Tag Archives: electrolytes

Stay Properly Hydrated

Your nutrition needs are going to be based on your training goals and training program.  If you are trying to lose weight, you will need to take in fewer calories than you burn.  If you are trying to get stronger and perform faster, you will need carbohydrate intake to match or exceed what you blast through during the day.  Regardless of your training goals, hydration is the most important element of any nutrition plan.

Constant dehydration affects 80% of all Americans, and the effects of dehydration can wreak havoc on your body without adding any additional stress from exercise.  Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, nausea and dizziness.  Losing even a small amount of body water, one to 2 percent of body weight, through sweating can begin to lead to dehydration.  If you are exercising for more than 60 minutes or at a high intensity, you want to make sure you are hydrating while you are working out from roughly the 30 minute mark on.  If you are going at it for less than an hour at a medium intensity, you can probably get by without additional hydration.  Watch out for sugary and carb filled sports drinks, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

An integral part of proper hydration is electrolytes.  Electrolytes are nutrients that aid in absorption of carbohydrates and water, as well as working to maintain fluid balances.  Every athlete has to make sure they get electrolytes and maintain proper hydration for the duration of each and every workout.  The most important electrolyte athletes need is sodium.  Getting enough sodium ensures you won’t become overhydrated and dilute the concentration of electrolytes in your system, which can lead to increased urination as your body tried to release excess fluid.

Once you’ve ensured you are, and will stay, properly hydrated, you need to fuel your workout.  If you’re heading out for less than 60 minutes, you won’t need any additional carbs, regardless of your training goals.  If you are working to lose weight, you’ll want to decrease your carbs in order to burn more fat during your gym session.  This doesn’t mean fat slip away because you may not perform as well without fuel or will make up for the carb deficiency by overeating later.  If you’re going to exercise longer than 60 minutes, your needs will differ based on your training goals.  Weight loss athletes want to add roughly 30 grams of carbs per hour over 90 minutes, while performance athletes want to 60 or more grams per hour over 90 minutes.  These additional carbs should come from bananas or sweet potatoes for weight loss athletes and sports drinks, gels or bars for performance based training.

Questions?  Want help determining your training needs?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

Sports Drinks 101

As the warm, or just plain hot, summer months approach, many fitness enthusiasts worry about hydration. Especially as the weather becomes friendlier, people want to exercise outdoors. Opting for something with flavor, like a sports drink, rather than just plain water, will not only make you more likely to drink it, but can have other post-workout benefits as well.

For most people, the food we eat today has enough salt in it to keep us from facing a deficiency. If you are training for a marathon or exercising very hard for several hours a day, you burn through more salt through sweat than the average person and will need to make a point to replenish the fluids in your body. When we work out for extended periods of time, the important nutrients we lose are called electrolytes. Types of electrolytes include potassium and sodium, which are essential for proper hydration, maintaining fluid balance and preventing muscle cramps. That’s why, as an athlete, it’s so important to replace them after we sweat them out.

Plain old water isn’t loaded with electrolytes, so the best place to get them quickly is by drinking a sports drink. While all good sports drinks contain at least 15mg of sodium, there are also sports drinks that offer various amounts of both carbohydrates and protein in addition to sodium and potassium. These drink choices are absorbed and maintain fluid balance faster than plain water, getting your body the fluids it needs right away. Carbohydrate-protein sports drinks have been tested and are shown to possibly hydrate better than regular, no protein, sports drinks by aiding with fluid retention. The calories from carbohydrates in sports drinks have also been shown to improve endurance, increase energy, promote faster recovery and limit any immune system suppression that can happen after a tough workout.

When a workout leaves you wiped out, stick with your sports drink. Energy drinks might quench your thirst and give you a big boost of energy after a tough session, but they’ll also dehydrate you while leading you to an energy crash no one enjoys. Make sure you’re maintaining hydration all day; don’t worry about it only after you’ve worked out. Don’t worry about getting your eight glasses of water a day, instead, drink to match your thirst and use your urine as a gauge for maintaining proper hydration.

Summer Hydration Tips

As the warm, or just plain hot, summer months approach, many fitness enthusiasts worry about hydration.  Especially as the weather becomes friendlier, people want to exercise outdoors.  Opting for something with flavor, like a sports drink, rather than just plain water, will not only make you more likely to drink it, but can have other post-workout benefits as well.

For most people, the food we eat today has enough salt in it to keep us from facing a deficiency.  If you are training for a marathon or exercising very hard for several hours a day, you burn through more salt through sweat than the average person and will need to make a point to replenish the fluids in your body.  When we work out for extended periods of time, the important nutrients we lose are called electrolytes.  Types of electrolytes include potassium and sodium, which are essential for proper hydration, maintaining fluid balance and preventing muscle cramps.  That’s why, as an athlete, it’s so important to replace them after we sweat them out.

Plain old water isn’t loaded with electrolytes, so the best place to get them quickly is by drinking a sports drink.  While all good sports drinks contain at least 15mg of sodium, there are also sports drinks that offer various amounts of both carbohydrates and protein in addition to sodium and potassium.  These drink choices are absorbed and maintain fluid balance faster than plain water, getting your body the fluids it needs right away.  Carbohydrate-protein sports drinks have been tested and are shown to possibly hydrate better than regular, no protein, sports drinks by aiding with fluid retention.  The calories from carbohydrates in sports drinks have also been shown to improve endurance, increase energy, promote faster recovery and limit any immune system suppression that can happen after a tough workout.

When a workout leaves you wiped out, stick with your sports drink.  Energy drinks might quench your thirst and give you a big boost of energy after a tough session, but they’ll also dehydrate you while leading you to an energy crash no one enjoys.   Make sure you’re maintaining hydration all day; don’t worry about it only after you’ve worked out.  Don’t worry about getting your eight glasses of water a day, instead, drink to match your thirst and use your urine as a gauge for maintaining proper hydration.

Have questions about sports drinks or when to use them?  Email us at Info@FitNicePT.com