Can electrolytes be replenished during an athletic competition?
We as sports fans and sport spectators often see athletes on our TV screens guzzling down copious amounts of energy sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade or maybe some other electrolyte filled drink. But how much thought do we actually put into it?.
Most of us know that electrolytes is something that is found naturally in the human body, which mainly consists of salts and other compounds such as calcium and potassium among others. The electrolytes main function is maintain healthy muscle and nerves function which is essential to any athlete. It also plays a role in maintaining proper blood pressure. Electrolytes are used and expelled from the body during extreme physical excursion such as training and competition that requires a lot of energy.
So lets get down to the crucks of this issue. When one looses electrolytes in the body it can not easily be replenished as most of us think. It’s not a matter of “I have lost X amount of electrolytes and I can easily replenish the electrolytes with a nice cold energy drink that is filled with these wonderful things”. The electrolytes that one looses during exercise, competition or even “weight cutting” (weight loss regime that boxers and mma athletes go through), will generally only be replaced in a matter of 24 hours after consuming an electrolyte filled drink, and up to 72 hours if the body were to naturally produce these compounds. The reason why it takes a bit of time for electrolytes to be replenished is because the body has it’s own natural “time frame” to absorb any form food substance. If one has high levels of magnesium this would help absorb the electrolytes faster, therefore speeding up the process of replenishment.
Boxers, mma athletes and amateur wrestlers are prime examples of people that suffer from a lack of electrolytes during the day of competition. Most of these athletes are known to perform to only 70% of their ability due to the lack of electrolytes in their system due to harsh weigh loss (weight cutting) they undergo during their last week of training.
I often make my own electrolyte drink at home, and it normally serves me well after a long workout.
It’s very simple.
3/4 cup of water
1/4 cup orange,lime or lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon of salt (the most important component)
mix well, add ice and that’s it