Athlete Information

Prepared by Alan McCubbin
PhD, Accredited Sports Dietitian (Advanced)

R3hydr8 is proud to partner with Athletics Australia to provide athletes with electrolyte drinks to meet their needs, made in Australia from all-natural ingredients, and HASTA tested for banned substances. No two track and field events are the same, and not all athletes will have the same fuelling and hydration needs.

R3hydr8 provides products formulated by Accredited Sports Dietitians with extensive experience in both research and the practical applications of sports nutrition, for use, before, during and after exercise:

R3HYDR8 – A pure electrolyte hydration drink, for when athletes benefit from optimising their hydration status but have no need for fuelling up with carbohydrate. This low-carb formula has been specifically designed for rapid fluid absorption and maximal retention in the blood. For optimising hydration status prior to exercise, or rapid rehydration without the carbs post-exercise. Provides just 1g carbs, but 130mg sodium per 100mL in a hypotonic drink (osmolarity 163mOsm/L).

Optimising hydration for track and field

The total amount of water in the body is typically 50-60% of body weight. Of this, about two-thirds of the water exists inside the cells of our body, with the remaining third either between the cells or in the bloodstream. Although it only makes up around 7% of total body water, the water that makes up our blood volume is crucial for athletes.

A reduction in blood volume from dehydration has multiple negative effects for athletes during exercise:

  • Increased heart rate for the same level of effort, and reduced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles during high-intensity exercise [1].
  • Reduced ability to transfer heat away from the body, leading to higher core body temperature and reduced performance [2].
  • Reduced blood flow and oxygen delivery to the gut during exercise, increasing the risk of gastrointestinal symptoms and damage to the gut lining [3].

In high-intensity exercise, as little as 2% loss of body weight through sweating is enough to increase the perceived effort of exercise, and impair performance 4. Whilst many events in track and field aren’t long enough for this level of sweat loss to occur, it is still important to ensure that key training sessions and competition begins in a well-hydrated state.

Several drinking strategies can be used by athletes to optimise hydration and blood volume before, during and after exercise.

Before exercise: Aim to drink 5-10mL of fluid for every kg of body weight, about 2-3 hours before exercise 5. This allows time for the fluid to be absorbed and the excess to be urinated out. Fluids containing sodium improve the absorption and retention of fluid in the body; R3HYDR8 has been specifically designed for this purpose, with 130mg sodium per 100mL.

During exercise: Sweat losses vary significantly between athletes, and even within the same athlete depending on weather conditions, exercise intensity, and acclimatisation to hot weather. In training, consider weighing before and after exercise to determine typical fluid losses (1kg bodyweight = 1L water after accounting for urine losses and food consumed). In the race walk and marathon events, typical losses can vary from 500-2,500mL per hour.

It is recommended that athletes seek advice to assess typical fluid losses, and aim to replace at least 50% of this, within gut tolerance [4]. For athletes struggling to consume even 50% of sweat losses, consider a  period of “gut training”, where hard training sessions are completed whilst drinking to the limit of gut tolerance., gradually increasing the amount as tolerance improves [5].

After exercise: The need rapid rehydration will depend on the timing of the next training session or event. When there is a need to rehydrate within 4 hours, the sodium and carbohydrate in R3HYDR8 will optimise fluid absorption and retention. When the period for rehydration is more than 4 hours and food will be eaten, then water is adequate for rehydration. In either case, aim to drink 150% of the weight lost during exercise, within the first 4 hours afterwards.

The importance of sodium during exercise

Because it’s the main mineral lost in sweat, sodium replacement can play an important role in optimising both the total amount of water in the body, as well as the balance of water inside and outside of the cells [6]. Sodium losses vary enormously both between and within athletes. R3HYDR8 provides 70mg of sodium per 100mL, which is the average sweat sodium loss for most athletes during exercise [7]. Excessive sodium supplementation, through capsules or tablets, should be avoided, as it can increase the risk of nausea or vomiting, and can inappropriately stimulate thirst, leading to excessive drinking and fluid overload.

Carbohydrate for fuelling performance

Adequate fuelling is a crucial component of any athlete’s preparation for training and competition. As well as being the major energy source for high-intensity exercise, carbohydrate plays a key role in the health of athletes, by protecting immune function during an intense period of training, and protecting the gut lining from damage during exercise in the heat [8],[9].

Whilst many track and field events do not require purposeful carbohydrate consumption, long, intense training sessions can still benefit from a top-up of carbohydrate between efforts. During the marathon and race walk events, consumption of carbohydrate in quantities upward of 60 g per hour from a variety of carbohydrate types will maximise absorption from the gut, providing the working muscles with fuel for maximum effort. R3HYDR8 provides 8g of carbohydrate per 100mL, from a mixture of glucose and fructose sources for the maximal rate of absorption from the gut. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How is R3HYDR8 different to other sports drinks on the market?

