Hydration for Peak Performance

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You can't spell hydration without ION. Learn how the new Powerade with ION4 is keeping top All-Stars in check as they continue to deliver powerful performances.

ION4 is an advanced electrolyte system that's formulated with key minerals you lose through sweat—sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. The formula is based on research collected by exercise physiologists who studied sweat patches worn by test groups of athletes after they engaged in activity. The research showed that most athletes sweat about four times as much sodium as potassium, ten times as much potassium as calcium and twice as much calcium as magnesium. That means lots of electrolytes need to be replenished.

An eight-ounce serving of Powerade with ION4 contains 100 mg of sodium, 24.2 mg of potassium, 2.5 mg of calcium and 1.2 mg of magnesium.

Want to know what the pros think of ION4? Read on to learn the hydration game plans of Joba Chamberlain, Shawne Merriman and Steve Smith.

Joba Chamberlain, P, New York Yankees
Chamberlain was a late-season call-up in 2007, and his 2008 season was injury-ridden; but that didn't stop him from being a jack of all trades on the hill for the Bronx Bombers. Over that span, he had 16 starts and 45 relief appearances, posting an ERA of under 2.5 in over 124 innings pitched.

A guy who has been thrust into nearly every kind of situation on the mound, Chamberlain learned early on that pitching was impossible without proper hydration. He says, "I dehydrated when I was a sophomore in college really badly. When I got cramps, I couldn't do anything. I couldn't pitch. I couldn't drive off the mound, because my calf and my hamstring were cramped up."

From that experience, Chamberlain learned to hydrate well and fuel his body the right way. Daily downs of Powerade keep him in check. "If I'm starting, I'll have a big plate of pasta before the game, and I'll have two Powerades and a glass of water," he says.

Shawne Merriman, OLB, San Diego Chargers
A first round draft pick in 2005 and a three-time Pro Bowler, Merriman has been losing plenty of electrolytes lately. The 6'4", 270-pound linebacker recently added Muay Thai martial arts training to his off-season routine. He's also been running stadium stairs with a heavy bag slung across his shoulders and even shooting some hoops to improve his athleticism. (Memo to AFC West QBs: be scared.)

"I believe in working out and leaving everything on that workout," Merriman says. "I drink plenty of water, and obviously Powerade to replenish a lot of electrolytes and things I've lost through the day of practice and working out."

Merriman is hoping that the long days he spends training and hydrating will translate into a long and healthy 2009 season. He says, "If you take care of your body with the right nutrition and hydration, you feel it later on during the season. You feel good the first few games, and later on in the season you can tell how well you've been taking care of your body."

Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers
After missing the 2004 season with a broken leg, Smith came back strong in 2005, leading the league in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. But before he could return to defend his triple crown, he suffered a hamstring injury and missed training camp. The injury persisted throughout the pre-season and kept him sidelined for the first two games of the 2006 season. Smith says, "It was because I wasn't drinking enough … electrolytes."

The fix included always keeping water and other liquids on hand. Smith says, "[Powerade] is a major part of my workout, because if you don't stay hydrated, your muscles lose the water. Hydration and nutrition [are] all in the same dynamic. Just like working out. It's my profession, so I have to be on top of it."

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock