Electrolytes | the complete guide

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With the hot summer season upon us and the high humidity that we have here in Kansas I have posted a lot about electrolytes and the ones that I use on Instagram from Idealfit . They are my favorite and they taste like lemonade. Anyhow, a little off the point here.

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, bicarbonate, and sulfate. Sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium are the four major electrolytes that maintain the body’s fluid balance.

Keeping balanced electrolytes is necessary for your digestive, cardiac, muscular and nervous systems to function well.

Electrolytes are important because they are what your cells (especially nerve, heart, muscle) use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells.

Why is balance important for runners?

With an imbalance of electrolytes you can potentially compromise the performance of your next run. With imbalance comes the possibility of muscle cramps, increased fatigue, stomach cramps, and side stitches as well.

Signs of Electrolyte Imbalance

Cramps during exercise are one sign that you may need more electrolytes. Along with cramping, some other symptoms of an imbalance can include:

  1. Headaches
  2. Fever
  3. Changes in Blood Pressure
  4. Changes in Appetite
  5. Fatigue
  6. Anxiety
  7. Restlessness
  8. Inability to Focus
  9. Muscle Aches, Spasms, Twitches
  10. Cramps, Constipation, Diarrhea

When to use electrolytes

First if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms that is a pretty good sign that you need to replenish.

For longer runs and in many cases even shorter runs where it is really humid and hot out it is always a good idea to supplement your water with some electrolytes as well.

My recommendation for long runs and then during my half marathons is I switch between the two. At one aid station I’ll take water and the next I will go with the sports drink! Just my methodology here!

Electrolytes, the complete guide. Curious about what electrolytes are and why we need them as runners?



  1. Sodium—260 mg
  2. Potassium—180 mg
  3. Magnesium—18 mg
  4. Calcium—10 mg
  5. Chloride—151 mg


Vitamin D3: Aids in the absorption of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It is also important in bone formation, muscle recovery and exercise-induced inflammation.

Vitamin B6: Aids in the absorption of potassium and magnesium.

Vitamin C: Works as an antioxidant and assists in the formation of collagen to aid in joint health and stability in the body.


Coconut Water Powder has been shown to increase hydration during and after exercise.

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