Building a Better Athlete
by Matt Wesseling
Years ago, when I was competing in college, I had access to incredibly smart people who's sole responsibility was to increase the level of performance in the athletes. This included a host of techniques from the obvious, training and diet, to the specialized, massage and hydration through the use of IV’s. Years later, I found myself competing in triathlons and other long distance multisport events and I began to wonder why some of the treatments that I used to have access to were not available to the masses.
I love to compete – it is what drives me to put in that extra mile and elect for the salad instead of the burger. I want to get the best out of the body I have been given and to do so, I’ve tried it all. It seems like every day there is a new recovery drink or fitness trend that pops up that promises the world and, inevitably, under delivers. What was it about the IV’s that I used to get after a tough day that allowed me to wake up feeling amazing, often like I did not even hammer out 20 miles in the heat of summer? I was determined to find out.
What I learned was that, in heat, your body sweats at a rate of 2 – 6 liters of fluid per hour. In addition to fluid loss, perspiration includes sodium and other electrolytes. Oral hydration is incredibly inefficient; basically, you can not drink fast enough to replace what you lose as much will simply pass right through. Relying on thirst as an indicator of when you need to drink more is unreliable as there is a time lag between being dehydrated and then feeling thirsty - it might be too late and you will already have suffered a loss of performance.
Additionally, through heavy exertion your body increases production of lactic acid at a rate faster than your body can process it. This lactic acid builds up in your muscles and there it resides, causing you to feel sore and sluggish in the days to follow.
Many solutions (ice bath, massage, etc.) in the marketplace simply halt the effects of exercise. IV’s are the most technically advanced, most efficient way to rapidly rehydrate the body which not only halt the effects but also treat. What we can put in a single bag of IV fluid is equal to over a gallon of water, salt tablets, multi-vitamin, electrolytes, anti-inflammatory, and more… IV’s will allow the body to flush out the lactic acid that has built up while the perfect balance of fluid, sodium, and electrolytes replenishes the body what it has lost.
Now I can get the same treatments that I used to receive as a college athlete, the same treatments that the NFL, NBA and other sports commonly utilize. After a challenging training day or race, you can now wake up feeling like you can do it again – allowing you to be your best.
Building a Better Athlete is a weekly series promoting increased performance and faster recovery in athletics. Matt Wesseling is a former NCAA track and Cross Country athlete and now competes in endurance multisport events. He believes in getting the most out of every athlete so that they can achieve more.