Sweat Drenching Days & #SummerHydration Drinks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerHydration #CollectiveBias

thefitfork.com trail runCentral Texas summers are brutal and I know it’s just as hot (if not more so) in other parts of the country —  so I’m not complaining. But, keeping me and my family hydrated sometimes seems like a full-time job, given the active, on-the-go lifestyle we lead.  From traipsing off to an all-day lacrosse tournament then logging a long run on the trails to killing a CrossFit workout in a gym without air-conditioning followed by “playtime” at the pool, it’s easy to see why I’m constantly running the risk for dehydration.

cvs hydraton drinks on grillHeck, it’s easy to go into sweat overload just running errands to get ready for our annual backyard BBQ this weekend. I am so thankful for all the CVS stores on my route that are open and ready to top off my tank with a cool, refreshing drink – and with so many hydration options, it’s easy to find something that suits my lifestyle (and I always bring home something for the kids)! Discover the hydration option you might like best by answering a few questions in my 20-second #SummerHydration Helper.

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In a normal 24-hour period (not even hot, sweaty, fitness-filled days), the average person loses 8 cups of water – and, again, this doesn’t even include exercise or sitting out in the sun.  If this water isn’t replaced, the heart has to work harder and other organ functions begin to deteriorate as well. Symptoms of being dehydrated include headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting.  Dry mouth, chills and flushed skin are other clues.  I also tend to get quite cranky leading up to dehydration and, oddly enough, the skin on my inner forearm gets wrinkly.

I have two quick little self-checks for dehydration. First, I check the color of my tinkle – if it’s dark or even moderately yellow, I know I need to drink more fluid – if it’s pale or clear, I’m good! Also, I pinch the skin on the back of my hand and pull it upwards. Once released, the skin should snap back rapidly – if not, I know I may be dehydrated. Quick — I pull off the road and run into CVS to cool off and top off my “tank” with a hydration beverage!

I like ALL THE BEVERAGES for #SummerHydration

I like ALL THE BEVERAGES for #SummerHydration

Some experts say drink 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water per day, others say drink an ounce per pound of body weight – that’s probably a good goal in the summer months.

These are just benchmarks, you may need more or less liquid – however, the main point is to listen to your body and look for any clue that you may be dehydrating.  Better yet, be proactive and stay hydrated in the first place.

cvs hydration bucket of drinksCVS Health and The Coca-Cola Company have teamed to help us all attain our quest for wellness with an important campaign called “Life Quenching.”  Check out “Life Quenching” to learn more about the dangers of dehydration and the benefits of hydration.

Lots of hydration options at CVS from The Coca Cola Company.

Lots of hydration options at CVS from The Coca Cola Company.

And remember, with a CVS on nearly every city street corner (it seems!), it’s easy to make a quick stop to grab the hydration option that best fits your needs and personality.Just head in the front door and make a beeline past the cash registers to the big refrigerated section along the wall bearing a huge sign “BEVERAGES” overhead — you can’t miss it!

Find your hydration option at CVS in the refrigerated beverage section!

Find your hydration option at CVS in the refrigerated beverage section!

Remember, sometimes waiting until you get home to rehydrate is too long! Be proactive, beat the heat, stay hydrated! Also, don’t miss the great deal right now going on at CVS – Spend $5 on these products, get $2 in ExtraBucks rewards in-store with your CVS ExtraCare Rewards Card.  It’s a fantastic hydration deal, I totally loaded up at my last stop!

So, what do you do to stay hydrated? What is your #SummerHydration beverage of choice? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer



Hydration For Healthy, Happy Athletes – 50 Shades of Pee

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and DripDrop®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DrinkDripDrop #DripDropHydrates http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Hydrating with Drip DropKeeping my family hydrated sometimes seems like a full-time job, especially in the unrelenting summers of Central Texas when the heat and humidity never let up.  It’s easier to tell that I need to top off my tank when it’s 95 degrees, I’m drenched in sweat and my socks have become sponges.  My running friend and I regularly weigh ourselves before we head out on a run (holding the bottle of water we plan to drink) and then again once we return (holding the empty bottle). The difference between the two weight checks is how much additional fluid was lost and serves as a gauge for how much to drink afterward.

Stopping to refuel with Drip Drop Hydration at mile 18 of a marathon.

Stopping to refuel with Drip Drop Hydration at mile 18 of a marathon.

But in the cooler months, staying hydrated is often harder for me.  That sounds counter intuitative, but it’s true. Even though I don’t perspire at as high of a rate, I’m still sweating . . . . and my brain indicators for thirst are turned off because I get cold very easily.  And, if the weather is really cold, sweat can form into vapor before it even has a chance to settle on the skin. One of my worst dehydration experiences was during a marathon in the pouring rain and temperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s.  Boy, I learned a lesson there.

