Sunday, August 14, 2016

Why you need a sweat sodium test

Athletes of all abilities and of many sports, from football to hockey and triathlon to ultra running, are taking advantage of medical grade technology to accurately measure sweat composition.  This invaluable service, offered through eNRG Performance, helps athletes learn more about their bodies and how to fine-tune their hydration and electrolyte supplementation strategies.  Do you wonder if this testing is right for you?  If so, read on for 6 reasons why this testing and service deserve your consideration.
  1. Sodium is key.  There are several electrolytes that comprise your sweat, but sodium is the primary electrolyte lost in sweat. Because it is involved in many critical roles in the body, including muscle contraction and fluid balance, sodium losses can have a big impact on how you feel and perform during training and practice sessions as well as on competition day. Hydration and electrolyte replacement often go hand in hand, especially for endurance sports or any sport occurring in heat and humid conditions. Unfortunately, you do not need to reach a significant level of dehydration or sodium loss before your performance starts to decrease.
  2.  All of us are different.  It used to be believed that sweat composition was fairly consistent among individuals of similar body types or dietary patterns.  In other words, if you are bigger, you probably sweat more and hence, lose more sodium. Or if you have a high sodium diet, then you lose proportionally more sodium when you sweat.  We now know through research that individual variance is significant and our sweat sodium concentration is largely genetically determined. There can be upwards of a 15-fold difference in sodium losses between athletes, regardless of body type and diet.  Depending on your sport and how much you sweat (which we also examine as a part of the eNRG Performance service), you can easily be over-doing or under-doing what you really need.
  3. Dial it in now rather than maybe never. Recreational athletes are known for participating in “trial and error” when it comes to figuring out their hydration and nutrition needs for training and competition. Believe me, I have lots of athletes that come to me after years of trying to figure it all out on their own or with the guidance of someone who is not experienced or educated in this area. While trial and error may be fine for some athletes, others experience a range of unpleasant and even harmful consequences. Why not save time and the potential negative effects of poor hydration and electrolyte replacement strategies and work with a professional to better determine your needs?  
  4. It’s an easy test to do. This is a non-exercise, non-invasive test that takes typically less than 30 minutes to get the results. Bonus:  this is a one-time test (remember, sweat sodium concentration is largely genetic) so it’s a “one and done”.
  5. Interpretation matters.  What do you do with the results of the sweat sodium concentration testing? eNRG Performance is not in the business of selling you an electrolyte product, but rather, we are in the business of educating our athletes and developing personalized strategies. So, combined with learning your sweat sodium concentration and working with you to understand your sweat rate trends, you get personalized information tailored to your unique athletic needs.
  6. It can be a game changer.  This testing is not just for elite or professional athletes. Every athlete can benefit.  Learning more about your body and what it needs to train and perform at your best should be one of your top goals.  Athletes who participate in this testing report it is well worth the investment and has simply been a game changer.
To learn more about this testing or to schedule your testing appointment, contact me at dina@enrgperformance.com. 

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