There’s often a lot of confusion when it comes to Isotonics, what are they? Why are some gels / drinks Isotonic and others hypotonic?
In simplistic terms, a drink or gel is ‘isotonic’ when it contains the same particulate concentration as blood. So, a drink or gel is hypotonic when less concentrated than blood and hypertonic when more concentrated. Think about the consistency of a gel for example, isotonic gels are much more fluid in texture, hypotonic ones thicker.
All drinks and gels designed to meet an athletes' needs during effort must be isotonic or slightly hypotonic, but never hypertonic.
The real purpose of an isotonic drink or gel is to improve the intake of water, minerals and nutrients to facilitate the replacement of what the body uses during effort. Because they will effectively have a more watery consistency they are often easier to consume and absorb than gels which are hypotonic and have a thicker and sometimes if you’re unlucky, chewy texture.
Isotonics are easily absorbed and quickly leave the stomach, to ensure optimal efficiency and comfortable digestion.
The most significant type of exercise for Isotonic intake is anything where you are pushing your endurance. Be that a long swim, bike, run or triathlon. After an hour of effort, you will need to consume isotonics regularly. The required dose is 1 mouthful every 10-15 minutes from the start of your effort.
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