RefreshME! Sports Beverage

It’s getting hot out there folks! And with these glorious summer days naturally comes more outdoor exercise. The prettier the weather the more apt we are to go and play hard!

With all the fun and games of running, mountain biking, hiking, and other strenuous outdoor activities, we need to make sure we stay hydrated. And by hydrating I do not mean simply drinking a glass of water before and after your workout…or drinking a beer as a tasty hydrating reward after a long grueling ride or hike. There are more factors to address for optimal performance and for overall health and safety.

In the summer months we naturally have increased water losses as the temperatures soar and our bodies attempt to maintain a core temperature around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Sweating is one of the mechanisms that assists in maintaining this core temperature.

If we add additional strenuous exercise to hot summer days, we are going to sweat even more, losing anywhere between 300ml to over 2 liters of sweat per hour depending on the exercise intensity, duration, heat acclimatization, humidity, etc.

Why is this important?? Water losses greater than 2% of your body weight can impair cognition and performance, whereas severe water losses of 6-10% of body weight can impact heart function, sweat production, and blood flow to the skin and muscles.

Getting Sweaty!

Since sweat not only contains water, but also sodium (salt) and smaller amounts of other electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, it is important rehydrate in times of high sweat losses with water that contains some salt….especially if you sweat a lot or tend to have very salty sweat. Although salt content is highly variable between one person to the next, it is estimated that on average about 1g of sodium is lost per liter of sweat. That is a lot!

This is important to note because it is often overlooked by recreational athletes who are aware of the importance of staying hydrated, drinking plenty of water before during and after their workout, but do not replenish their sodium.  This can lead to hyponatremia (low plasma sodium) causing symptoms of bloating, puffiness, weight gain, nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, and can possibly even cause death if untreated….yikes!

So who would benefit from consuming salt during exercise?
  • Those that sweat more than 1.2 liters per hour—see below for how to measure sweat losses.
  • Those that have very salty sweat—do you have salt crystals on your skin post workout?
  • And if you participate in strenuous exercise that is longer than 2 hours…which I know happens a lot in the mountain biking and hiking community here in Bellingham.

Euhydration: normal state of body water

How can you stay in euhydration?? Here are some great tips and tricks to keep your performance up and your health in check!

  • Consume 2-4ml of water per pound of body weight 2-4 hours before exercise to allow enough time to rid excess fluid and achieve pale yellow urine.
  • Add a little salt to your pre-workout meal or drink to help retain extra fluid prior to exercise.
  • Stay hydrated during exercise as able. Some may benefit from liquids with added sodium. See above for those who would benefit.
  • Athletes can also weigh themselves before and after a strenuous activity to determine sweat losses. For every pound lost rehydrate with 2.5 cups of water. Once again, if sodium losses are high, adding a little salt will be beneficial.
  • Drink cold beverages to help reduce core temperature and thus improve performance in the summer heat.
  • Do not restrict salt in post-exercise meals, especially when large sweat losses have occurred.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol during the recovery period because it has a diuretic effect (stimulates increased fluid loss via urine)…..afterwards you can meet up at the local brewery and celebrate the adventures of summer.
So drink up, stay hydrated, add a little pinch of salt, and play hard because summer has only just started!

RefreshME! Sports Beverage
Serves 1

The beverage recipe below is perfect for post-workout rehydration. Not only does it have a little salt (170mg) and a little potassium, but it also has 100% of your daily vitamin C (which helps reduce exercise induced oxidative stress). Plus it offers a little fruit sugar for energy, and a little protein for muscle repair. And it tastes simply refreshing, especially after a sweaty workout!

1 naval orange
1 lemon
1 lime
1 pinch sea salt
½ cup water
Optional: 1 tablespoon hydrolyzed collagen
4-6 ice cubes


Juice the orange, lemon, and lime with a citrus juicer and add the fresh juice to a glass (makes about ½ cup). Then add the salt, additional water, and optional collagen. Stir well to combine. Add ice cubes, a straw, and enjoy!

Note: The total fluid volume of this beverage is only ~ 12oz (if the ice cubes are melted). Therefore, you may need to hydrate with more fluid post-workout to make up total fluid losses.

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