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Hydrating Enough?

Cielo Acosta - Vitalyte Brand Ambassador

I am passionate about hydration, that's the best way to describe it.  I spent 8 1/2 years as a Seattle bike messenger before I was a runner and a firefighter which accustomed me to what I think of as my steam engine metabolism. I need a near constant intake of water along with quality foods, primarily heathy carbs or I become tired and run down. I feel I have to be constantly throwing fuel into my fire otherwise my body grinds to a halt, however if I am hydrating and eating well I can expect high extended performance which is what I aim for. I like my fluids, I need my fluids, I am sensitive to my body's need to be adequately hydrated and water is my beverage of choice. Unfortunately water isn't always enough.

It disturbs me to hear studies say up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated but I believe it. I see an increase in coffee consumption and soda consumption both of which can be dehydrating. People believe since they are drinking fluids they must be hydrating themselves when really it is the opposite. I've talked to people who seldom drink water at all. The human body is about 60% water. What happens when you aren't meeting your hydration needs? A host of problems. Our bodies need water to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients, in addition it detoxifies the liver and kidneys. Lack of water can contribute to an array of medical issues, like fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, kidney disease and so on.

The commonly used recommendation of 8 8oz glasses doesn't hold true for everyone but it is a good place to start. Everybody has different activity levels, sizes and shapes which influence hydration needs. Keeping track of your intake for a week can be a good start. Sometimes people think they are drinking more than they actually are so keeping a hydration diary can be great for obtaining an awareness of where you are.

I am constantly evaluating and reassessing my hydration needs. I was thrilled to be selected as a brand ambassador for Vitalyte, a company that produces sports nutrition products with ingredients more natural than what you find in other company's products. I appreciate the lack of artificial coloring and corn syrup and it works. When I compete and work I do so most often in my fire gear. The gear adds 50 pounds and is very insulating. I loose a lot of water through sweat when wearing my gear due to activity and heat stress. I need more than water to keep hydrated and balanced. That's why when I was first introduced to Vitalyte's electrolyte replacement powder I jumped on it. It can easily be added to hydration packs and water bottles and is quickly absorbed. I did a marathon last year in full fire gear with SCBA pack and suffered from mild hyponatremia which is a sodium imbalance, I was drinking mostly water and not enough electrolytes, it was a very uncomfortable and scary experience and took a couple days in bed and lots of pediatric electrolyte replacement beverage to get my system back in balance. I realized then I couldn't drink plain water in my gear events. Now I pack my bottles and hydration pack with Vitalyte, the last marathon in my gear I felt great.

Today I did the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb, a fundraising event for Leukemia and Lymphoma, I climbed 69 floors of stairs in full fire gear on air from my SCBA in 18:59. I not only lost water through sweat but through respiration. I drank about 34 oz of water with Vitalyte electrolyte replacement powder and 17 oz of water with the Tri-phase enduarance before my climb. I notice a reduction in muscular fatigue when I use Vitalyte products and I feel hydrated, I don't get the water panic I used to get when I was drinking just water because my body is getting the electrolytes it needs.

Hydration can be a tricky thing to figure out because it is so individual but for me Vitalyte's products make it easier and keep me healthier so I can do the things I want to do.

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