Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot Weather Sports Nutrition Tips

Reposted from sportsbistro.com

Now that summer is upon us (at least in the northern hemisphere), it's time to start adapting sports nutrition intake accordingly.  This article will help you determine if you need to make a change in your nutrition and will provide some guidance on how to implement it.

Warning Signs You May Need More Hydration and/or Electrolytes
  • Muscle Cramps (especially calves) during workouts
  • Night time cramping
  • Elevated heart rate relative to your current effort level
  • Sloshy stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability, confusion, vomiting, dizziness or low blood pressure (go to the medical tent!!)

Some Quick Tips
  • Drink a minimum of 1 L of sports drink per hour of activity.  Up to 2 L per hour may be warranted for very hot/humid weather and/or extended (3+ hr) training/racing.
  • Practice increasing your fluid intake slowly.  Don't start at 2 L per hour right away if you're only used to sipping small drinks at a time.
  • For workouts greater than 2-3 hours, don't drink just plain water as you may risk a serious condition known as a hyponatremia (water poisoning).  Use sports drinks like Gu Electrolyte Brew or Hammer Nutrition's HEED or drop in a nuun tablet or Endurolytes powder to supercharge any other "regular" sports drink.
  • If that still doesn't do the trick, or you suffer issues with muscle cramping or sloshy stomach consider using an electrolyte supplement like SaltStick (vegetarian friendly), Succeed S! Caps, or Hammer Endurolytes.
  • Choose SaltStick or S! Caps if your cramps or sloshy stomach is especially bad.  Hammer Endurolytes are less concentrated and appropriate for more mild cases.
  • If you suffer from night time muscle cramps or calf cramps, take one electrolyte tablet prior to bed time with plenty of water and see if that resolves it.
Don't Forget The Basics
Water and electrolytes do not contain any energy (calories) and is not a replacement for your usual intake of energy gels or chews to continue going strong on longer workouts.
A good sports drink containing electrolytes and calories and should satisfy most needs for moderate workouts in mild weather.  Follow the aforementioned tips for hot weather.
An average 140 lb athlete should target about 250+ calories per hour for intense endurance workouts or races.

Some Myths
There are also a couple of myths out there about how much you should or shouldn't drink.  I've heard some people say to not take in electrolytes/sports drinks and just use water because most people already take in too much sodium during their diets.  Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.  The body doesn't "store up" extra sodium for use during workouts1.   If you just take water to replace it then you end up diluting your blood to the point where you might trigger hyponatremia (hypo = low & natr = sodium).  In cases like this I like to fall back on the Sports Bistro Methodology where we draw a distinction between your daily diet (the foundation) and the performance fuels you take as part of your workouts.  Excess on one cannot compensate for a deficiency on the other.  The right answer is to take in a low sodium diet as part of your regular meals and then take in extra sodium/potassion/magnesium (electrolytes) before/during/after warm weather workouts/races.

1 comment:

  1. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comMay 27, 2014 at 1:44 PM


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    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
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