A: R3HYDR8 have been formulated based on the most recent research available in clinical and sports nutrition. In particular, the R3HYDR8 formula was designed to optimise carbohydrate and fluid absorption from the gut, and replace sodium according to the average athlete’s losses, while ensuring maximal fluid retention in the blood. But a sports drink is only useful if athletes actually want to drink it – much care has been taken to make R3HYDR8 products taste great. R3HYDR8 products are also made in Australia without any artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners, and selected batches are tested to ensure no inadvertent contamination with banned substances.

Q: What types of carbohydrate sources are included in R3HYDR8, and why?

A: R3HYDR8 contains 8g per 100mL of carbohydrate, from a combination of maltodextrin (digests into glucose), dextrose (pure glucose) and fructose. Glucose and fructose are absorbed through separate channels in the lining of the small intestine, allowing a greater amount of total carbohydrate to be taken up into the body per minute of exercise. The combination of glucose and fructose also increases the rate of stomach emptying compared to glucose alone, which can also reduce the risk of gut symptoms during exercise. Finally, the different types of carbohydrate have different levels of sweetness, so the combination is carefully balanced to improve the flavour of the drink.

Q: What form of sodium is used in R3HYDR8 products, and why?

A: R3HYDR8 products use sodium chloride, in the form of Celtic Sea Salt, as their source of sodium. Sweat glands actively control the amount of sodium and chloride lost during exercise together, so a large sodium loss also causes a large chloride loss. Some sports drinks use sodium citrate as their main sodium source, but this results in an imbalance between sodium and chloride replacement.

Q: Why does R3HYDR8 contain stevia and xyltiol when it already contains sugars?

A: Different forms of carbohydrate influence the sweetness of a sports drink but also influence the osmolarity and whether the drink is hypotonic, isotonic, or hypertonic. R3HYDR8 contains a variety of carbohydrate sources to achieve a drink that is isotonic to the blood, which can help improve the absorption from the gut. A small amount of stevia and xylitol was then added to improve the flavour of R3HYDR8, whilst maintaining an optimised osmolarity and sodium concentration.

Q: Why would I need R3HYDR8 instead of water to stay hydrated?

A: In the small intestine, much of the water is absorbed through channels that rely on sodium and glucose. The addition of sodium (130mg per 100mL) and a small amount of glucose (1g per 100mL) increases the rate of fluid absorption, and the high sodium content is crucial for fluid retention in the blood. We recommend R3HYDR8 as a strategy before exercise to increase blood volume, which can benefit high-intensity exercise performance. After exercise, rehydration can be achieved quickly and effectively with R3HYDR8, although if there is no need for aggressive rehydration within the first four hours, and food is being eaten as well, then water is equally effective.

[1] Trangmar SJ & González-Alonso J (2017). New Insights Into the Impact of Dehydration on Blood Flow and Metabolism During Exercise. Exerc Sports Sci Rev. 45(3):146-153.

[2] Sawka M et al. (2007). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 39(2):377-390.

[3] Costa RJS, Gaskell SK, McCubbin AJ, Snipe RMJ (2019). Exertional-heat stress-associated gastrointestinal perturbations during Olympic sports: Management strategies for athletes preparing and competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Temperature. DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2019.1597676

4 Adams JD et al. (2018). Dehydration Impairs Cycling Performance, Independently of Thirst: A Blinded Study. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 50(8): 1697-1703.

5 Thomas T, Erdman KR, Burke LM (2016). American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 48(3):543-568.

1 Dugas JP et al. (2009). Rates of fluid ingestion alter pacing but not thermoregulatory responses during prolonged exercise in hot and humid conditions with appropriate convective cooling. Eur J Appl Physiol. 105(1):69-80.

[5] Costa RJS, Gaskell SK, McCubbin AJ, Snipe RMJ (2019). Exertional-heat stress-associated gastrointestinal perturbations during Olympic sports: Management strategies for athletes preparing and competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Temperature. DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2019.1597676

[6] Sawka M et al. (2007). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 39(2):377-390.

[7] Baker LB et al. (2016). Normative data for regional sweat sodium concentration and whole-body sweating rate in athletes. J Sports Sci. 34(4):358-368.

[8] Peake JM, Neubauer O, Walsh NP, Simpson RJ (2017). Recovery of the immune system after exercise. J Appl Physiol. 122(5):1077-1087.

[9] Costa RJS, Gaskell SK, McCubbin AJ, Snipe RMJ (2019). Exertional-heat stress-associated gastrointestinal perturbations during Olympic sports: Management strategies for athletes preparing and competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Temperature. DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2019.1597676