Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recovery Pt. IV - Electrolytes


I know, I know...I am a HEATHEN.  How I could I say something so ridiculous?  Salt?!? Why would I even consider ingesting salt when everyone from the USDA to the AMA to the WWE (OK maybe not) have said that sodium is bad for your health, bad for your blood pressure, just plain BAD?

Well guess what? When you're spent, wrything on the floor after a WOD, then you get up and glance down and your pretty lil sweat're looking at up to (if not more than) a POUND of sweat that you just lost.  Well, let's consider what this pound of sweat contains:

220mg Sodium
63mg Potassium
8mg Magnesium
16mg Calcium

That's a lot of "um"s.  Those ums (also known as electrolytes), as they left your body...took with um energy, muscular efficiency, endurance capacity and your ability to effectively hydrate. What's that you say?  But you drink gallons of water a day to hydrate?  Fantastic!  Except for the fact that this Sodium you're losing reduces your capacity to retain the water you're drinking.  So without replenishing the lost Sodium, you are peeing out as much as you're retaining.  This inefficient hydration can result in problems with muscle tissue, and affect your overall recovery.  And damnit if you're going through the trouble to drink that much water, shouldn't you be getting the most out of it?

Check out this video where K Star breaks the situation down, and then see below for some helpful supplements that will replenish your electrolytes so that you're hydrating optimally:


As the man says, NUUN is a great choice for electrolyte replenishment.  I keep a couple of tubes at my desk so I can drop them in my water bottle and not worry about getting the most out of my hydration.  They are sugar-free and the flavors are great.  I personally use the Lemon-Lime and Tri-Berry flavors.  One a day (on WOD days) does the trick.

Another great product to try is Endurolytes from Hammer Nutrition. I would take 3-4 capsules within an hour following a heavy WOD.  These are a bit pricey compared to NUUN, but everything Hammer sells is top notch, and it's no wonder they are world-renowned in the endurance community.  Expect an amazing welcome package with your first order, overflowing with samples of their other products.  In this respect you definitely get your money's worth.  While there's some minor differences in the amounts of each electrolyte you get from either of the above supplements, both  give you what you need to be much better off than if you didn't replenish anything at all.


Blair Morrison is a superstar Crossfitter, known for his penchant for outdoor WODs, and choosing natural settings to be his background for staying fit.  I checked out an amazing article through his blog anywherefit.  Here's an excerpt:

After yesterday’s workout at CF 209 Sport in Stockton I was feeling pretty stiff. My lower back, hamstrings, and shoulders were all a bit banged up.This evening I soaked for less than 10 minutes amidst 2 cups of Epsom Salts and a tub full of piping hot water and walked out feeling limber as a pre-teen gymnast. Add a glass of red wine and I’m writing this post 2 shakes from my pillow and an incredible night’s sleep.Curious as to why I was feeling so great after such a short episode, I googled “Epsom Salt Bath” and found the following article. It’s a quick read, but interesting. Just another piece of the recovery puzzle falling into place. 

Please check out the entire piece and give the epsom salt bath a try.  Looks like it may be our best shot at absorbing significant amounts of magnesium.

So there you have it...another installment among many that I hope will at least enlighten you as to how much goes into restoring your body after the relentless abuse we put it through almost daily.  Thanks so much for the emails...peace...