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Life Lessons

Is Drinking 40 Sips Of Water With Your Hand, Like A Cat, Every Morning “More Efficient” Than Using A Glass? An Investigation

My cat, on the rim of a sink, next to a running faucet
Detective John Munch looking at me, refusing to drink out of the sink and wondering where the pint glass is
Dan McQuade/Defector

I didn’t know much about Peloton CEO John Foley before reading this New York Times story about how he spends his Sundays, but it turns out we have a few things in common. We’ve both spent a lot of time in malls on Sundays (me as a teenage mallrat in the 1990s, Foley attempting to hawk Peloton bikes in New Jersey). We both like to run in the morning (Foley on one of his company’s fancy treadmills in his bathroom, me in the park near my house). We both drink morning caffeine (he coffee, me some unholy energy drink). He tours real estate to look for future purchases in Manhattan; I like browsing Zillow for fun. In the Times column he oddly mentions that his good friend is dating his ex. I too am passive-aggressive in my writing sometimes.

We also both like to drink water in the morning. Much like the above examples, though, there is one major difference. I keep a pint glass in my bathroom. When I want a drink of water, I use the sink spigot to put water into the glass, which I then drink from. Perhaps you are wondering why I explained that so thoroughly. Well, here is how John Foley does it:

SINK DRINK Twenty years ago a colleague told me the key to your day is to hydrate at much as you can, so the first thing I do is drink 40 sips of water from my hand at the upstairs bathroom sink. It’s efficient. I drink until I feel like I’m going to throw up water. Every day.

The Times article opens with an anecdote that Foley doesn’t like to wear branded Peloton gear for fear of looking, in his words, “like a tool.” I fear Foley has been pranked by his colleague and writer Paige Darrah, who have now made him explain in a fancy New York newspaper that he drinks water with his paw, like a cat, until he hurls. My cat doesn’t even drink water from the faucet, preferring instead to meow at me until I give her a pint glass.

One sentence he used particularly interested me: “It’s efficient.” Is it? I decided to do some rough tests. These are not laboratory conditions, but I am confident my findings will hold up even under strict scrutiny.

First, I attempted to see just how much water one drinks by pawing a scoop of water with just one hand. I tested a few times, and every time I ended up with a little over eight ounces per 40 scoops. (I used a Pyrex. Sorry, I don’t have a graduated cylinder on hand.) Then it was time to attempt Foley’s method.

Oh God. I drank until I felt like I was going to throw up water. Not all of it made it down. I had to spit up a bit. I briefly thought I needed a lifeguard. It was 30 seconds of horror.

Then, I went for my method. I turned on the faucet, put about eight ounces of water in a glass, and drank. It took me 11 seconds. I also did not think I was about to die a horrible bathroom drowning death.

I am open to replication attempts, but for now it’s clear that drinking water from your hand 40 times in the morning until you feel like you’re going to drown is not more efficient than using a glass. Perhaps Foley could take the treadmill out of his bathroom in order to fit a glass in it.