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Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Nice shirts

A. Split Jerk; 10 minutes technique work
B. Split Jerk; 15-20 minutes to build to a heavy single
C. Tabata Sit-ups unanchored, abmat optional; compare to July 25th


This is a version of an article I wrote for my new fitness column in the community newspaper.  I wasn’t able to come up with a name for the column on time, so they went with “Fit as a Fiddle”.  mmmm…. not sure what to make of that…  In any case, if you have any questions about electrolytes or if you want to try out our  house brand, we have some individual packets you can buy.


Staying Hydrated while Exercising in a Heat Wave

by Tania Tetrault Vrga

We live in a city with extreme variations in temperature.  Along with the icy cold winters, we enjoy hot sunny summers.  I use the term “enjoy” with caution, as I’m not sure that everyone would agree in the midst of a heat wave.  This past month has been especially hot and humid, with Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service urging us to stay well hydrated and avoid physical exertion.

Does that mean we should stop exercising?  I don’t know about you, but I would get a little stir crazy and quite grumpy if I had to avoid working out altogether.   During a heat wave, I choose to train indoors for the most part, and save the outdoor workouts for early morning, before the heat becomes unbearable.

When exercising in extreme temperatures, it’s important to make sure that the body’s cooling systems are working properly.   The body is an expert at self-regulation and one of the mechanisms for controlling body temperature is sweat.  However, if the body loses too much fluid due to excessive sweating, the mechanism breaks down, resulting in fatigue, cramps, even heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  Then we’re in trouble.

So what to do about it?  The obvious answer is to replenish lost fluids.  Conventional wisdom dictates consumption of one litre of water for every hour of physical activity, but staying hydrated isn’t just about taking in water.  When we sweat, we lose more than just water.  We also lose electrolytes, which are essential to maintaining fluid balance in the body.

Electrolytes are chemical substances that form ions when dissolved in water.  These ions are charged particles that conduct electrical energy throughout the body, necessary for many essential functions, from cell signalling to nerve impulses in the brain to muscle contractions.  Electrolytes are found in everyday foods and  in supplements designed specifically for athletes.

A good electrolyte source will include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous.  Try taking an electrolyte supplement during or after workouts, in the form of a drink, gel or powder that can be mixed with water.  If you choose to go the supplement route, look for one that doesn’t include excess sugar or artificial colours and flavours.  You can also try consuming foods rich in these particular minerals.   A diet including a variety of non-processed foods, such as pastured meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts, with a pinch of salt should provide most of the electrolytes you need.  I know people who swear by pickle juice, which happens to be very rich in sodium and potassium!

The athlete or fitness enthusiast who sweats on a regular basis should pay close attention to electrolyte status regardless of the weather.  In addition to avoiding cramps and heat related illness, proper electrolyte balance can improve athletic performance, strength, stamina, endurance, recovery, mental focus and body composition.


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