If you missed the last issue of Living Fit Dallas, you missed this important coach tip! Get your free subscription by visiting www.livingfitdallas.com and watch for FitTrac articles in the May-October issues!
Coach Teri’s Tip – how much salt?
Electrolyte and fluid replenishment is a key nutrition component for long course athletes. Adults lose anywhere from 200 to 1100 mg of sodium per pound of sweat. To determine your sweat rate, weigh yourself unclothed before and after exercise without going to the bathroom. Subtract any fluids consumed from this result, divide by the hours exercised and you have your sweat rate. Athletes who note their skin is crusted with salt after exercise will be on the higher end of this range. When engaging in long workouts of 3 or more hours, it is important to replenish electrolytes along with water lost through sweat.
To maintain optimum body chemistry athletes are advised to consume electrolyte drinks, sports nutrition supplements, or electrolyte tablets in combination with fluid replacement. Be sure to consider the total electrolyte contribution of the foods you consume during exercise. Because optimum consumption varies from person to person, determine yours by watching your body for clues.
In 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine tested athletes at the Boston Marathon and determined that 13% of those tested were hyponatremic. That means their blood sodium levels were clinically too low. However, consuming excess salt isn’t the answer. Studies have shown that over consumption of salt can also be a problem especially because the excess salt is often consumed with excess fluid (thus diluting the blood stream). The number one indicator in hyponatremic athletes was weight gain during the event – not whether they drank water or sports supplements.
We will have an in-depth discussion of salt at our summer Ironman Camp – don’t miss it!
When in doubt, consult your doctor, coach, or nutritionist.
For a more in-depth discussion visit Hammer Nutrition on the web.