Hydration and Electrolyte Essentials
Replace electrolytes, not sugar!
Every time you sweat, you’re losing electrolytes. In most normal everyday situations, your diet is enough to replace these electrolytes (as long as it’s healthy and diverse diet), but when your sweat levels rise through exercise or hot and humid weather, that’s a completely different story and hydration/electrolyte replacement is increasingly important.
It’s a staggering fact that the average off the shelf pre-mixed sports drink has an average of 13 teaspoons of sugar, and some of the larger size options have up to 19 teaspoons! For most people, this means you need to exercise for 30-60 just to burn off the calories in the sports drinks. So if you’re carb conscious, want to avoid sugar or just prefer to get your energy or calories from other sources, you may want to look at another option than those day-glo sugar laden sports drinks. Endura Rehydration Low Carb Fuel is great option if you’re looking to replace the essential electrolytes you want, without the sugar you don’t.
Average sweat loss is around .8 - 1.4L per hour during exercise, although some tests have recorded up to 3.7L per hour in hot and humid conditions (YIKES!). Which can rapidly lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance if those electrolytes aren’t replaced. This is important on so many levels as electrolytes are essential for an absolute ton of functions in the body, including:
- Muscle function
- Nerve function (they conduct the electrical signals)
- Fluid balance and uptake
- Energy production
- Blood pressure and blood acidity
- Cellular nutrient and waste exchange
- Rebuilding damaged tissue
“How do I know how much I’ve lost in sweat?” we hear you ask, well the answer is actually quite simple. Weigh yourself pre- and post-session, then add the volume of water you consumed during the session to the difference in weight lost - as water weighs exactly 1kg per litre, that gives you how much you fluid you actually lost e.g. if you lost 2kg (equalling 2 litres of water) during the session and drank 2L of water, your total fluid loss from sweat is actually 4L! Now think back to that fact around 2% loss of fluid impacting performance and you can see why it’s so important to to keep up your hydration both pre, during and post exercise.
A sweat loss of only 2% of total body mass can impair physical performance, as dehydration begins to set in. This can occur after just one hour of intensive exercise, so it’s critical that you prepare and rehydrate your body sufficiently to avoid the power-draining effects of dehydration. Here’s 5 ways dehydration can effect your performance:
- Decreased blood flow to muscles – Reduced blood flow to your muscles means less nutrients such as oxygen and glucose (for energy) being delivered, and ultimately reduced physical performance.
- Poor mental clarity – Reduced blood flow and oxygen delivery to the body inhibits the brain’s supply of oxygen and its ability to clear waste products, which may lead to reduced cognitive function and your brain’s ability to coordinate your muscles for movement.
- Increased body temperature – When the body’s dehydrated, its ability to regulate temperature is impaired and your heart rate increases. Increased body temperature can rob you of performance and put you at risk of heat injury.
- Increase perceived exhaustion/fatigue – You weaken and tire far more quickly.
- Decreased gastric emptying – When your stomach struggles to empty its contents, it can make you feel sick, and create other unpleasant digestive symptoms.
Keeping tabs on your hydration level
A recent study of professional athletes revealed that over 50% were dehydrated before they started playing! Keeping an eye on your pee colour is an easy everyday indicator to help monitor your hydration levels, however it’s not 100% fool-proof as some factors can influence the results (e.g. if you drink a lot of water in a short space of time it can flush through rapidly and look like you’re hydrated) and some food can alter the colour of your urine (beware beetroot!), so go with the average over the day as an indicator.
If you don’t replace electrolytes, it makes rehydration far more difficult as electrolytes (particularly sodium) are required for the uptake of that fluid into cells, so if you’re low in sodium, the fluid can simply pass straight through your system without being drawn into the cells where it’s needed.
Endura Rehydration Low Carb Fuel is 99% sugar free and is sweetened with the natural sweetener Stevia, resulting in less than 1.3g of carbs per dose (as low as .6g for Coconut flavour – that’s less than a 5th of a square of milk chocolate or less than one small sip of your average sports drink! So you can enjoy Endura Low Carb and know you’re replacing essential electrolytes, without having to worry about it adding inches to your waistline. And with four delicious flavour options (Lemon Lime/Grapeberry/Tropical Punch and Coconut), you can have a different flavour almost every day.
What’s NOT included is JUST as important
Just like a great recipe, what you don’t put in is just as important as what you do put in, and if you care about what’s going into your body, you’re likely going to want to avoid the chemistry set of ingredients that go into some hydration/electrolyte options, even the ones that sound pretty healthy. For example a lot of the “zero” sugar sports drinks out there use artificial sweeteners and flavours. HEALTH HINT: Look at the ingredient summary on the label, if the ingredient names are longer than the alphabet and there’s as many numbers as letters, it’s probably not natural. Endura electrolyte formulas contain no artificial colours or sweeteners, and either natural or nature-identical flavours.