How To Know When It’s Time To Replace Electrolytes — And What To Use
When you sweat, you don’t just lose water, you lose electrolytes.
Electrolytes are the minerals that help deliver fluids to the cells that need them and are essential for muscle and brain health. According to Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, humans can lose from 0.2g of salt per litre of sweat to 12.5g. We also lose chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
How to know when it’s time to replace electrolytes?
- You’re exercising for more than one hour.
- You sweat a lot — and it’s salty.
- You’re exercising in very hot, humid weather.
- Fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea and headaches can all point to dehydration and a loss of electrolytes — but you never want it to get this far.
If you’re experiencing any of the above, make sure you rehydrate not only with water, but with a mixture of electrolytes. Remember too much water can lead to hyponatremia (aka a too-low sodium concentration in the blood).
READ MORE: What You Should Eat And Drink During A Race
Your electrolyte solutions:
1/ Powerade ION4 Advanced Mineral System Concentrated Sports Drink
It contains 90mg/100ml of ION4 minerals: sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium. It’s also very affordable as concentrate. And you can make it as diluted as you like.
Perfect for: Those who like to train with a bottle to give them a boost between box jumps.
2/ Mi Fulvic Water
Mi Fulvic Water is a revolutionary new beverage harnessing the power of natural fulvic and humic acid with pure RO water to produce possibly the ultimate natural hydration beverage. Huh? What acid? Fossilised organic deposits sourced from plant matter in the most bio-available format possible. Simply: it’s a blackish coloured liquid that tastes like water. No sugar or flavours. No preservatives. Nice.
Perfect for: Drink two to three days prior to a big endurance race or stage race – and just whenever you’re thirsty. I have a pack under my desk. Psssst: Dis-Chem currently has a special on, so go check it out: Buy 2, get 1 free!
4/ Biogen Electrolyte Plus Blackcurrant 30’s
Electrolyte Plus is an easy and effective way to replace electrolytes lost during physical activity. It’s a rehydrator and may help reduce exercise-related muscle cramping. Add one effervescent tablet (4g) to 500ml water and wait until dissolved. Take a few sips every 15 to 20 minutes during physical activity.
Perfect for: Travelling! I always take a tube of these with me whenever I travel – and that includes travelling for races. You can also pop a couple into your cycling bottles or use for recovery. And they’ve rescued me from a few post-race-party hangovers too.
3/ Oshee Isotonic Sports Drink
Oshee contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid, plus 0.14g sodium per 750ml. An ‘isotonic’ drink is easily absorbed and quickly leaves the stomach, to ensure optimal efficiency and comfortable digestion.
Perfect for: Cyclists – the bottles fit easily into cycling bottle cages – or for anyone doing an activity which lasts longer than an hour. Pssssst: Dis-Chem currently has a special on, so go check it out: Buy 2, get 1 free!
5/ REHIDRAT® Sport
The classic oral electrolyte mixture our moms used to give us after a tummy bug. Except it’s the sporty version. Take these after a hardcore training session, especially if you’re going to still be training the following day. Pack a couple of sachets into the back of your cycling pockets.
Perfect for: Everyone. You’ve got to keep some of these sachets in your medicine cabinet, but also in your race bag.