GU Electrolyte Tab Review
To all my running friends and the girls I coach, I have been preaching about electrolytes all summer long - especially this summer... one of the hottest ever in Texas. We're on 35 days straight of 100+ degree temperatures with no end in sight (at least per the 10 day forecast). Going after the record of 42 straight days in 1980.
First, I'm going to share from an article by Emma Williams on Active.com. She explains what electrolytes are...
Electrolytes are minerals that, when dissolved in water, break into small, electrically charged particles called ions. Present wherever there's water in your body (think blood, cells and cell surroundings), electrolytes regulate your body's fluids, helping to maintain a healthy blood pH balance, and creating the electrical impulses essential to all aspects of physical activity -- from basic cell function to complex neuromuscular interactions needed for athletic performance.
And let's not forget, electrolytes aren't just salt - they also include calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphate. But the bottom line is although we probably consume enough electrolytes for a good balance for day-to-day activities - when you add endurance training into the mix, they get depleted and need to be replaced.
So the question becomes, how do you do that? Sports drink is the obvious choice. We all see it on the course - Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, etc. I know a lot of people can't stomach sports drinks while running, and frankly Cytomax falls into that category for me. Here's the other thing, for those of us that like to watch our calorie intake, we don't want to be guzzling sports drinks all the time, necessarily.
Two things, for me personally, brought about the need for something else:
1. Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon, where the only sports drink offered was Cytomax, which I cannot stomach at all.
2. Long, hot runs in Texas heat with only one handheld water bottle (thus the inability to carry both water AND sports drink... and I know I can't stomach guzzling straight gatorade the whole time).
In steps GU Electrolyte Tabs to save the day... I had a tube of the lemon-lime flavor to try.
I didn't want to go into San Diego cold-turkey, so I started trying them out beforehand.
300 mg sodium
45 mg potassium
12 tabs per tube
Before a long run at White Rock Lake, I popped one into my water bottle. The taste was good, especially when the water was really cold. It was so-so when the water got warmer, but still more than good enough to drink. It was easy on the stomach, I had no trouble drinking it the whole time. Bonus, when I went to refill my water bottle, all I had to do was pop a little tab out that I stuck in the tiny outer pocket of my handheld, dump it in, and refill my bottle like normal... no need to stop back at my car and grab an oversized sports drink container. Score.
After a few trials, I was ready to put it to the ultimate marathon test.
Cytomax killed my stomach at Rock n Roll Dallas, and I was not about to have that happen here. So off I went with my GU Electrolyte Tabs. Despite my marathon highs and lows, I ended that marathon feeling good. I never felt dehydrated. I wasn't covered in salt afterwards. No cramping, no headaches (all issues in my last marathon). I honestly think I have these GU tablets to thank for making it through this marathon properly hydrated.
They offer three flavors - orange, lemon-lime, and peach tea.
I have since been continuing to use the tabs in the Texas heat and they've worked like a charm. I've purchased more and those are now all gone too. Boo. I'm finally out and the last couple weeks have just been doing half and half with Gatorade and the icky feeling and stomach cramps are back. Double Boo. I'll be heading to get more of these...
Stay hydrated folks, it's hot out there!!!