In every StrideBox there are usually a few pouches of powdery goodness to add to your plain ol’ water. Maybe they are just to add some color to a cloudy day or add some flavor to the salty sweat that is running down your face when you run. But really, some are to aid in hydration and electrolyte balance and others are to help with recovery. So, how do you figure out the what, when, and why? Well, we are here to (hopefully) shed some light on this sometimes messy subject.
Let’s start with the pre and during workout drinks. The ones that have those electrolytes in them.
A quick electrolyte 101:
When you run your body does a couple of things. First, your muscles contract over and over again. Your muscles use chemicals to contract. We call them electrolytes. Second, you sweat. Your sweat also has electrolytes. Mainly, sodium. The muscles use the sodium too, but they also use calcium and potassium. You want to maintain your electrolyte balance during your run to avoid things like muscle cramps and fatigue.
So, back to the drinks. They have electrolytes to keep you going. There are so many variations and flavors out there that StrideBox aims to help you try them all. But, what are the differences other than flavor?
Energy. There may be caffeine or B vitamins in the drink to aid with energy. Some people may not want added energy in their beverage and some might not drink without it. You may need to see what forms of energy are the best fit for you.
Carbohydrates. Endurance drinks can have varying levels of carbohydrates. If you can’t stand the thought of a gel or a chew, a higher carb drink mix might be for you during your workout. If you are working on longer distances you may want a higher carb drink as well. If your run is shorter or you are consuming other forms of carbs, you may still want to add something to your water, but may not need the higher carb option.
Additional vitamins and minerals known to be effective for hydration and performance. Beet root, chia seeds, and other ingredients can give a drink mix an edge over other options.
Next: Post-workout and recovery drink mixes:
Mainly, this category involves protein. But the more serious endurance recovery products are also going to include higher carbohydrate amounts as well.
Protein drinks are a great way to recover if you are on the go or can’t stomach a meal right away after your run. Quickly replenishing your protein and carbohydrates after exercise aids in recovery and trains your body to be more efficient with its fuel long term.
If your run is very long or particularly difficult a higher carb protein drink may be just what your body is looking for. But you will want to assess your carb intake for your pre and during run to consider more carbs are needed.
Some drinks will have added amino acids as well. Some don’t just have a blend of amino acids, but focus on glutamine. You can use a large portion of you glutamine stores while exercising. Since glutamine plays a large role in your muscle recovery it is helpful to ensure that you are not depleted of it post-workout.
Do you have a pile of these powdery packets growing from your StrideBoxes? We hope you can find the right time and place for each one and see what you like and don’t like!