You Don't Need Electrolytes After Every Workout

The media and ADs might be a bit biased about this and you should pay close attention what's being sold to you.

It is a common myth that people think electrolytes are critical for hydration. Electrolytes are essential for many functions within the body. These are essential minerals, such as potassium, sodium, and calcium, your cells need to function correctly. Magnesium and phosphate are two additional types. Most of the time, people get the electrolytes they need through the food they eat. However, there are times when the body will see a drop in electrolytes and needs them replenished quickly to avoid problems.

In the world where we are surrounded by multimillion dollar companies, who’s business sustainability depends on selling you more sports drinks, there might be an inherent bias in the ADs and media around hydration standards.

Your body exists in a delicate water and electrolyte balance. It needs to maintain the essential electrolytes so your nerves, muscles and all organs can properly function.

Most of the time, when the amount of water in your body changes significantly, that can cause a drop in electrolytes. Sweating is a good example of this. Hydration is a balancing act. After a workout or any event when you’re sweating a great deal, the first and most important step is to hydrate fully. That means replacing the amount of water lost with at least the same amount. 

Electrolytes can be a good thing, but they are not necessary after every workout. They are more likely necessary when you’re severely dehydrated, such as being out in the sun all day.

Focus on hydration after a workout. That includes consuming enough fluid to replace what was lost. That’s the most important first step. This is proper sports hydration, as noted by research in the journal Nutrients.

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