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Five Things You Didn’t Know About Hydration

electrolytes hydration

We asked the good folks at nuun to write this guest blog post so we can all get up to speed on hydration. 

by vishal patel, chief nutritionist at nuun

at nuun, the benefits of hydration come second nature to us, because every one of us lives an active lifestyle where hydration plays a key role. we try and communicate the importance of hydration regularly, and create great tasting products to suit your various needs. below are some of the fundamentals principles of hydration that are often overlooked.

1. hydration is energy (for your muscles)!

most people look at hydration and think the main purpose to help prevent dehydration, and to replenish electrolyte stores that may be lost via sweat. although both of those are true (recent studies have shown that electrolytes may play greater roles in fluids absorption than sweat replenishment), the fundamental goal of hydration is to delivery oxygen to working muscles. so, try to think about hydration or the fluid you are consuming as helping your muscles breathe, which in turn gives them the energy they need to perform.

nuun electrolytes hydration2. water does not hydrate you.

yes, you read that correctly! while water does fundamentally provide your body with fluid, it does not truly hydrate you. what we’ve learned is that water needs to be in a specific concentration (composing of carbohydrates and electrolytes) to exit the stomach and move into circulation where it can be used by the body. we have also learned that water needs to contain sodium to ensure proper fluid absorption. to make matters even more complicated, your “water” should contain different amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes before/during/after your hike. that’s why at nuun, we make products for when you’re at rest, during light exercise, and for more endurance-focused days on the trail.

3. proper hydration will help mitigate gastric distress during exercise.

to put it simply, when you are exercising, your body (stomach) is under stress. and there are ways you can eat and drink to mitigate that stress, or to encourage it. when it comes to hydration, if the ratio of carbohydrates to fluid is too high or the electrolyte profile is too low, the delivery of fluid slows down, and sits in the stomach. that’s what causes sloshing, and gi issues. we’ve designed nuun performance to aid your body when it is under the most amount of stress – during endurance exercise.

nuun lemon lime electrolytes hydration4. hydration will help you fuel better.

this builds on the previous point. with proper hydration, you can help eliminate the gi issues that can come with it, and allow faster and more efficient fueling. this is achieved by not overloading your system, and using multiple pathways to absorb fluids and carbohydrates.

5. hydration aids in recovery.

one area that is very crucial to the recovery process is rehydrating. rehydrating not only replenishes fluids lost during hiking, but it also helps replenish the electrolytes that were lost (to a certain extent). however, it’s not as easy as downing a bunch of nuun after a long trek. in fact, drinking too much too fast can degrade the potential gains of the workout. here’s why – over time your body has developed a strong immune system that helps repair itself when it is under the stresses of exercise. therefore, naturally you want your body to begin repairing itself, and slowly rehydrate, continuing to hydrate throughout the day.

We were stoked to work with nuun to include one of their Lemon + Lime 10-pack electrolyte tubes in the October Trailfoody. Just pop the cap, drop in one of the tablets, and your drink fizzes to life. Cool!

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Why You Might Become Dehydrated While on the Trail and the Importance of Proper Hydration

hydrate with electrolytes

You’ve probably heard that hydration can be more important than the food you eat during a challenging day in the outdoors. That’s why we asked Liquid I.V. to write this guest blog post about how to prevent dehydration. We were impressed with their Hydration Multiplier, which is why we included it in the August Trailfoody.

By Liquid I.V.

“Drink more water!” You hear and read about this all the time. And you know you are guilty of not hydrating properly from time to time (most of the time for some of us). Sounds so simple, but it’s honestly tough to be consistent about. It can be hard to remember to hydrate. And let’s face it… drinking plain water gets pretty boring after a while. We are human beings, and we demand excitement and instant gratification!

We force ourselves to drink whatever because we know we need it. Our bodies tell us we need it when we feel thirsty, but as we get older that sensation for thirst fades away. Plus, when given the choice, many of us gravitate to drinking something significantly less healthy and slightly sweeter (think soda, juice or artificial sports drinks).

hydration during trail runningMaintaining proper hydration levels is critical when exploring the great outdoors. A beautiful day can quickly turn into a bad day and hospital visit for an iv drip if you aren’t careful. Maintaining adequate fluid levels and replacing electrolytes serves a wide range of purposes in our bodies such as removing waste through urine; controlling body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Your body will begin to shut down without water. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, confusion, fatigue, and even loss of consciousness.

Here are a few reasons you might become dehydrated while out on the trail:

Caffeinated soda or coffee. Consuming relatively small amounts of soda or coffee can lead to dehydration. These drinks are considered diuretics that can cause an increase in the excretion of water from the body. Try to keep these to a minimum before going on a long hike or trail run.

