If you care about looking great and performing at an elite level, chances are you already train like a machine and eat a precisely calibrated diet. But how much care and planning are you giving to your hydration?
You no doubt drink water. Maybe you even carry around a big jug or water bottle during your workouts. Great start! Hydration is a critical but frequently overlooked slice of the performance pie, and drinking enough water helps everything in your body function properly, all the way from individual cells to complex physiological systems.
So, what's the next step beyond simply drinking water? Upgrading your H20 with electrolytes and other hydration-focused supplements. Here's why to consider them, plus three go-to drink blends from our fitness community.
Why take hydration supplements?
You lose fluids when you train, especially during high-intensity exercise and in the hot summer months. That much you probably know! If you were one of the hundreds of thousands of people who watched and followed Hannah Eden through her Tabata Tuesday workout from FYR 2.0 in 2020, you were no doubt surprised at how much sweat a human body could produce in only half an hour.
Sure, you were tired and thirsty afterward. But so what? After all, as Krissy Kendall, Ph.D., explains in the article, "Everything You Need to Know about Hydration," over 40 percent of regular gym-goers are at least partially dehydrated during their workouts.
One reason to care: As dehydration increases over the course of a long workout, your strength, power, and endurance all suffer. Some studies have concluded that your cognitive abilities begin to suffer as well, even at rates as low as 1 percent dehydration.
The downside doesn't end there. Hydration research in recent years has shown that inadequate hydration after a workout had the potential to impair positive workout adaptations and "strongly increased cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, the primary stress hormones."
To combat these problems, hydration supplements serve two functions. One is to help replenish the sodium and other electrolytes that you sweat out, and which water alone won't provide. The other is to make your water taste better!
We asked you in a recent Instagram Stories post which hydration products you rely on to support your goals. Here are a few of your favorite electrolyte-rich hydration formulas, as well as reviews of them from real customers.
1. Kaged Muscle Hydra-Charge
This supercharged hydration supplement from longtime Bodybuilding.com coach, author, and transformation expert Kris Gethin is a regular addition to our community's water bottles. The reason why is no secret: Hydra-Charge is a sugar-free formula containing a treasure trove of beneficial ingredients, including coconut water for hydration and a vegetable-based antioxidant blend to promote faster hydration of muscle tissue for better recovery and results.*
Rather than pick a specific brand, numerous members of our community just gave us a single word: BCAAs. This wasn't surprising, because we know how many of you are connoisseurs of branched-chain amino blends, alternating between brands and flavors over time and sharing recommendations with one another.
Whichever brand you choose, BCAAs can be a perfect way to stay hydrated during a workout, while also suppressing muscle breakdown and potentially combatting delayed-onset muscle soreness.* But as Jim Stoppani, Ph.D., explains in his article, "The Best Way to Use BCAAs," they are equally popular among serious lifters and athletes as a way to "spike" muscle protein synthesis between meals.
What's in your shaker bottle? Here's what's in ours.
Our community has let us know that they don't just buy BCAAs, they buy them again and again. That's when a BodyFit membership becomes a great investment in your results. You can save money on every order, get free shipping, and, as a big plus, have access to over 100 programs to help show you what a one-two punch of quality training and quality supplements can really do.
3. XTEND Sport
XTEND is the aminos-and-plenty-more heavyweight that put BCAAs on the map, and it remains a perennial fan favorite. It's got a whopping 7 grams of BCAAs per serving, plus ample electrolytes and other workout-boosting ingredients.* And the flavors all have diehard followings. Not every company's drink blends taste good enough to warrant their own craft cocktail recipes!
Train, Sweat, Hydrate, Repeat
As the weather heats up and you start spending more time outside the gym, it becomes more important than ever to make sure your hydration is on point. Kris Gethin can relate! That's why he set out to finish a full triathlon while still following his traditional bodybuilding workouts. The result was the documentary series and full training program Man of Iron, one of our most inspirational video series ever.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.