Although a fair number of pre-workout supplements do have an electrolyte blend of some sort (blend meaning not only sodium), this can not be said for all of them. While replenishing electrolytes is important for any exercise, they can be especially important for the types that involve a lot of running. This can ring even more true if you're exercising outdoors on a hot summer day when your body is dropping electrolytes quickly. For bodybuilders that are working out in a nice, cool air-conditioned gym, the need is not as dire.
What Are Electrolytes Anyways?
In a sense, electrolytes are similar to the motor oil you put into your car. It's not what powers your vehicle, but it does keep everything running smoothly and efficiently. What we refer to as electrolytes are magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphate, bicarbonate, chloride, and sulfate. The four main ones that help maintain our body's fluids are potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium. All of these minerals are what we call “ionic” which simply means that they are capable of carrying electrical energy through the body for proper functioning. When we exercise our bodies, we lose some of these minerals through our sweat.
Why Are They Important For Running and Sports?
If you're electrolytes are not properly balanced before a game or a run, there's a good chance that you'll experience faster muscle and more cramping than your used to. This can be anywhere from leg cramps, to side and stomach stitches as well. A few other common symptoms are nausea, dark-colored urine, decreased frequency of urinating, bad breath with a dry mouth, dry skin, dizziness, muscle spasms and more. Not something you really want to be trifling with. The two easiest symptoms to let you know of an imbalance are the frequency of bathroom breaks, and the color of your urine when you go in there. An average, healthy adult should have a light yellow hue to their urine and be visiting the washroom between 5-7 times daily.
When we sweat, we are mainly losing sodium and potassium. Potassium plays a part in allowing nutrients and fluids to move across your cells membranes, which in turn permits them to carry on with their normal functions such as contracting your muscles. So without the proper amounts, your cells have a hard time generating strong enough impulses to control any muscle contractions whatever. When the body begins cramping, it; s trying to communicate to you that your electrolyte stores are running close to empty. Kind of like the your check engine coming on in your cars dash. Something is going on, and needs to be taken care of.
Something To Be Mentioned On Sodium
Consuming sodium, and sodium alone will not be sufficient to help your body balance itself out. Sodium by itself causes water retention and can result in some less than desirable results like sliding of the feet or hands. When taken alone, sodium can actually trigger a different response in the body which neutralizes the hormonal detection system and interrupts the bodies regulation processes. It should always be consumed with other member of the electroles family for best results.
3 Pre-Workout Options That Have An Electrolyte Blend
With a bit better understanding of what electrolytes are, and what they actually do; we can look at a few different options for pre-workout supplements that actually contain them. A lot of pre-workouts contain just sodium, but these few I'm about to share have an actual blend that your body can appreciate and find useful. If you're already paying for and using a pre-workout supplement, then why not reward your body with some extra minerals for it's hard work? Here are 3 pre-workouts that do:
Assault – MusclePharm
Superpump – Gaspari Nutrition
BodyRush – ForceFactor