Hey readers – as a cold blooded Canadian who’s been living/training/racing in the steamy South East Asian climate since 2007, I am very much cognitive about the daily struggles and challenges of staying or should I say TRYING to stay ahead of dehydration or even worst, hyponatremia!
Getting very dehydrated can take most mortals a full day if not more to fully replenish their electrolytes levels back up to par for: proper cell function, ‘communication’ between your mind/body and perform natural bodily functions!
The human body may gradually get used to taking in less liquids and electrolytes with the help of discipline, acclimatization and time because there is a strong correlation between a high tolerance for dehydration and high performance in the heat.
Finding out what works for YOU is a matter of trial and error; a common mistake is to over drink pure water and ‘flush’ your electrolyte stores. Another one, is to over drink or ‘chug’ liquids spontaneously and then not drink for a while, making you extra thirsty and giving an uneven distribution.
In the ideal world, sipping regularly, pre/post and in training on an electrolyte drink that’s wholesome, easily absorbed and versatile will be your surest bet to get in what you need to avoid or limit G.I. distress as well to feasibly take in nutrition, during or after exercise.
Many of the typical, accessible and/or mainstream electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade contain food coloring’s for commercial appeal and visual distinction such as: Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6 or Blue 1. As a rule of thumb, when looking on a label, any color followed by number is a food dye which has multiple side-effect where its advisable to avoid them or find a healthier alternative.
Now guess which flavor he’s been drinking? You can bet his ‘within’ are also that color…!
Not only do these modern electrolyte drinks have health consequences, they can be high in calories, have acidic PH levels and taste foul when warm which is an important consideration for those who race in the heat! Often, they will contain little to no Calcium and Maganese which are less important minerals but still part of the electrolyte puzzle where a lack of over extended duration’s may instigate electrolyte imbalance followed by physical consequences!
Having a low osmolality electrolyte drink allow’s your intestines to absorb it quicker and easier! Considering that your body spends a fair amount of energy in breaking down, absorbing and then metabolizing what you take it – best to keep it all simple and strait to the point so you can use that energy elsewhere!
An electrolyte drink thats low in calories will not cut your appetite when drinking it between meals nor hinder the absorption process as you pair it up with nutrition in racing/training as it will increase the overall viscosity of everything as it will end up in your stomach together!
I personally deter athletes from drinking those supper thick ‘syrups’ in races because they have such a high failure rate. Sure, they are convenient to carry on your bike or while running and theoretically add up in calories, but unless your out for a medium duration or are motoring at the high intensity of a pro athlete, you best to chew your food (the sooner in a race the better) and pair it up with a light but all encompassing electrolyte drink.
So, whats a healthy and wholesome alternative? Coconut water is one of them, but its not very practical to carry around and for many westerners, difficult to buy or maybe quite expensive when ‘bottled’ as well to possibly be saturated with preservatives or extenders…
One commercial alternative is Nuun Electrolyte Tablets which are practical, encompass all electrolytes and have a subtle taste at any temperature – unfortunately they contain a chemical called Sorbitol which has been known to give problems such as bloating and diarrhea when taken in large quantities or over extended duration’s…
Then there’s I.N. Refresh which I have been recently experimenting and a great help here in The Philippines since the dry season has been extended as well to make me extra thirsty training towards my 2 biggest races of the year: 5i50 Subic Bay and Ironman 70.3 Cebu.
Ignite Naturals uses ALL NATURAL plant based ingredients which makes it: very healthy, easily absorbs and tastes fine when warm!
My first thought when I drank the Tangerine Passion Fruit flavored I.N. Refresh was how mildly sweet it was! When you get dehydrated, its quite common for sweet food to taste overly sweet, so this makes is gentle on my teeth’s enamel versus other modern sports drinks that can be too acidic and damage our teeth!!!
Salt Tablets/Pills are also very popular with endurance athletes and work for some, but best to avoid them if you have not practiced with them extensively because such a spontaneous, unnatural and high concentration of electrolyte may instigate severe stomach pain or vomiting!
One of the painful dangers of regular dehydration and replenishing with poor electrolyte sources is: kidney stones. I have noticed how prevalent these are getting recently in endurance athletes that have been competing for many years! I remember back in 2003 when 2 time defending Ironman World Champion Tim Deboom passed some DURING the race on side of the road in Kona Hawaii!
Last but not least, most of our daily/regular diets contain to much sodium to start with; it can worsen hypertension, osteoporosis and water retention . In these modern times, REAL FOOD is almost a commodity as it may often be harder to find, more expensive and may not be as tasty or visually appealing compared to their synthetic counterparts….But you can be sure they will always be absorbed easier, give you more energy with no side-effects and better long term health!
PS: If interested in trying out these products at a discounted price, kindly use my online coupon code: TBB0502 ——>Ignite Naturals Online Store.