a day, and drinking a gallon of water daily. While the challenge has gained popularity on TikTok, it has also been criticized for its extreme nature, with the potential to lead to burnout rather than improved health.

Michelle Fairburn, a mom and realtor from Toronto, was attempting the challenge when she started feeling unwell due to excessive water consumption. She experienced symptoms such as nausea, weakness, and frequent bathroom visits, which she initially thought were signs of water poisoning. However, her doctor diagnosed her with severe sodium deficiency, a condition that can be fatal in extreme cases.

Understanding Water Poisoning

Water poisoning, also known as water intoxication or hyponatremia, is a serious condition that can occur when you drink excessive amounts of water. This dilutes the sodium in your blood to dangerously low levels, leading to life-threatening complications. Symptoms can include nausea, headache, confusion, seizures, and in severe cases, coma or death.

Striking a Balance

While it’s important to stay hydrated, especially during intense workouts, it’s equally crucial to listen to your body and not overdo it. Drinking too much water can be just as harmful as not drinking enough. The key is to strike a balance and ensure you’re replenishing not just water, but also the essential electrolytes that your body loses through sweat.


Fitness challenges can be a fun and motivating way to improve your health and fitness. However, it’s important to approach them with caution and always listen to your body. If a challenge requires you to drink excessive amounts of water, it might be best to modify it to suit your body’s needs or seek an alternative. Remember, your health is not a competition, and it’s okay to take things at your own pace.

Stay hydrated, but do it wisely. Your body will thank you.


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