Electrolytes (fancy word for Sodium & Potassium) and Why You Need Them
Electrolytes are analogous 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, cardiac, and muscular systems depends on adequate electrolyte levels.
One aspect of the personal trainers job at Energy Fitness personal training studio in Memphis is educating clients on pre & post workout nutrition as well as proper hydration. Electrolytes are chemicals that form ions in body fluids. They help make sure specific bodily functions run at optimal levels. Too few electrolytes will cause the body to cramp.
To see this science first hand and how the numbers can change as opposed to the illusive “they say I’m suppose to drink electrolytes” has been fascinating. Several years ago Energy Fitness purchased a Bioelectrical Analysis Machine as part of Tonya’s Metagenics First Line Therapy Certification suggestion. The BIA machine really gives in depth reports. There are numerous biomarkers in one of the reports with three of them being level of hydration, percentage of extracellular water and intracellular water. Ideally you want 60% intracellular to 40% extracellular water. When the report would say as it often would for me that my extracellular water was well above what it should be that meant a combination of things that I might need to change. Extracellular water is important because it helps control the movement of electrolytes, allows oxygen delivery to the cells, and clears waste from metabolic processes.
Side note…Benefit to lifting weights or body resistance exercises. A major influence on our body is the amount of fatty tissue and lean body mass that we carry. Lean body mass carries much more body water than body fat. An adult man will be about 60% water compared to an adult woman that will be about 55% water. If you are physically active, that number will increase depending on your lean body mass.
With so many people trying these low carb or keto diets, fasting, sweating, breathing and overall just being active it’s important to know and track your body’s hydration level. This can mean the difference from being able to think clearly to performing well while working out or doing daily chores. An obvious monitor of hydration is the color of your urine. If your urine is faint yellow to clear then you are NOT getting enough electrolytes or water. If you are peeing often then you are also not hydrated properly. If you are or have had bouts of loose or runny stools then you are not hydrated properly. If you are sweating or breathing hard you are losing body water.
So do YOU need to focus on electrolytes balance?
The biggest take away for you today in this post is for you to know that sodium and potassium aka electrolyes are carriers of nutrients into and out of your cells.
If you aren’t hydrated properly what needs to
GET INTO the cells CAN’T
and what needs to (toxins) GET OUT of the cells CAN’T.
The truth is that the human body needs only a minute amount of sodium to function normally. We require a mere 500 mg of sodium each day, athletes maybe 2,000 mg. This is easily supplied by natural, unprocessed foods. However, the average American consumes approximately 6,000-8,000 mg per day, well above the upper end of the recommended dose of 2,300 – 2,400 mg/day.
“Going to a party and want to avoid drinking but don’t want to answer a lot of questions or pressures to drink wine or other alcoholic beverages? Why not pack your own electrolytes. They come in different flavors and hence different colors. You can get the fizzy tablets or the powder you just stir or shake in water.”
For those of you that don’t know how active I am I don’t have time or space nor does anyone wish to read a diatribe of my activities, just know that I feel I am performing better getting in 32oz. of doctor recommended electrolytes daily. I knew for many years that I didn’t get enough but I didn’t want to drink the sugar laden ones available on the market. With so many advances in supplements there are so many more natural and sugar free alternatives out there now.
You have to just pick the right one for you and just consider it part of your monthly food/health budget. Here’s a few below I recommend:
Dr. Prices I tried but didn’t work for me as I felt like it made me constipated. My family does fine with this mix so I gave rest to them. It comes in many flavors and avail online (amazon).
Nuun…This is my favorite and they are convenient as they come in tubes and can be found at several local grocery stores and available online (i get mine from amazon in Tropical flavor, I hate grape flavor as it tastes like wine…you might like that though). I consume one tab per day and one vega serving as seen below.
Metagenics has one that’s great also. Here’s a link to purchase. I haven’t tried the Hammer endurolytes fizz tablets but when I was training and competing in long races I loved their other products.
Remember that just drinking water may not cut it. If you are eating a hefty amount of carbs your body is storing 3-4 grams of water per every 1 gram of carbohydrates which is why if you go on a low carb diet you start losing weight quickly (it’s water weight….aka electrolytes possibly) and here come the headaches for many.
There are many factors involved in keeping your body running optimally.
Be your own health expert and take care of what you have like it’s a prized racehorse.
Call, text or email us to get started today!
901-466-6242 or email@example.com
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Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM
Owner/Dir. of Training, Energy Fitness (established 2002)
ACSM, TPI Level 1 Certified, Rock Tape, Rock Pods (cupping therapy), Rock Tape Blades & Blades Advanced
FMT Basic, Metagenics FLT
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