Don't neglect this crucial component of fueling!
BY ENDURANCE NEWS STAFF
Proper fueling during exercise requires more than replenishing calories and fluids; it also demands consistent and adequate electrolyte support. Electrolytes are comparable to the motor oil in your car - they don't make the engine run, but they're absolutely necessary to keep everything running smoothly. Proper functioning of the digestive, nervous, cardiovascular, and muscular systems all depend on adequate electrolyte levels.
Muscle cramping most often involves improper hydration and/or improper electrolyte replenishment. But remember, cramping is a place far down the road of electrolyte depletion, and is your body's painful way of saying, Hey! I'm on empty! Resupply me now or I'm going to stop! Taking electrolytes only when you're cramping is like driving the car until the engine seizes, then topping up the oil - you've been low for a long time before disaster strikes.
Just as you shouldn't wait until you bonk before you refuel, or you're dehydrated before you replenish fluids, your fueling regimen should always include consistent replenishment of these essential minerals.
Electrolyte shortage symptoms
Long before your day is ruined by full-fledged cramps, your body will give you a few subtle signs that trouble is near. Oftentimes, it's just a twinge here and there, a bit of muscle fibrillation (twitching), or the sense that your running gait, swimming stroke, or pedal cadence is irregular and unsmooth. Speaking of irregular, if your heart doesn't feel as though it's beating rhythmically, that could also be a sign that your body needs electrolytic mineral support. If you're suffering from a headache or experience dizziness during your workout or after, that too can be indicative that you're running low. Signs of electrolyte imbalance or insufficiency can also be manifested in things you may not have thought of before: any number of emotional responses such as irritability, lethargy, depression, anger, and more.
Salt alone is not the solution
Unfortunately, many athletes focus only on salt (sodium chloride) intake, not understanding that the body's requirements are a bit more complex. You need full-spectrum electrolyte replenishment that includes salt, as well as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Optimal performance requires a consistent, adequate, and balanced supply of these important nutrients.
When athletes rely solely on salt, or if they consume too much salt at the expense of other electrolytic minerals, they neutralize and even shut off the physiological mechanisms that enable the body to recirculate - and thus conserve - its sodium reserves. Once the body detects that it is receiving too much sodium from an outside source (salty foods, salt tablets, electrolyte products containing excess sodium), the hormone aldosterone signals the kidneys to stop filtering and recirculating sodium. This forces the body to deplete it at greater rates. Meanwhile, another hormone, vasopressin, begins to predominate, causing undesired and unpleasant fluid retention.
Endurolytes: Superior, full-spectrum support
Proper electrolyte replenishment during endurance exercise requires a gradual, consistent replenishment that incorporates ALL of the electrolytes, not just sodium. It also requires receiving them in amounts that support, but do not override, normal body mechanisms.
Fortunately, Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes, Endurolytes Fizz, Endurolytes Extreme, and Endurolytes Extreme Powder do just that, and they're ready to work for you! Our formulations are balanced, full-spectrum electrolyte products designed to fulfill the body's electrolytic mineral requirements, thus optimizing specific bodily functions, enhancing endurance performance, and helping you to avoid the unpleasant issues associated with electrolyte imbalance or insufficiency. No matter what the weather throws at you, one of Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes products has you covered!