WHAT ARE ELECTROLYTES? WHY DO I NEED THEM?
Electrolytes are chemicals that form electrically charged particles (ions) in body fluids. These ions carry the electrical energy necessary for many functions, including muscle contractions and transmission of nerve impulses. Many bodily functions depend on electrolytes. Optimal performance requires a consistent and adequate supply of these important nutrients.
Many athletes neglect consistent electrolyte replenishment because they’ve never had cramping problems. Even if you’ve been fortunate enough to have never suffered the painful, debilitating effects of cramping, you still need to provide your body with a consistent and adequate supply of electrolytes. Why? Because the goal in replenishing electrolytes is not so much to prevent cramping, but to maintain specific bodily functions at optimal levels. Cramping is your body’s way of letting you know that, in terms of electrolytes, it’s on empty. When you’ve reach that point, your performance has been severely compromise for some time. Remember, you want your body to perform smoothly, without interruption or compromise. Just as you shouldn’t wait until you’re dehydrate or bonking before you replenish fluids or calories, you never want to wait until you’re cramping before replenishing electrolytes. Consistent replenishment of electrolytes is just as important as the fuel you consume and the water you drink during exercise.