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Electrolyte Supplements: Are They Worth Their Salt?

MAY 2024

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I have ONE time each year to use that...I have now laughed and can move on.


Happy May!


To think, 5 months into 2024...summer is around the corner already, WOW!


What are some of your summer fitness goals? Does it involve being more consistent in your workouts, creating healthier eating and drinking habits, OR getting outside in the sun daily?


What if I told you you could reach AND maintain a healthy mix of all the above?


We've been there too, believe us! Let's all kickstart some healthy habits together and crush it out there.


Sit back and enjoy having some fun reading the content below!

Mike's Monthly Message

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Electrolyte Supplements: Are They Worth Their Salt?

By: Mike Campanella


In recent years, the supplement industry has seen a significant surge in the popularity of electrolytes and electrolyte drinks. This rise prompts a critical examination of their benefits, potential drawbacks, and overall utility. The question of whether these supplements are genuinely beneficial, or if they might be causing more harm than good is complex, with the answer often boiling down to, “it depends”. 


Before we get started, let’s just quickly verify what we are talking about.


Understanding the Essential Electrolytes


Sodium: Vital for fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle function, sodium is crucial for maintaining cellular integrity and bodily fluid balance.


Potassium: This electrolyte is key for cardiovascular health, muscle function, and nervous system stability, with adequate intake linked to reduced blood pressure and stroke risk. Appropriate potassium intake has been shown to reduce the potential negative side effects of diets high in sodium.


Magnesium: Involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions, magnesium’s role in muscle and nerve function, and heartbeat regulation, is indispensable for metabolic health.


Calcium: Essential not just for bone health, calcium also plays a critical role in vascular function, muscle action, nerve transmission, and intracellular signaling.

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Dietary Sources of Electrolytes


Electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, are found in abundance across a variety of foods, making a well-rounded diet key to maintaining optimal levels.


Sodium: Beyond table salt, sodium is present in celery, beets, and milk. It’s also present in significant amounts in bread & processed foods.


Potassium: Fruits like bananas, oranges, and apricots are rich in potassium, as are vegetables such as potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes. Legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy products also contribute to potassium intake.


Magnesium: Leafy green vegetables (e.g., spinach and Swiss chard), nuts (especially almonds and cashews), seeds (like pumpkin seeds), and whole grains are excellent sources of magnesium. Fish and dark chocolate also contain notable amounts.


Calcium: Dairy products are well-known calcium sources, but this essential mineral is also found in leafy green vegetables, fortified plant milk, almonds, and certain fish (sardines and salmon with bones).

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Factors Influencing Electrolyte Balance


Modern lifestyle choices can significantly contribute to electrolyte imbalances:


Caffeine & Alcohol Consumption: Frequent consumption of alcohol and caffeine, both diuretics, predictably increases diuresis (urine production), accelerating the loss of fluids and electrolytes, including sodium and potassium.


Sleep Deprivation & Chronic Stress: Sleep deprivation and chronic stress can have a profound impact on the body’s hormonal balance and metabolic processes, which in turn can affect electrolyte balance. Lack of sleep, and stress, can lead to increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can influence fluid and electrolyte balance by affecting kidney function. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lead to alterations in aldosterone and antidiuretic hormone (ADH) levels, which play critical roles in regulating sodium and water retention in the body.


Low-Carb or Ketogenic Diets: Low-carb diets, which also increase diuresis, will inevitably increase the excretion of sodium and water. Diets lacking in fruits and vegetables, in general, might not provide adequate electrolyte consumption, either. Additionally, fasting and low-carb/keto diets can lead to a decrease in insulin production. Lower insulin levels cause the kidneys to excrete more sodium, which can lead to a reduction in sodium levels in the blood.


Prolonged Fasting: Fasting potentially shifts the body’s main energy source from glucose to ketones, affecting electrolyte management, particularly sodium and potassium levels. This metabolic change can lead to increased urine production and potential dehydration, emphasizing the importance of managing sodium and potassium intake during fasting. Additionally, low glycogen levels can also increase diuresis and the loss of electrolytes.


