This or That: Electrolyte Drinks
Why is hydration so important?
Dehydration is when our bodies lack fluid and electrolytes. Being dehydrated can cause muscle cramping, dizziness, light-headedness, headaches and a lack of energy. Dehydration can also affect our ability to read hunger cues, causing us to mistake thirst for hunger and overeat. These are all things that can hinder your fitness goals and overall well-being. The most important step in staying hydrated is drinking enough water (look out for a future blog post on that!) In some situations, replenishing electrolytes is necessary as well, because electrolytes help your body absorb water faster.
Do YOU need to replenish electrolytes?
That depends on what type of training you’re doing and how much fluid you’re losing.If you’re training for a marathon or any other endurance sport- yes, absolutely reach for the electrolytes. Water alone just won’t cut it.
If you’re training for an hour or less, most of the year, water is likely enough to re-hydrate adequately. BUT during the hot summer months, and especially on days when your work out is followed by an afternoon at the beach- an electrolyte drink is definitely a good idea.
Which Electrolyte drink is best?
As a result of some very successful marketing, the first product that comes to mind when we think of electrolytes is Gatorade. And while it will help you stay hydrated- it’s also FULL of sugar and some other unsavory ingredients like artificial coloring and high-fructose corn syrup (or worse- artificial sweeteners in the calorie-free flavors) that you probably want to avoid. Aside from being unhealthy, once again unless you’re running a marathon, you’re likely not burning enough calories during your workout to justify the calories in a Gatorade.
So what are some better options?
Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator
Has zero calories, all the electrolytes you need plus vitamin C and Antioxidants. (It’s also on sale for 20% off right now) MORE INFO
Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier
This has 50 Calories per serving, so more than the Vega Product. But it’s low-calorie enough that you won’t negate your workout by drinking it. It’s also a great choice for anyone who doesn’t like the taste of stevia. (Lemon-Lime flavor is my personal favorite.) It also has an impressive number of B-vitamins in addition to electrolytes. MORE INFO
Everybody is different.
The Hydration Test:
A good indicator of your hydration level is the color of your pee. If you’re well hydrated, it should be a light-yellow color. If your pee is dark yellow, or amber colored- you’re dehydrated and need more water and probably some electrolytes too.
Kara Lang Romero is a holistic nutritionist, former professional soccer player, Olympian, sports broadcaster, mom, yogini, and plant-based foodie.
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