Exercise & Electrolytes
April 17, 2014
During exercise you lose two important electrolytes, sodium and chloride, through your sweat. Women athletes as well as beginner endurance exercisers are most at risk. Also at risk is anyone who has been taking mineral depleting chemicals such as antibiotics or insulin.
According to John Winterdyke and Karen Jensen authors of the Complete Athlete “By regulating the fluid balance inside and outside the cells, electrolytes are necessary for muscle contraction, relaxation and general muscle metabolism. An imbalance in the minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) which become electrolytes in the body can lead to early muscle fatigue and a corresponding drop in performance. For athletes, the muscles may feel ‘great’ but they just won’t respond to the demand you place on them.” To keep our muscles fueled many of us reach for electrolyte replacement drinks – but beware many are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients which can do more to deplete your energy than add to it.
Here are some guidelines when purchasing Electrolyte replacement drinks
- An eight-ounce serving should contain between twenty and twenty-eight grams of carbohydrates for maximum benefit
- Drinks should contain key electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, sodium, chloride, magnesium and phosphates
- Avoid drinks that contain sucrose
- Fructose and maltodextrin are easily absorbed by the digestive system
- Avoid all artificial colours, flavours etc
- Consume drinks slightly chilled if possible, this allows for better absorption
Below are 2 that meet the above criteria and have been proven effective by our coaches
- Ultima Replenisher
- Vega Sport Performance Optimizer, my favorite right now, available at all health food stores
One of the best ways to avoid depletion is to eat foods high in electrolytes such as (in fact together these ingredients create an amazing smoothie)
- Coconut water – highest source of electrolytes found in nature
- Kale – provides heavy minerals necessary to nourish the muscles and alkaline elements neutralize lactic acid build-up
- Celery – replaces sodium lost during perspiration
- Cucumber – provides excellent fluid and fibre
- Bananas – great source of potassium
I try and add all of these to my daily smoothie to keep me energized not just for training but for all my daily activities. My favorite green smoothie is posted on the website, and I pulled out one of my favorite natural nutrition guides, the Sunfood Diet by David Wolfe for a few more recipes guaranteed to keep you replenished and full of energy!
Performance: David recommends blending together 1 cup coconut water, 1 cup ice, 1 heaping tbsp spirulina, you can drink this during your run. To that I add 1 banana and 1 orange as my pre-run smoothie.
Spirulina is the highest protein food on the planet, it comes as a powder and a little goes a long way. This is a superior replenishing drink for any athlete
Rejuvenator – made with a juicer
- 1 Bunch of kale
- 4-6 ribs of celery
- 1 cucumber
- 1 burdock root
- 1 lemon
- 1-2 apples
This is a lot like my green smoothie, with the addition of burdock. Juicing helps the nutrients get right into your cells. Burdock root is a blood purifier and an excellent base to help the body create hormones. Burdock contains one of the highest amounts of iron in any food. Kale provides a dense source of alkaline minerals including calcium. Cucumber and celery soften the taste and provide more minerals. The lemon should be shaved down to the white pith. Apples add sweetness. This is one of the most health-promoting juice combinations, great to consume every day.