Just on normal days, the average person loses about 8 cups of water — and this doesn’t include the extra needed if you are exercising.  If water isn’t replaced, your heart has to work harder and other organ functions deteriorate as well. Symptoms of being dehydrated include headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting.  Dry mouth, chills and flushed skin are other clues.

50 Shades of Pee - Urine Hydration Check - TheFitFork.com

One way to check if you are in a state of dehydration is to pinch the skin on the top of your hand and pull it up a bit. If it doesn’t return quickly to its normal flat state, you could be dehydrated. However, I think a quick peek in the pot is a more reliable way to gauge hydration levels – is your urine pale and clear (good) or dark and murky (bad). I put together this “Fifty Shades of Pee” chart to help you decipher whether you are in danger of dehydration. Tape it next to the toilet paper roll – ha!

One product I’ve been using to keep myself hydrated during long runs and races is DripDrop® Hydration Powder. It’s a safe, medical-grade hydration product you can buy at your local CVS on the baby aisle. Available in Lemon Flavor or Berry Flavor, DripDrop® Hydration Powder comes with 8 individually packaged servings per box. It’s really easy to stash a couple in a gym bag (or even folded over in a running shorts key pocket) to mix into a plain bottle of water when the need to refuel arises. You can read more about the product and the science behind it here.

It’s perfect for taking along to kid’s sporting activities, too. The American Pediatric Association advises that children should be replenishing fluids every 20 minutes during sports — 5 to 9 ounces of a sports drink, depending on weight (5 for a child weighing 88 pounds, 9 ounces for a child weighing 132 pounds). This is in addition to drinking water before and after practice, too.

Drip Drop Hydration for Lacrosse Practice

Drip Drop Hydration for Lacrosse Practice

DripDrop® Hydration Powder is an easy and cost-effective way to stay hydrated when the flu or stomach bug hits –  my kids like the way it tastes and the product is safe for children over age 1.  I hope your family escapes illness this winter (we all had the flu at Christmas, ugh) – but if you do get sick, head over to the baby aisle at CVS drug store for some DripDrop® Hydration Powder. And, don’t forget to monitor your 50 shades of pee.

drip drop hydration at CVS

Save $1.00 off with the purchase of any ONE (1) box of DripDrop Hydration Powder with  DIGITAL COUPON available 1/25/15 – 2/21/15. Get your print at home coupon here while supplies last –


Shaking it Up! Salt Strategy for Humid & Hot Marathons

Hanging on despite weather for 14th female, 1st in AG.

I love hot weather; people think I’m weird that I’d prefer to be in 100 degrees rather than an allegedly comfortable 70 degrees. Even during Texas summers, I’ve been known to keep the air-conditioner set at 82-ish degrees and will sometimes sneak away like a lizard to go warm up in a sun-baked car.  But, for the record, I do not like to run races in high heat – let me repeat, I DO NOT LIKE THAT, no sir-ee!

But why does Mother Nature like to mess with me? I ask for crisp, cool and dry race weather (is pleading for 50 degrees every time too pushy?) and I get quite the opposite. This year alone, I ran the Boston Marathon at 90 degrees with straight up sun and both the Rock and Roll San Antonio and the Dallas Marathon in unseasonably warm and extremely humid conditions.

If you’re a runner, you probably know what happens if you sweat a lot in a race, especially in a longer events like a marathons or ultras. You get dehydrated, experience debilitating muscle cramps, and some athletes are even subject to hyponatremia (low blood sodium) which presents with confusion, lethargy, vomiting and other serious complications.  Just look in the mirror after a long, hot run; you can actually see the sodium crusted up on your face and clothing.

People have different amounts of sodium in their sweat, but the average runner loses about 1000 milligrams of sodium per liter (33 fluid ounces) of sweat. That being said, the majority of electrolyte replacement drinks only offer about a quarter to half of this amount per liter as a replacement. That means most people are sweating out more salt that they are taking back in. That’s why it’s a good idea to supplement with additional sodium and electrolytes above and beyond your drink, especially if you are a heavy sweater or the weather is especially extreme.  An article in Runner’s World, “Know Thy Sweat Rate” takes you through all the steps to accurately figure out how much you perspire during exercise.

Experts suggest taking two to four salt-electrolyte capsules per hour during endurance events. At the Dallas Marathon, I used the Salt Stick brand and it worked well, but there are many other options. Look for products that contain sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium.  I rationed out my capsules by taking one every 30 minutes and washing it down with my bottle if I still had one in hand or a splash of water at the hydration stops.

In addition to slowing dehydration and cramping, research also shows that sodium helps move fluids out of the stomach to enhance digestion, a plus if you have digestive problems. To me the perk about taking in the salt stick was that I didn’t have to drink as much Gatorade on the course – too much sugary sports drink seems to give me GI distress.  I did take in one bottle of Gatorade, but then my other bottle was filled with 3Fuel, a great product backed by CrossFit Endurance that fuels athletes with a proven micronutrient strategy of carbs, protein, and fat.  By the way, if you’re interested in trying the 3Fuel, you can get 10-percent off your purchase with the code 3FHUNT  .