Intense or Prolonged Physical Activity: Sweat contains electrolytes, including significant amounts of sodium and smaller amounts of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Replenishing these lost electrolytes can be beneficial for maintaining performance and preventing cramps or other electrolyte imbalance symptoms.

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Who Could Benefit from Electrolyte Supplementation?


If you fall into 3 or more of these categories, then adding an electrolyte supplement to your regimen might be helpful: 


  • Frequent consumers of caffeine and alcohol
  • Individuals experiencing high stress and/or sleep deprivation
  • People on low-carb or ketogenic diets
  • People who used prolonged fasting periods to reduce calorie consumption
  • Active individuals and athletes
  • Who Might Not Need Electrolyte Supplementation?


Individuals consuming a balanced diet rich in natural electrolyte sources, who maintain adequate hydration, get adequate sleep, and moderate their alcohol and caffeine intake, typically do not need additional electrolyte supplementation.


Sodium: The Main Offender?


Given the average American diet’s high content of processed foods laden with sodium, the general advice has been to reduce sodium intake. While sodium has been made out to be a villain (and sometimes rightfully so), this general advice may have led to an overcorrection, particularly for those with active lifestyles and diets low in processed foods. For an in-depth look at sodium consumption, especially in the absence of adequate potassium, check out Jake Louro’s article on sodium HERE.


Achieving Optimal Electrolyte Balance


Optimizing electrolyte balance involves more than just managing sodium and potassium; it requires a comprehensive approach that includes adequate intake of magnesium and calcium, proper hydration, and consideration of individual lifestyle factors. Personalized strategies are essential for optimizing health and performance.

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Conclusion: Beyond Hydration


Electrolytes play critical roles beyond hydration, affecting cellular health, metabolic processes, and muscle and nerve function. Whether for athletes seeking peak performance or individuals navigating modern dietary challenges, understanding and managing electrolyte intake is a cornerstone of health and well-being. As we continue to explore the intricate interactions between diet, lifestyle, and health, the strategic management of electrolyte intake emerges as a crucial, yet often overlooked, component of optimal wellness.

Reading Time with Louro Training

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The Comprehensive Guide to Collagen Supplementation

By: Jake Louro

In a world where thousands of dollars are spent on age-defying eye creams, botox injections, and peculiar masks emitting magical lights, could a simple protein powder truly make a significant difference? Similarly, in an era where cortisone injections and joint replacements are commonplace, the idea that an over-the-counter protein could substantially impact our health seems far-fetched. Yet, before dismissing the potential of such a solution, it's crucial to delve into what collagen is and understand its critical role in our bodies.


Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, vital for maintaining the structural integrity and functionality of our skin, joints, bones, and more. It ensures these elements remain resilient and efficient. However, our body's collagen production wanes with age, leading to visible aging signs like wrinkles and joint pain, alongside a general decline in bodily function. This decrease has spurred significant interest in collagen supplements, touted as a rejuvenating panacea capable of not only countering visible aging signs but also offering benefits like improved joint health, skin hydration, and elasticity. Amid a market brimming with collagen powders, capsules, creams, and liquids, each claiming to be a youth-restoring elixir, discerning fact from marketing hype becomes crucial...

Want to learn more about:


  • Understanding Collagen and Its Role in the Body
  • Documented Benefits of Collagen Supplementation
  • Practical Considerations for Collagen Supplementation


Click HERE to find out!


Pelvic Floor 101 Workshop Review with Jennifer Hart Fitness and MomLife Health and Wellness

A big “thank you” to those who came out for Jennifer's first collaborative event with MomLife, our Pelvic Floor 101, and Exercise Modifications for the Pregnant or Postpartum Mom! We had a great discussion, covering the basics of pelvic floor anatomy, common anatomical changes (and their symptoms!) to be aware of, and how to continue to exercise safely through all stages of pregnancy and beyond. Stay on the lookout for more women’s health-focused workshops on the future from Jennifer Hart Fitness!

