Don't be the person who tries to push through dehydration. "Don't be the tough guy," says Allison Maurer, sports nutritionist at the University of Tennessee. "Just take a step back [and] really pay attention to what's going on with your body."
If you're experiencing dizziness, nausea or fatigue, those are warning signs of dehydration, Maurer says. "A lot of athletes, when they're dehydrated, end a practice or a game…[and] feel a little queasy. They don't necessarily make the connection that they're dehydrated, but that's a lot of times what happens."
Dodging the damage starts with proper fluids throughout the day, every day. When you're not competing, Maurer recommends hitting up fluids such as water, milk and juice. When you're preparing for action, she suggests gulping a sports drink, too, because it will help prevent dehydration. "The sodium content in sports drinks promotes more drinking, so it's a lot easier to get more fluids," she says.
Bottle, can or packet, take your pick and pack it for practice.
Powerade with ION4 [powerade.com]
Flavor: Fruit Punch
Calories: 50 // Carbs: 14g // Sodium: 100 mg
The lowdown: A new formula designed to replenish four key electrolytes—sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium; also contains B vitamins 12 and 6, which help convert carb stores to glucose, essential for stabilizing blood sugar.
CytoSport Cytomax Performance [cytosport.com]
Flavor: Cool Citrus
$22/1.5 lb can
Calories: 90 // Carbs: 22g // Sodium: 120 mg
The lowdown: Can be used before, during and after training; contains Alpha-L-Poly- Lactate to help minimize muscle soreness post-exercise by buffering acid production
PowerBar Electrolytes [powerbar.com]
Flavor: Natural Berry
Calories: 10 // Carbs: 2g // Sodium: 130 mg
The lowdown: A solid option if your workout lasts less than an hour; specifically designed to replace fluids and electrolytes—not calories or carbohydrates; each packet (2 servings) includes 260 mg of sodium and should be mixed with about 17 ounces of water.
Flavor: True Force
$3.99/ 12-oz. 6-pack
Calories: 25 // Carbs: 7g // Sodium: 135 mg
The lowdown: Contains theanine, which helps you focus, stay calm and attentive, according to Jeff Zachwieja, principal scientist at Gatorade's Sports Science Institute
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