Another interesting nutritional choice I made for the Dallas Marathon; instead of eating my traditional energy bar breakfast, I ate salty peanut butter crackers instead (again, more salt and less sugar).  No cramping, no potty stops – I was a happy runner who made it to the finish line without bonking!


Marathon Taper Week: What to Eat and Drink

I’ve put in (most) of the mileage, knocked out the speed workouts and juggled my already-crazy life around marathon training; why does it still seem so hard to taper?  I’m not talking about the kind of “hard” that other runners complain about, those A-types who miss the daily pavement pounding and the quantitative atta-boys doled out by stopwatches and training logs. Personally, I sort of like the fewer and more leisurely-run miles gifted to me during the tapering period before a marathon.  Ahhhh.

But, I start to freak out about food; perhaps “obsess” is a better description.  Normally, I’m really not much of a diet worry-wart. I typically eat with my health in mind, but don’t have a problem splurging when the opportunity presents. But, between the fear of bonking (again), the panic of finding an on-course port-a-let due to GI distress (again), or the dread gaining enough weight in one week that I can’t fit into my cute racing shorts (hasn’t happened yet, but who knows), all I can think about this week is what I should be eating and drinking. Although I’ve run plenty of marathons over the last 20 years and should know every trick of the trade (but always forget), I pulled together this list of tips to remind myself how to be as prepared as possible with my nutrition for the week leading up the marathon.

Match calorie input with energy output. Since most training plans have runners reducing mileage 30-50 percent during the last two weeks, calorie intake should be tweaked down as well to avoid real weight gain (however you will temporarily gain some water weight as I mention below). For me, this is only about 250 fewer calories a day in the last week, and is as easy as cutting out my bedtime snack. However, remember that the taper period is not the time to restrict calories with weight-loss in mind; you need to rebuild muscle fibers and top off your glycogen tanks. So, if your body is legitimately saying it’s hungry, eat!

Don’t be a slave to the scale. If you are eating a nutritiously-sound diet and have cut out most of your now-unnecessary refueling snacks, you are not going to pile on the pounds.  That being said, you may actually gain two to four pounds of water weight during the tapering process just by “carbo-loading.”  For ever one ounce of glucose put into reserves, your body stores another three ounces of water.  So a diet a little heavy in carbs the week before, is going to make you retain water – a good thing to prevent dehydration and bonking on the course.

Make clean carb choices.  An unhealthy, high-carb diet includes empty calories found in sugary, processed foods such as candy, cookies and pastries. The simple carbs found in these snack food spike blood sugar in a crash-and-burn manner unlike the longer-lasting energy found in complex carbohydrates (foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy or soy products). Plus, often too many of the simple carbs are also paired with high-calorie fat, sabotaging your ability to efficiently “carbo-load” while still getting enough protein.

Eat your meat (or alternative protein). Just because the food focus during taper week is on complex-carbohydrates and increasing glycogen stores, the importance of lean protein should not be overlooked. Protein has essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that aid in the building and recovery of muscle tissue. Also, many protein choices, such as lean beef, are loaded B vitamins which help efficiently convert those carbohydrates I’ve been talking about into the fuel needed to make it through the marathon. Don’t know how much protein to eat? The average adult requires 0 .8 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight per day, equating to about 55 grams for a 150-pound person. Runners and other endurance athletes should aim for approximately 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram (2.2 lbs), or 82 to 95 grams for a 150-pound person.

Time to hydrate. Taking in enough fluids before the marathon is vital and will help you keep from becoming dehydrated on the course (although, you’ll still have to take in fluid during the actual race). Don’t let cold or overcast weather trick you into thinking you don’t need to drink; I once became severely dehydrated in 35-degrees and pouring down rain. Water is a great choice for hydration, or the sports drink of your choice.  This is not the time to experiment with your beverages, stick to the tried-and-true sports drink used during training runs. Experts warn about over-hydrating (hyponatremia) which can throw off your electrolyte balance and put your life in jeopardy; listen to your body and don’t force water, if you’re not thirsty.  To get a benchmark on your level of hydration, check out this “pee chart” below which shows you the optimal range of urination colors.

Forty-eight hours and counting.  Two days out from the marathon, I suggest continuing the complex-carb and protein diet, but reduce the amount of fiber being consumed. You don’t want stuff moving through you too fast, if you know what I mean. The day before the marathon, consider eating your largest meal at lunch, not dinner. This gives you more time to digest the food, leaving you nourished but not weighed down in the morning. Continue to hydrate, but avoid alcoholic beverages and too much caffeine which could both leave you dehydrated. Also, if you are a “sweater” or the weather is warm, drink your preferred electrolyte beverage and/or salt your food more than usual.