A couple of weeks ago I took a day off work to visit the Triathlon Show at Sandown park, meet with sponsors and also visit a couple of specialists in hydration and physical testing.

Precision Hydration

myh2proMy first stop was to meet the guys from Precision Hydration (perhaps better known as MyH2Pro) who specialise in a custom approach to replacing salts and minerals lost during exercise. The theory is simple - that everyone sweats at different rates and everyone's sweat has different amounts of sodium in it.

Why is this important? Well, sodium and other minerals are essential to the body functioning properly. Lose too much salt and we all know that you dramatically increase the chances of cramps and other undesirable effects that could ruin your race or training session.

Most hydration systems like the zero calorie tablets from Nuun or my preferred Elivar carb drinks have to standardise the amount of sodium they contain, based on an educated calculation of what their 'average' user needs. If you fit that average, you'll be great. If not, you could still be losing a lot of salt, even though you feel like you are hydrating properly.

So... The MyH2Pro system is based on a range of supplements (in dissolvable tablet form) with sodium contents ranging from 250mg/l to 1500mg/l (the guys at Precision Hydration say that the average sodium content of most "off the shelf" tablets/drinks is around 500mg/l).

The idea is that, via testing (either self assessment or professional testing, more below), you can establish a more accurate assessment of your personal sodium loss and then choose the appropriate 'strength' of tablet to suit your needs.

I was lucky enough to be offered the full test, which was a lot less strenuous than you might expect. Rather than have me work up a sweat on a treadmill, a special compound was placed on my skin and then a small current placed through it, which encouraged the skin pores to open and to start generating some localised sweating.

A sample of this sweat was then collected in a sterile capsule using capillary motion. The whole process took maybe ten minutes to complete. The sweat sample was then fed into a special machine which measured the level of sodium in the sample.


Interestingly, the sodium content in my sample was very high, a recorded 1596mg/l.  Basically, on a scale of 1-100, I scored a 78! To cut a long story short, I lose a lot of sodium when I sweat.  More than I can realistically expect to replace using your average electrolyte replacement or carb drink.

For me this is potentially invaluable information.  As a middle distance athlete it's important that my body has the right balance of salts to last 4.5hrs or more of racing.  The beauty of the MyH2Pro system is that I can create the right "concoction" for me by mixing the right MyH2Pro tablets with my preferred in-race nutrition. For example, if my carb drink has 500mg/lof sodium in it, I can add a 1,000mg/l MyH2Pro tablet and it will have just the right amout of sodium to ensure I fully replace everything I'm losing.

I left the Precision Hydration stand with a selection of tablets to suit different exercise levels. Taken on their own with water, the tablets have a pleasant citrus flavour that is quite subtle (added to something with an existing flavour, the tablets are largely unnoticeable taste-wise). The 250mg tablets are great to add a little flavour to water, while the 'stronger' doses can be used while working out.

That's a rather long write up for a pretty quick process of determining your personal sodium loss through sweat (there is an online self assessment available on their web homepage www.myh2pro.com). It was great meeting Andy, Jonny and the guys from Precision Hydration and I'm looking forward to introducing a little more sodium into my race and training hydration. I'll report back on what differences I notice!

For more information on the MyH2Pro system, visit www.myh2pro.com

Next time; a chance to revisit lactate testing with the Surrey Human Performance Institute.