Summer is here and it is time to move your workouts outside. One of the most important aspects of outdoor exercise (especially in the heat) is proper hydration…this comes down to water and electrolyte consumption.
Water is pretty widely understood but what about electrolytes? We need electrolytes in order to replenish fluids lost during vigorous exercise but it is important to keep in mind that we physically cannot replace all of the electrolytes and water lost through sweat immediately. We can typically replace one-third of fluids/electrolytes following vigorous exercise but it is more important to look at gradual replenishment. If you try to replace electrolytes and water loss rapidly it can lead to severe bloating, excess of sodium dilution or even water intoxication. This is true with food consumption following exercise as well; our bodies can only accept, absorb and assimilate so many nutrients/fluids at one time. Instead of just looking at replenishment and recovery during and post-exercise it is important to focus on this aspect gradually and consistently throughout the entire day (especially if it is competition day!).
What are electrolytes? They are minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium etc.) with an electrical charge and serve many purposes in the body including maintaining fluid balance, enzymatic functions, muscular contraction and many others. Without proper balance of fluids and electrolytes we can become dehydrated which in turn leads to muscle cramping and fatigue during physical activity. Cramping is the body’s way of telling us that we are lacking adequate amounts of electrolytes in our system and it is not a healthy state that we must take steps to avoid. With that in mind let’s take a closer look at some crucial electrolytes…
Sodium is important for many chemical processes in the body but in particular we require it for maintenance of fluid balance, nerve function and muscle contraction. If there is excessive loss in sodium (via sweat) it can cause decreased performance due to fatigue.
Potassium works in conjunction with sodium and is particularly important for maintaining fluid balance. Potassium deficiencies can lead to nausea/ vomiting, muscle weakness and muscle cramping. It is particularly important to replace potassium gradually to maintain optimal sodium/potassium balance. Luckily potassium is abundant in a wide range of foods including coconuts, bananas, dark leafy green, avocados etc.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and serves many important functions including bone and muscle health, nutrient metabolism, normal blood clotting, nerve transmission and synthesis/breakdown of muscle glycogen (fuel stores). In regards to athletic performance it is particularly important for proper muscle contraction.
Magnesium works in conjunction with calcium (similar to sodium and potassium), while calcium aids in muscle contraction, magnesium helps to relax muscles and assist in the recovery process. Deficiencies in magnesium can lead to severe muscle cramping and sleep disturbances.
Now that we understand what tasks the individual electrolytes perform lets break down the options out there for sports drinks… and my personal favourite suggestion.
Traditional sports drinks typically contain high levels of sugar and can be compared to having a soft drink (up to 34 grams of sugar!!!). Several sports drink companies now provide low calorie/ low sugar options; the issue with these products is they often contain long complicated ingredient lists loaded with artificial products. One of the biggest areas of concern, the artificial colouring and flavourings, which I recommend you aggressively avoid. Although generally deemed as safe, our bodies do not recognize these substances as usable nutrients and this can cause several health issues, especially when consumed in high quantities.
Next is coconut water, which is all the rage being used as a source of “natural electrolytes” and has become a popular choice among the athletic community. I love pure coconut water for several reasons, it is tasty, refreshing and will definitely keep you hydrated. One of the big benefits from an athletic perspective is that it is high in potassium and magnesium with slightly lower amounts of sodium and calcium. Despite the many positives associated with coconut
So what is my top recommendation for athletic performance?
This is the gold standard for all sports drinks in my opinion. Biosteel is not only a great source of electrolytes but it aids in the whole recovery process. Remember, recovery starts before exercise, not just during and after. Here are some of the top benefits of Biosteel’s HPSD:
- As mentioned above HPSD includes sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium in order to help with fluid and electrolyte balance, muscle contraction and relaxation, proper nerve function and prevention of muscle cramping and fatigue.
- HPSD helps to assist in building lean muscle mass and contains Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s), which assist in protein synthesis as well as growth and development.
- HPSD contains B-vitamins, which assist in the metabolism of carbohydrates/ fats and protein, building and repair of muscles, and energy production.
- HPSD contains zinc, which is vital for athletes as it plays a pivotal role in growth, building and repair of muscle tissue, energy production and immune boosting properties.
- HPSD also uses no artificial coloring; the natural pink color comes from beet root. Beets are great for athletes; their nitric oxide content assists in oxygen delivery to working muscles.
- Lastly, HPSD is sweetened with stevia, which is a healthier choice for sweeteners. Stevia is derived from a natural source (whole stevia leaf) and is something our body recognizes.
Most importantly, it is delicious, like seriously delicious. It is not too sweet and very refreshing. (*** Note- due to containing all natural ingredients, Biosteel’s HPSD, will change
As an active
Check Biosteel Sports Supplements here and start #drinkingthepink today!
– Sylvie (OG Lifestyles)