This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more info.

sports woman drinking water

Listen to Dr. Neal address this topic on Episode 220 of the podcast Optimal Health Daily.

First, I want to make sure everyone knows what we’re talking about when we say, “electrolytes.” Claiming something has electrolytes in it is actually just a fancy way of saying it contains vitamins and minerals. Sodium and potassium, for example, are electrolytes. Ditto magnesium and calcium. And vitamin C… and all the B-vitamins. I think you get the idea.

When you see those sports drinks commercials like Gatorade or Powerade, and they say they’re chock full of electrolytes, it just means they tossed some vitamins and minerals into their drinks.

Most folks don’t need to worry too much about consuming these sports drinks and getting these extra electrolytes in after their workouts. This is because most of us are not spending that many hours each day being active. But for those that are highly active, replacing some of the vitamins and minerals your body loses through sweat can be beneficial, especially if you are experiencing some muscle cramping. This is usually a giveaway.

What About Adding Sea Salt or Sodium Tablets?

When a highly active individual experiences muscle cramping when they are exercising, it’s likely due to a lack of available sodium (or salt) in their body. But I would recommend against consuming extra sodium by way of tablets or sea salt. Instead, I would actually consider buying some of the readily available sports drinks. This is because, believe it or not, these have been tested on athletes.

Think for a moment where the term “Gatorade” actually came from. This drink was created for the University of Florida football players. These athletes were training in August, in the Florida heat and humidity, wearing all of their gear, and performing intense activity for hours at a time. When two physicians were approached to figure out a way to help the University of Florida football players avoid heat stroke and perform optimally, they created this drink, after much trial and error, that included water, electrolytes, and some glucose (sugar). They found that it helped their athletes improve tremendously. Gatorade was born. Oh, and by the way, what’s the University of Florida’s team mascot? The Gators. That’s why the drink was named Gatorade – it was designed to aid the University of Florida Gators. Get it? Clever, eh?

Now, I’m not saying you have to use Gatorade, specifically. Since its introduction, many other companies have copied its formula. Not only that, other products like Pedialyte for example, would work just fine, too.

If sugar and extra calories are a concern for you, there’s no need to drink it straight–just dilute the drink by adding some extra water.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has also weighed in on the use of sports drinks. ACSM is considered the gold standard when it comes to exercise science and sports nutrition. Here’s a direct quote from them:

Consumption of sports beverages containing carbohydrates and electrolytes before, during, and after exercise can provide fuel for muscles and decrease risk of dehydration…

Now, I want to be very clear: I usually do not recommend sports drinks for the average athlete or gym goer. This is because most of us don’t need the extra calories, sugar, and electrolytes.

Oh, and one more thing: we’re also finding that colder beverages (ranging from 40-50°F) are absorbed more quickly when compared to those at room temperature. For anyone looking to rehydrate their bodies fast after a workout, be sure that the water or sports drink is chilled before drinking it.

Listen to Dr. Neal address this topic on Episode 220 of the podcast Optimal Health Daily.

mm

Neal Malik

Dr. Neal Malik leads the Master of Science in Nutrition for Wellness program and teaches core courses at Bastyr University California. He has a Doctorate in Public Health from Loma Linda University and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist from the American College of Sports Medicine.Send in your health related question and Dr. Neal will answer it on the Optimal Health Daily show!
Minimalism Tips for Family Cheat Sheet

Minimalism Tips for Family Cheat Sheet

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on minimalism tips for family members. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Join my weekly newsletter for life tips, quotes, and free tools to optimize your life (and make my day)!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Minimize Your Wardrobe: Inspiration File

Minimize Your Wardrobe: Inspiration File

Enter your email to get our free Inspiration File on minimizing your wardrobe. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist: How to Declutter Sentimental Items.

Checklist: How to Declutter Sentimental Items.

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on decluttering sentimental items. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Minimalism

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Minimalism

Enter your email to join our free 5-day ecourse on getting started with minimalism. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist-How to Declutter Paper

Checklist-How to Declutter Paper

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to declutter paper. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - How to Declutter Books

Checklist - How to Declutter Books

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to declutter books. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - How to Help Kids Learn to Declutter Toys

Checklist - How to Help Kids Learn to Declutter Toys

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to help kids learn to declutter their toys. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - Bare Minimum of Items for Moving

Checklist - Bare Minimum of Items for Moving

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on the bare minimum of items you need when moving. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - Why Personal Finance is Important

Checklist - Why Personal Finance is Important

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on why financial literacy is important. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How to Overcome Money Fears

Cheat Sheet - How to Overcome Money Fears

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on overcoming money fears. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Bonus - Debt Payoff Tracker PDF

Bonus - Debt Payoff Tracker PDF

Enter your email to get our free PDF debt payoff tracker. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How To Stay Motivated When You Feel Stuck

Cheat Sheet - How To Stay Motivated When You Feel Stuck

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on maintaining your level of motivation. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - What Should I Do After A Deep Tissue Massage?

Cheat Sheet - What Should I Do After A Deep Tissue Massage?

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on what to do after a deep tissue massage. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - Tips for Sitting at a Computer All Day

Cheat Sheet - Tips for Sitting at a Computer All Day

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on tips to counter sitting at a computer all day. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How Do I Stick to a Budget?

Cheat Sheet - How Do I Stick to a Budget?

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on tips to stick to your budget. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - How to Get Over a Breakup

Expert Tips - How to Get Over a Breakup

Enter your email to get our free PDF with expert tips on getting over a breakup. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Expert Tips - How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Enter your email to get our free PDF with expert tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - 10 Health & Fitness Quotes

Expert Tips - 10 Health & Fitness Quotes

Enter your email to get our free PDF with health and fitness quotes from Optimal Health Daily episodes. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Optimize Your Life

Optimize Your Life

Every week you will receive tips, quotes, and free tools to improve your life! You can unsubscribe any time, and I will not share your email address.

You have Successfully Subscribed!