Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hands in the air, back AWAY from the salt!

A while back, I listed off a few podcasts that I enjoy as well as a few that y'all recommended (HERE). Well, I had backed off on listening to most running-related podcasts because frankly, all those podcasts were depressing me. Just a constant reminder that I CAN'T RUN. It's been 45 days, folks.

Well, I'm back to listening because I'm thinking my calf is doing better and I'm HOPING (praying) that I get the green light to start (walk)jogging soon - or at least get clearance to ellipticize. That's ALMOST running, right?

Anyway, last night on Ben Greenfield Fitness, I heard an interesting interview with a South African expert on hydration, Dr. Tim Noakes. Dr. Noakes claimed that the fitness drink industry has taken hold of our minds and brainwashed us all into thinking we will collapse without their products. The interview included an interesting summary of research on hydration in athletes, dating from pre-1950's to the present. In his decades of study, Dr. Noakes claims there is not a single study that indicates that we should be taking salt/sodium supplements during endurance events.

Whoa! Say what? He even went to far as to say that there is NO research that shows that we need to be drinking enough fluids during events that we minimize weight loss. Instead, he recommends only drinking for thirst and that weight loss is expected and perfectly fine.

For an interesting listen, check out this interview in Ben's Episode #157: The Death of Gatorade – Should You Stop Using Electrolytes During Exercise? 
I guess no more excuses for potato chips now?


  1. That's interesting! I actually started recently to switch from Gatorade to a more sodium/potassium drink, since I got a lot of heat related cramps in my arms. I thought it works :)

  2. Was it you who recommended MTA? I really like them and def. listen to it all the time now.

  3. I know his studies very well. Years back when I was in the army we were part of some of it. We all did the same physical training course over 3 months without salt as others did taking in as much salt as they wanted. Zero difference, in fact, we were much healthier and had less problems than the salty guys.

  4. Wanted to add: I don't eat salt on any of my food and I've been running a lot more than average for 30 years now. I have never had a cramp.

  5. I have also read some studies where they don't recommend the intake of salt (for most runners) during an event because there is more than enough in our diet.

    Also, it appears there is a small movement afoot that agrees with the "drink when you are thirsty" method of hydration. While I agree, my concern is that during longer runs some of our bodily functions work at less capacity so someone may not realize they are thirsty.

  6. He was also interviewed on the UK podcast Marathon Talk. I found it interesting as I tend not to drink much when I run. Too much liquid gives me a stitch. My physio told be to drink electrolyte drinks whenever I exercise, but I have mainly ignored that advice!

  7. Interesting! I only use Nuun, which I don't think has a ton of salt in it, but for the most part, I still to the always classy H2O.

    Hope you can start running soon, so we can get some runs in together. :)

  8. I never drink as much as I've been told to. I do drink often and in small amounts, but never enough for my coaches to be happy...
    Whenever I've tried to drink more, I get really sloshy and uncomfortable and usually end up with a side cramp.

  9. For someone who lives in the South and sweats all the freaking time I find this hard to believe. I guess I have never really trained without it so I don’t know…but I think it has helped me in my marathons. I don’t use salt for 1/2s-just fulls. very interesting.

  10. Oooh I'll be giving this one a listen. I didn't realize he had a podcast outside of his Endurance Planet stuff. My podcast list swells!

    So far, I've just been running with Nuun. When I ran very long (in hot humid ATL) with only water, I got sick at 15 miles. I always drink to thirst no matter what I drink. I did my first marathon with only water and an occasional Powerade at the aide stops. It was not 95 degrees outside then though.

    I have a bottle of S-Caps but have not yet tried them. So far between the Nuun and gels, I've been fine.

    It is all so confusing sometimes. I suppose one just has to try stuff and figure out what works for them.

  11. I love it when science-y people back up things I've already thought. I've never been able to drink as much as I "should." I actually drink Gatorade because I like the taste - ha, ha!
    I can't wait 'til you're up and running (injury-free) again!

  12. I actually heard this too and felt a lot better because I know I'd lose several pounds during a hot, sweaty run but I always came back just fine after I rehydrated.

    I hope you're back to running soon! I was sidelined for eternity and it is so depressing to read running blogs about everyone running so well. Not that I wasn't happy for them, just made me miss it that much more.