Why do we need it and How much do we need?
As animals, our bodies store ‘energy’ as Glycogen, in muscle tissue and our Liver. When we exercise, our favoured choice of energy is Glycogen. So, this is used alongside water and minerals which need replacing so our bodies can continue performing effectively and efficiently. These drinks contain similar concentrations of Salt & Sugar as is found in the human body.
There are many factors to consider when trying out these drinks, some of these are: Intensity of workout, Individual Fitness Level, Age and Sex. Weather conditions, Altitude, Indoor or Outdoor etc. Water alone is fine for short exercise routines to hydrate, yet if you don’t replenish with ‘Electrolytes’ you are prone to ‘Hyponatremia’ or low body sodium levels, which can be fatal.
What are they?
ISOTONIC drinks are aimed towards Sports minded people at All Levels. They are effective when completing Aerobic activities for up to 1 hour in duration, Cyclists, Swimmers, Runners, Fitness Classes etc. They are formulated to promote rehydration during and after exercise. HIGH in simple Carbohydrates such as Sucrose, Fructose & Glucose, these offer a ‘fast’ and efficient source of energy, essentially combined with Water and ‘B’ Vitamins.
ELECTROLYTES: Minerals such as Sodium, Potassium, Chloride and Calcium, are reduced through Exercise – Sweat!! There is no Specific quantity or product, it’s generally ‘Trial & Error’ for the individuals taste. On that note, it’s vital to include water and salt, other than that it’s up to you. You can find the simple sugars from things like Cordial, Fresh Juice, Fruits & Vegetables (Dried or Fresh or Tinned Frozen) also nuts and seeds. To help reduce inflammation add a pinch of turmeric to your drink
Syrups and Molasses or just plain old Granulated Sugar. Good sources of Sodium – Salt • Potassium – Apricots & Bananas • Chloride – Tomatoes & Lettuce • Calcium – Fortified Orange Juice & Dark Green Leafy Vegetables. Remember to rinse thoroughly all produce and compost where possible. Just be careful if your diet is low in Fibre, introduce small amounts to avoid stomach cramps/aches and increased toilet activity.
Shop bought drinks are Expensive and likely to include unnecessary Flavourings, Sweeteners and Preservatives as a powder or bottled fluid.
Decide what quantity you want to make, then boil the water 400, 500 or 1000ml then add a simple pinch of salt to the water, stir and leave to cool, maybe do this the day before. Gather your ingredients, try and include some foods high in Essential ‘B’ Vitamins, these convert food into Glucose = Energy.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach) Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Watermelon. If you decide to use frozen food, no need to thaw just blend with all the other ingredients. Remember to start off small, you can always add ingredients to make the taste more palatable.
Sports drinks delay fatigue and enhance performance by preventing a fall in blood sugar and minimising the effects of dehydration. Depending on which ‘ingredients’ you use, will depend on the shelf life it has. Using banana, I’ve found limits the drink to hours in the fridge rather than days, so if you intend using banana, leave out until you want to drink the liquid.
Something to consider, if you are super fit at one activity say Cycling, starting out at running let’s say, you will need to understand you will sweat more as you will use similar muscles, but in a different way, so include more liquid.