This is Part 2 of a multi part series. Part 1 is here.
It’s pretty obvious your body needs water, before, during and after. Just don’t over do it and get hyponatremia!
I won’t get into the whole plastic bottle debate either, and the need for metal (or glass) bottles. I’ll save that rant on another post.
Drinking tap is fine for most cities. If you are travelling to countries like Cuba or India, you may want to get bottled water of ANY kind.
Now glorified water, “smartwater”, and vitaminzed water are another story in which, unless it’s given to me FREE at a conference or competition, I feel they are overpriced. Pay me to wear their T-shirt and that’s another story.
Sodium and Potassium (and to some extent other minerals like Magnesium) are the principle electrolytes you need to replenish on hot humid days with profused sweating, and for long workouts in duration (i.e. over 1 hour)
People try to find a magic drink during and after the workout, but like cramming for an exam, it may be too late. So the smart thing to do is to hydrate yourself before. And not just one hour before, but all day long.
One of lesser known disgusting tasting cures for dehydration is Pedialyte with the right amounts of electrolytes as well as optimal absorption. It is important to choose an isotonic solution, neither hypotonic nor hypertonic, to stay hydrated.
What you want is a drink low in sugar, and near equal generous amounts of sodium and potassium (about a 4:3 ratio of Na:K). Gatorade, soft drinks or even fruit juice contains too much sugar and not enough sodium and even lower amounts of potassium.
In fact, Pedialyte has become a hydration alternative to sports drinks for professional sports teams in the USA. Unfortunately Pedialyte is several times more expensive than the electrolyte sports drinks.
You can make your own sports drink. For potassium, use “Morton Salt Substitute” or “NuSalt” which are salt substitutes that contain potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride as in table salt.
You really don’t need much, only 1/4 teaspoon per Quart or Liter!
But in terms of minerals, you really have to watch out as too much of one will affect the absorption of the other.
For example, the dangers of too much calcium will decrease your zinc absorption (along with other trace elements such as copper) as much as 50%.
For sodium, the absorption is increased by amino acids.
However, for sodium and potassium, absorption decreases with increasing amounts of calcium and magnesium.
So electrolyte balance is a fine line.
This is Part 2 of a 4 part series.
- Part 1: Intro
- Part 2: water & electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium)
- Part 3: sugars, starches and (heaven forbid) HFCS!
- Part 4: protein, BCAA, glutamine, caffeine tyrosine, taurine, and other nootropics, creatine, others