Calling all Sweaty Betty’s

Posted on September 21, 2013

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sweatIn the past, I always considered myself a bit of a camel when it came to drinking during training and races. Perhaps that’s come from living in the desert for so long. Being a self-confessed purist, who turns her back on any formal training programmes or data analysis … and someone who’s only really now starting to experiment with race foods … I figured I could just get by, drinking water when thirsty, plus the odd electrolyte, when I remembered (read: not often). In fact, I often forgot to drink full stop and have various running friends who would constantly cajole me, force feeding me like a mother, her child.

That all changed though this past July, when during the Dodo Trail in Mauritius, I suffered unbelievable cramps. I don’t think I’d ever had cramps in the past and the sensation in my legs was awful. The diva in me thought I was having some sort of seizure and would require a helicopter evacuation but alas, after spending an hour covering one kilometre, and thereafter being rescued by my Dodo knight in shining armour, it turned out I was “just” hyponatremic, which is basically caused by an electrolyte disturbance. (Hyponatremia fyi, should never be taken lightly. It is dangerous and can be deadly) Contrary to my usual drinking habits, I had drunk so much water on this race … without taking in any electrolytes … leaving my body totally overhydrated but lacking in acceptable sodium levels.

So when a mutual friend introduced me to Om Life, it was music to my ears. The company specialises in wellness and fitness equipment with various cool products. The two that most piqued my interest are the oxygen chamber, to enhance and speed up post training recovery, and the sweat test, which I trialled yesterday.

The H2Pro Sweat Test does just what its namesake implies … it monitors your sweat sodium levels and then produces an individualised report that advises how best you should hydrate your own body. Considering we spend so much time trying out different nutritional options, deliberating which shoes to wear (admittedly, my choice tends to boil down to colour co-ord) and experimenting with endless running accessories, it follows suit that we should lend the same amount of time and consideration to our hydration strategy.

The test involves no effort whatsoever. You just sit and talk  … incessantly, as I did, bombarding Om Life owner, Steve, with a volume of questions that only a journalist could get away with … and half an hour later it’s done. You then answer a series of questions relating to your chosen sport(s) such as your volume and training conditions etc and then hey presto, your bespoke report is ready, accessed online via your unique log in details. H2Pro has four different electrolyte drink solutions, which cater for all whatever your readings, from the scant sweaters at one end to the sweaty betty’s at the other.

Ultimately, what this means is that you can get your hydration strategy right. You can put an end to endless trial and error and ascertain, scientifically, what your body needs. And then? You’ll run faster, higher, longer … or improve your performance in whatever sport floats your boat. This applies equally to sporting virgins, weekend warriors and all out pros.

The science behind this stuff is all a bit, well scientific for my creative brain. In fact, I did some research on the internet afterwards and promptly found my mind wandering off into Tori-world, but it didn’t take much rooting around to see that it’s a pretty cool test, endorsed and used by national teams and plenty of sports guys and gals at the top of their game. So, if it’s good enough for them …

For those who want to get more clued up, the H2Pro website has stacks of info. Better still, get in touch with Om Life and arrange a test for yourself.

I left Steve with a stack of electrolyte tabs and look forward to trying them out. Perhaps tomorrow, when I hit the desert sands …

Details: Om Life /  Steve Cronin / www.omlifeme.com / 04 368 0994

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