I regularly see tons of athletes and people who claim to be healthy but who are drinking loads of sugary and artificial drinks as part of their workout regime. They will bust out a hard work out, whether HIIT or cardio, and then use that as a reason to drink this chemically produced drink that provides zero value toward become a better athlete.
I do not blame anyone for drinking these drinks because the marketing is amazing, and the commercials make you believe they rehydrate the body with electrolytes. In fact, I was a victim of this hype even though I knew how bad it was for my body.
When I paused my CrossFit training and began training for Ironman, I did not want to have to drink anything but water. I didn’t want the sports drinks because of the negative effects they impose on the body and the number of ingredients on the list.
Well, I learned the hard way!
During my first 50-mile bike ride, I took 3 bottles of water and some Gu Gels to keep my balance regulated. Unfortunately, by mile 40, I began cramping and had to go extremely slow just to finish the 50-miler. This cramping was due the low amounts of electrolytes and sodium in my body.
My second 50-mile ride, I decided to drink Gatorade, even though it was something I was extremely against, but I figured this was my only way to load up on electrolytes while doing heavy endurance training. On that bike ride, I didn’t cramp, and it was something I used all throughout training for my first Ironman in November 2014.
I am now training for my second Ironman in September 2015, and now I want to get off Gatorade. The short-term effects are OK, since it stopped the cramping, but I never felt amazing, as I probably psyched myself out due to the fact that I know how many chemicals are in the product. The biggest issue is the long-term effects this product had as I stayed on it and used it as my sports drink of choice.
After reading numerous blogs and talking to other professional athletes, many of them suggested putting Himalayan sea salt in my water. Duh, why did I not think about this from the beginning?!
All I can say is, wow, what a game changer!
I started putting 2–3 tablespoons of Himalayan sea salt into my bottled waters, and not only am I not cramping AT ALL, but I am recovering faster and performing better. I have suggested to all my athletes that they begin doing this, and those that have, have been feeling better and performing stronger.
If you do this, then you must use Himalayan sea salt or BASE Salt instead of Morton or another table salt. Table salt will reduce your performance, but Himalayan sea salt, which is full of trace minerals, including magnesium (one of my favorite minerals), will enhance your performance.
There is no argument as to why you would choose another sports drink over this, as this has many more electrolytes and minerals that work with your body and not against it. The only pushback I get from people is they miss the taste of those other drinks, so in that case, put lemon or lime into your drink.
If that doesn’t work, then soak different fruits in your water, such as strawberries, pears, oranges, or watermelon.