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Often, the focus of sports nutrition is placed on food versus hydration. While food before, during and after exercising is important, your level of hydration is even more important. This is largely due to the consequences that can come from being dehydrated.
Sodium is an electrolyte responsible for regulating the body’s fluids, helping maintain a healthy blood pH balance and create the electrical impulses that is essential to all aspects of physical activity. The kidneys work to keep the electrolyte concentrations in the blood constant despite changes in the body.
While a regular diet typically supplies the necessary sodium required for workouts for a couple hours, it's recommended to have some form of sodium supplementation for exercising over two or three hours. However, salt tablets are not recommended as they can result in over-hydrating.
Carbohydrates play an important role in hydration, too. They help facilitate sodium and water absorption.
Every athlete is different, but a good starting point is to aim for 400-800 milliliters of water per hour. In addition to hydrating during your workout, remember hydrating pre and post-workout is important, too.
As noted above, carbohydrates can help with the absorption of water and sodium. As such, performance optimized drinks like Honey Stinger’s Rapid Hydration mixes of products that contains carbohydrates can help increase an individual’s athletic performance.
Content provided by Rick Prince, Director, United Endurance Sports Coaches Association.
Rick is the founder of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA), a science-based endurance sports education company that certifies running, ultrarunning and triathlon coaches. Rick holds a BS in Kinesiology and has been working in the fitness and endurance sport coaching industries for over 20 years. In his free time, Rick enjoys cycling and running.