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. You track your strength gains over time and watch your macronutrient intake, finetuning as you go. In other words, you pay close attention to your training and nutrition. But what about your hydration status?
Hydration is a critical but frequently overlooked slice of the performance pie. Everything in your body needs water to function properly, all the way from individual cells to complex physiological systems. Even slight dehydration can harm your physical (and mental) performance, and extreme dehydration can lead to serious issues. You lose fluids when you train, especially during high-intensity exercise and in the hot summer months, which means hydration is especially important for athletes and lifters.
Keeping yourself hydrated starts with a foundation of ample daily water intake, no doubt about it, but it doesn't stop there, especially if you want to maximize performance. You also need to replace electrolytes—minerals you lose in sweat—and you should consider taking supplements that support your endurance and recovery, as well.
Thankfully, you don't have to buy a host of single-ingredient products to support your goals. Here are a few of our favorite electrolyte-rich hydration and performance supplements with multiple benefits.
1. Kaged Muscle In-Kaged
From longtime Bodybuilding.com coach, author, and transformation expert Kris Gethin, In-Kaged is easily one of the best-formulated and best-tasting hybrid hydration and performance supplements available. In-Kaged contains a treasure trove of beneficial ingredients: branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, to promote muscle recovery and repair; citrulline to support nitric oxide production; patented CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine to fight fatigue; coconut water powder to promote hydration; and more. In-Kaged even contains a small hit of caffeine (from green coffee beans) to boost your energy.*
2. Alpha Lion Gain-o-Rade
Gain-o-Rade is a comprehensive recovery and hydration supplement. The high-performance formula is built on a solid backbone of essential amino acids, or EAAs, which are deemed "essential" because your body can't produce them on its own. (The EAAs include the critical BCAAs, which are included here as fermented InstAminos.) In addition to the recovery support offered by the EAAs, Gain-o-Rade includes a powerful electrolyte and hydration matrix comprised of coconut water, a patented multimineral complex, and more.
3. EVL Hydramino
Where many hydration products include only two or three electrolytes, EVL's Hydramino contains a comprehensive blend of all six: magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and phosphorous. In addition, Hydramino contains two ingredient blends that set it apart: BetaBerries Antioxidant Blend, made from an array of antioxidant-rich fruits, and Green Balance Alkalizing Blend, a combination of nutrient-rich "superfood" powders like wheatgrass and chlorella. This broad-spectrum formula means Hydramino supports overall health plus endurance and hydration.*
4. XTEND Sport
XTEND Sport is the branched-chain heavyweight of this group, making it a great choice to support muscle recovery and repair. With 7 grams of BCAAs per serving, XTEND Sport delivers 3.5 grams of leucine—perhaps the most important individual amino acid for muscle protein synthesis—and 1.75 grams each of isoleucine and valine in every scoop. In addition, XTEND Sport contains a unique electrolyte and performance hydration blend featuring coconut water powder and BetaPower Betaine to help you hydrate during intense exercise.*
*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.