The Levelen Heat Sport Sciences group is based in West Chester, PA. The company is great to work with, both from the sports nutritionist’s point-of-view, and from an athlete’s perspective as well. Adjusting electrolytes based on sweat testing is a game changer for sure whether you are a runner, cyclist, endurance sport athlete or triathlete.
What’s the sweat rate test experience like? Well, they send you a kit, and you tape a gauze pad to your forearm. You then weigh yourself before exercising for the recommended 60 minute baseline, and track the amount of fluids you take in for the time of your test. After the exercise and another weighing, the gauze is mailed back to Levelen.
It is recommended to use 60 minutes as the baseline for this test – you can do less like 30 or 45 minutes, but longer is not necessary and will actually skew the results, according to Levelen. You can do one test for the bike or the run, or you can order the tri kit, where you can do a test for each for less than the price of two kits. It is important to test for multiple sports if you are a multisport athlete: Using these tests I found out that I sweat 600 mg per hour on the bike, but twice that rate on the run.
So what do you get in terms of results? Within a week after sending Levelen your sweaty gauze pad in a tiny sealed vial, you get, via email, a report of how much sodium, potassium and other electrolytes you sweat out per hour. You also get your sweat rate, which will change based on heat and humidity.
I spent five hours with Levelen to understand all the numbers after my test. You will most likely be reading in absolute bewilderment … but it is really not that hard. I have created a spreadsheet that provides a very useful reference page so you’ll know what to do for every hour of training or racing, and I can help you optimize that with appropriate electrolyte products.
I have used this test with my clients for two years now. I have been able to help cyclists, runners, ultra runners and triathletes adjust and optimize their electrolyte intakes before, during and after a race. And maintaining the right levels day to day is especially important. For endurance athletes who are maintaining back-to-back training days, knowing the amount of electrolytes you sweat per hour allows for optimum performance … and repeat optimum performances.
For several years, I had ‘guestimated’ what people’s needs were for electrolyte replacement, based on symptoms and trial-and-error. This testing takes the guess work right out of the equation, and also helps the athlete and the coach understand how important it is to replenish 70% of what is lost per hour. It also helps the client to know what they actually need based on their actual numbers. When it’s in writing, the plan sticks better.
I just had an athlete complete the ultra endurance RAAM cycling event with a sodium loss of 3800 mg per hour. Although it was a bit of a challenge at first to adjust to the higher intake of electrolytes, the science worked. For the first time in over a dozen years of competing in ultra endurance sports events, the client did not feel that they were running on ‘emptier than empty,’ post event. For sure the athlete was tired after 15 or more days of riding 20 or more hours each day, but they weren’t depleted.
I had an ultra marathoner last year wanting to give up anything longer than a marathon until we did the testing. His fatigue was not just nutrition related, but also resulting from dehydration. With the help of the Levelen sweat testing, we optimized his nutrition and electrolyte protocol. A month later, he finished a 50-miler, placed in his age group and renewed his enthusiasm for a 100-mile ultra. This was all possible because we adjusted his electrolytes based on the sweat testing.
If you are having challenges with cramping, GI distress, and other signs of dehydration, I would suggest ordering your sweat test kit from www.levelen.com. Use code NIM to get a discount and my personal assistance after your results are in.
This is a game changer for me and most of my athletes, and it might be for you, too.
Joanna K Chodorowska, BA, NC, TPTH is a holistic sports nutrition coach and multidimensional healer helping you find balance and whole body health using real foods, Path To Heal energy work and essential oils.
Joanna provides her clients with realistic, real foods, movement therapy and stress management options that fit into their busy lives. Joanna helps clients find the way to self-love, self-acceptance and a life of joy honoring their needs, body, mind and soul. Nutrition for body, mind, spirit, and sport. For more information, please visit www.nutrition-in-motion.net.