By: Team XTEND

When people set out to get in shape, they often launch right into training. While this certainly isn't a bad thing, in all their excitement to get to the gym, folks often overlook two critical aspects of the fitness process: hydration and recovery. If you want to perform at your peak, these two critical components deserve extra care in your fitness plan.

Hydration is a buzzed about issue—after all, it's very common to hear and read the advice, "stay hydrated"—but we don't talk as much about the underlying pieces of hydration: What hydration means, why it's important to everyone (and especially athletes!), why electrolytes matter, and the most effective means to get hydrated. Let's jump in the pool.

The Basics of Hydration

As you know, you need water to survive. (Quick, take a sip!) Everything in your body—cells, tissues, and organs, systems like temperature regulation and waste removal, and so much more—requires adequate water to function properly. When you're "well hydrated," it means you have ample water in your body to perform all these important functions.

Dehydration begins when your body doesn't have as much water as it needs, or when the rate of loss exceeds the rate of intake. Obviously you lose water when you sweat, and even mild dehydration can negatively impact your mental and physical performance, so it's critically important to hydrate during and around exercise.

The Electrolyte Connection

Your body also loses electrolytes through sweat. Electrolytes are specific minerals that become electrically charged when dissolved in water, and they're a critical piece of the hydration puzzle. While most people have heard that sodium and chloride are important electrolytes, it's also important to replenish calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

When it comes to hydration, think of electrolytes almost as or as important to replace as lost fluid itself. What makes them so critical? Well, electrolytes play a crucial role in many cardiac and neuromuscular functions, fluid regulation, blood pH balance, and generating the electrical impulses your body needs to physically function.

Water acts as a conductor for electrolytes, allowing them to move through the bloodstream and across cell membranes to perform their important work. When electrolyte levels drop too low, whether over time or from prolonged intense exercise, your body and performance suffer. This makes it especially important for athletes to replenish both water and electrolytes.

Winning the Hydration Game

Thankfully, it's easier than ever to elevate your hydration game. XTEND Original is a hydration and recovery supplement that contains just over one gram of critical hydration-inducing electrolytes per serving. Every scoop of XTEND Original also contains seven grams of branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, which have been clinically shown to support muscle recovery and growth. (To learn more about the many training- and physique-oriented perks of BCAAs, check out "Branched-Chain Amino Acids 101: The Many Benefits of BCAAs.")

In addition, XTEND Original is made with zero sugar, calories, or carbs, so it won't negatively impact your calorie, fitness, and physique goals. XTEND is also one of the best-tasting BCAA supplements on the market, available in a wide array of delicious flavors, so it's easy to drink throughout the day and throughout your intense training sessions.

We recommend drinking two servings of XTEND every day, either split during and after your training sessions, or mixed in water—roughly 10-14 oz. per scoop, to taste—to drink throughout the day. Coupling XTEND with a solid overall hydration goal—up to one gallon of water per day for many athletes—is a delicious way to support hydration, recovery, and long-term fitness success.