Sweat. Sweat is the moisture that comes through your pores as a result of physical exertion, heat or even fever. Getting a good sweat on from your workout is one of the key ingredients to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. An hour long run, bike ride, or hike up your favorite peak can cause your body to lose a great deal of its precious water and vital electrolytes like sodium and potassium. When you sweat, you can put yourself at risk of dehydration if you don’t replace what you’ve lost. A simple rule of thumb is to drink 16 ounces of water for every pound of sweat you lose.

hydration during climbing and trail runningHigh altitude. There are decreased oxygen levels in the atmosphere at high altitude and therefore athletes gravitate to working out there for the benefits of improving their fitness. Your body acclimates instinctively when you go up to high altitude by speeding up breathing and increasing urine output. These are both necessary changes for your body to make in order to adjust to the elevation gain. Going to the bathroom and breathing harder – which forces you to exhale more water vapor – both cause dehydration.

Sleep. Sleep is an important element of human survival. Our brains are designed in a way that requires them to receive rest so they can process and store thoughts from the previous day. When you sleep, your body doesn’t receive any water. Going 6+ hours without any form of hydration causes dehydration. This is why you may wake up feeling parched in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. Your body loses carbon and water with every breath you take while you are asleep.

Stress. Stress is something that we all deal with, and some manage it better than others. Surprisingly enough, keeping stress in check is important in order to maintain a healthy balance of hydration in our system. When you stress your body releases a stress hormone from your adrenal gland, which can exhaust the gland and result in adrenal insufficiency. The problem is that your adrenal gland is also responsible for regulating the level of your body’s fluids and electrolytes with the production of the aldosterone hormone. When the adrenal gland becomes fatigued, it fails to produce aldosterone, which leads to dehydration.

Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier

So what can you do to stay hydrated out on the trail besides just downing more water?

Drink something with an optimal ratio of electrolytes, glucose, and water that your body can absorb quickly and efficiently. The key to hydration is uptake, not intake.

Stay away from traditional sports drinks, which contain too much sugar and not enough electrolytes. Liquid I.V.’s Hydration Multiplier contains 3x the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks with less than ½ the sugar and calories. The great-tasting electrolyte drink mix utilizes the breakthrough science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT), a precise ratio of sodium, potassium, and glucose, to deliver hydration to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone. Drinking 1 Liquid I.V. can result in the same hydration as drinking 2-3 bottles of water. Plus it contains B vitamins, which help your body quickly break down carbohydrates and turn them into fuel.

Look for Liquid I.V. in your August Trailfoody bag!

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Drink Mix Review: Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder

Ultima hydration mix

Looking to mix adventure with some serious flavor? Try Ultima’s new Cherry Pomegranate Electrolyte Powder during your next water break!

With bold hints of cherry, citrus, and pomegranate, this unique mix blends tangy and sweet to create a refreshing flavor that’s worth taking a break for. We simply couldn’t resist stopping for a few sips while out on the trail.

“Most importantly, though, this incredibly clean drink mix contains no high fructose corn syrup!”

Each of Ultima’s mixes contain the perfect blend of all six electrolytes and have zero calories, carbs, or sugars. They’re also non-GMO, gluten free, and contain no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Most importantly, though, this incredibly clean drink mix contains no high fructose corn syrup! It’s sweetened naturally with Stevia leaf instead of sugar.

On the Go Hydration

Simply add one packet to 16 fluid ounces of water depending on your taste preference, shake well, and enjoy! We were impressed with how quickly Ultima’s mix dissolved, providing a flavorful drink that was easy and ready to go!

We recommend trying your first sip today!

Ultima’s Cherry Pomegranate Electrolyte Powder is featured in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

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Top 5 Essential Foods for Any Outdoor Adventure

Everyone knows that a day’s journey out in the wild requires the proper sustenance to keep you on the move, but many often wonder which food items, exactly, are essential to have on hand.

While choosing the right food is key, it’s also important to have a variety of snack items that can be eaten separately in small amounts to provide you with a constant flow of energy.

So, we’ve put together a list of the top five must-have food items that will work best to fuel your next adventure!

KIND energy bar

1. Energy Bars – Energy bars contain the complex carbs necessary for quick bursts of energy. They work to keep you going and are perfect for recharging your body. When eaten within 30 minutes of finishing a day’s physical activity, these complex carbs even work to restore the energy necessary for the following day’s adventure.

Conundrum Trail Mix

2. Nut Mixes/Trail Mixes – Nut and trail mixes are full of dense energy that usually provide both a little fat and protein, which combine to provide long term, endurance energy.

3. Jerky – Jerky primarily provides protein, which works to repair and build muscle tissue. Since protein is largely for muscle repair, only a small percentage of calories from this source is necessary.

Mestrength electrolyte drink

4. Electrolyte Hydration Mixes – Electrolyte hydration mixes work to replenish the electrical energy necessary for many bodily functions, including muscle contractions. They largely prevent cramping and are meant to optimize performance.

5. Dried Fruit – Dried fruits are high in fiber and contain a significant amount of calories per serving. The fiber works to help your digestive system run smoothly while the calories provide a natural source of quick energy for those who need it.

Having the right variety of trailfoods can mean the difference between feeling energized and drained.

Trailfoody makes it easy to fuel up with the right food for adventures. It’s the 93-octane gas your uncle Jim insisted on putting into his Outback, only, this fuel has some serious foody flare.

Learn more about how you can sign up for Trailfoody and get new trailfoods shipped to your door each month, in a stuff sack, ready to go–making it a cinch to get out there and explore.