Seminar at SOS

Some of our PEX coaches ventured up to Chelmsford, MA for a fun Saturday seminar with Principles of Program Design (PPD) Live Course focusing on creating the top 1% of trainers. Led by Mike Perry, Owner of Skills of Strength, and Eric D'Agati, our coaches spent the day learning how to enhance their communication skills, collect data appropriately, and effectively program for every client. Thank you for having us, we are looking forward to the next time!

A New Face at PEX Needham Heights

Welcome to PEX, Karen Hurley,

MSPT, CFL1, AIT


For over twenty years, I have been a physical therapy and strength and conditioning specialist. I have always loved fitness and enjoyed being part of the Brown U women's gymnastics team. After college, working out was more individual and it was not until 2019 when I started CrossFit that I realized the power of having a community. As my daughters' say, "Mom you do you and we do us" That motto resonates with me and my CrossFit path. So many athletes are amazing and CrossFit can be intimidating. This has led me to start AIM Therapy which has evolved into Aiming Beyond Limits CrossFit.


Previously I was working as the district physical therapist. After many IEP meetings

recommending to families the same two activities, I realized these students needed the

functional movements that CrossFit trains. That led me to get my CFL1, and then my

Adaptive Inclusive Trainer. I started with one Inclusive CrossFit class and it has slowly

grown.

I use CrossFit with all of my athletes regardless of ability, cognitive, and learning style. Some need assistance to walk however when they have drop seizures, they need to get up. His or her burpee may look different than my burpee, however, we all must get up off the ground when we fall.


I want to be able to offer CrossFit to more athletes including women ages 35-60 focusing on smaller class sizes, and various teaching and communication styles. AIM specializes in kids and teens as well as kids and teens with neurodiversity, physical and visual challenges, and cognitive and intellectual challenges.


AIM includes opportunities to practice socialization and inclusion. With questions of the day, teamwork, partner workouts as well as Inclusive CrossFit classes with peer role

models, AIM provides opportunities for meaningful relationships.


My values are: Accept + Inclusion + Move = Community + Joy


"By approaching everyone from a neuro-affirming lens, Karen sees the strengths in everyone and works with them. She provides extra wait time and time to process instructions as needed She employs multiple communication strategies based on the individual's need

including visual, verbal, gestural, and tactile cues. Karen offers breaks based on the needs

of the individual and slowly decreases the frequency of breaks as tolerated. Karen respects

the sensory needs of the individual. Karen focuses on increasing levels of independence

and truly embraces the individual’s unique strengths and who he or she is."


Physical therapy and fitness sessions are targeted to the specific goals of the individual.

Sessions typically focus on upper and lower body strengthening, endurance, balance, and

coordination by utilizing functional movements including squatting, pushing, and pressing

movements.


Aiming Beyond Limits CrossFit has come out of AIM Therapy, LLC. CrossFit is for everyone

regardless of age, ability, disability, cognition, or learning style, and can use self-directed funds from DDS. Invoices for reimbursement can be provided. Families can submit superbills that are provided for physical therapy to health insurance if one has out-of-network coverage.


Karen@AdaptiveAimTherapy.com

www.AdaptiveAimTherapy.com

781-254-1181

Instagram Aim_Therapy

Facebook Aim Therapy

Seminar at Perform Better in RI

Another group of PEX coaches attended a great 2-day training led by Perform Better in West Warwick, RI at their studio and learned about all things business. Some of the main takeaways from our coaches include:


1) Optimizing lead generation

2) How to successfully systemize

3) Identifying a niche

COME ON IN

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We're Accepting Applications!

PEX is accepting applications! Know of any fitness professionals in the area looking to advance their careers in the fitness industry? Send them our way! They can fill out this form to schedule an interview.

In Conclusion

It's nice outside (finally) - I'm definitely loving this MAY-weather

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Cheers,

KW

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Needham, MA 02492
781-675-2150
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