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The 10 Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make

#4: Inconsistent Electrolyte Supplementation

Wed, Jun  28, 2006 - By Steve Born

Consuming sufficient calories and fluids during workouts and races is an obvious necessity. Consistent electrolyte supply is equally important. Just as your car’s engine requires sufficient oil to keep its many parts running smoothly, your body requires electrolyte minerals to maintain smooth performance of vital functions such as muscle contraction. Athletes who neglect this important component will impair their performance, and may incur painful and debilitating cramping and spasms, a sure way to ruin a workout or race. 

However, this doesn’t mean that athletes should indiscriminately ingest copious amounts of one or more electrolytes (sodium or salt is usually the most misused). Supplementing with only one electrolyte or consuming too much of one or more electrolytic minerals overrides the complex and precise mechanisms that regulate proper electrolyte balance. The solution is to provide the body with a balanced blend of these important minerals and in a dose that cooperates with and enhances body mechanisms. Salt tablets alone cannot sufficiently satisfy electrolyte requirements and excess salt will cause more problems than it resolves.

Remember also that electrolyte replenishment is important even when it’s not hot outside. Sure, you may not need as much as you would in hotter weather, but your body still needs consistent replenishment of these minerals to maintain the optimal performance of many important bodily functions. You don’t wait until you dehydrate before you drink fluids, or until you bonk before you put some calories back in your body do you? Of course not. You fulfill those fueling requirements before the consequences of inadequate replenishment strike. The same logic applies to electrolyte replenishment. Going back to the engine/oil analogy, you don’t wait until the engine seizes before refilling the oil reservoir and the same is true for electrolytes, the body’s “motor oil,” in that you don’t want to wait until you start cramping before you replenish these important minerals.

Recommendation: Endurolytes, in either capsule or powder form, is an inexpensive, easy to dose, and easy to consume way to get your necessary electrolytes. Use Endurolytes consistently during workouts and races to fulfill this crucial fueling need.

Next time, Mistake #5: No Protein Intake During Prolonged Exercise