Are you Staying Properly Hydrated During Exercise?

Many exercisers know that they should stay hydrated when exercising, but three questions often asked are how much, when, and what? This article is meant to inform the reader of the current recommendations that address these very questions. In answer to the first two questions, here are some general guidelines to follow about fluid replacement from The American College of Sports Medicine and other such societies:

Before Exercise:

  • Consume about 15-20 fl. oz. of water, 2 to 3 hours before exercise (to allow for absorption)
  • Drink 8-10 fl. oz. of water 10-15 minutes before exercise (to ensure that you begin exercise in fluid balance)

During Exercise:

  • Consume between 8 and 10 fl. oz. every 10 to 15 minutes during exercise
  • If exercising longer than 60 minutes, drink 8-10 fl. oz. of a sports drink (with 6-8% carbohydrate) every 15 – 30 minutes.

After Exercise:

  • Weigh yourself before and after exercise.
  • For every 1lb lost, replace with 20-24 fl. oz. of water.

Water and Sports Drinks Photo

In answer to the third question, it can be both a sports drink and water. And this, of course, depends on the situation. If you are an athlete or individual who works out intensely for 60 minutes or more, then a sports drink with at least 6-8% carbohydrate, like Gatorade, can be beneficial to replenish lost fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. It also can help improve performance during these longer bouts of intense exercise. For the average population however, a sports drink is not necessary because the stores of fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrates in one’s body are usually not completely spent during a standard workout. Therefore, consuming water before, during, and after exercise is all the average person needs to keep their body hydrated. For the athlete or avid exerciser, a sports drink to stay hydrated would be beneficial for intense exercise events lasting longer than an hour, as stated previously, but up to that point is not really necessary.

If you’d like more advice on exercise hydration and nutrition, let us know! We’re here to help!

What are your favorite ways to stay hydrated? Do you have a preferred sports drink or do you just stick with water?

The 80/20 Food/Fitness Rule & Pre/Post Workout Eating

Woman Eating Post Workout

For years, I have had many opportunities to discuss the tremendous overall benefits of the food you eat and how it works in harmony with your fitness! In fact, it is a ratio of 20% fitness experience and 80% dietary input, according to the experts. Your food intake can be a powerful force in providing you with good fluids, special electrolytes, and super energy sources following a workout.

After a workout of course you are going to be tired and maybe a little hungry! (But fortunately, it also comes with a sense of well-being as the endorphins begin to release in your brain.) Many record that they need some salt, some fluids, and maybe a quick punch of sugar. I personally like to suggest the “Eat-Clean Principles” authored by Tosca Reno, in which she suggests:

Consuming 15g carbs before and >20g protein after your workout.

I like these thoughts and cannot stress enough that you choose the simplest of carbohydrates and the simplest of proteins in this case. Here are some homemade pre- and post-workout snack ideas:

  • You can certainly bring your own supply of fruit or vegetable juices to drink before the workout, or maybe a banana.
  • Some protein, such as nuts and cheese, make a good protein afterwards, and store well in your bag.
  • You may also want an instant container of soup and just add hot water. This is a much better re-supply for sodium or salt, than any package of saltines or chips.

Or you may want to try some of these choices, for carbohydrates and proteins now available at Elite Sports Clubs‘ E-Cafés! My favorites are:

  • Creamy, rich smoothies made in a variety of flavors, with really good fruit purees, as a base, plus you can add vitamin boosts, extra protein such as whey, and you can even choose a low calorie variety. They are a big hit!
  • Another source of good protein is the Organic Chocolate Milk. These drinks are 8oz and 150 calories. Or you can try the No Milk-just casein, Muscle Milk for 140 calories, 20g protein.
  • Otherwise, we have good fruit juices, and teas.
  • Fresh, hydrating beverages are also available, such as Sparkling Ice, no calories, a little carbonation, and no calories.
  • Another new arrival is Susie’s Nature Bars. The calories are just over 265; and they are good sources of protein and fiber, about 6g each or more. But their fiber is extremely high quality nuts and seeds, with a variety of fruit binders. They are delicious and fresh!

Just remember, a good protein snack such as an energy bar should be about 6-20g of protein; whereas a good source of protein for a meal should be 3oz meat or 30g protein as a “full meal bar.” Don’t forget, your good food choices will make it or break it for you on your personal program!

Need help getting set up on a personal plan or figuring out some go-to pre- and post-workout foods? Let us help! Just let us know a little bit about your goals and we can get started!

What are your favorite pre- and post-workout snacks? Tell us in the comments!

Rita Larsen, RD, CD
Nutrition Educator and Diet Counselor
262-391-1003 (cell)

There is Not Only One Way to Approach Eating, Diet & Nutrition-Finding the Program That Works for You!

Here's what 500 calories of food looks like! Each of these is 500cal!
Here’s what 500 calories of food looks like! Each of these are 500 calories that you could easily eliminate!

By Rita Larsen, R.D., Professional Dietary Counseling, Elite Sports Clubs

Many people will be confused in the thought that there is only one way to approach a new eating plan. If they do not follow it, they are sure to be a failure. Truthfully, diet and related eating plans will work in your favor almost every time as long as you have created enough change. This change will come through a number of situations, such as exercise, a new eating plan, or an alteration in the eating schedule. Let’s examine this idea a little further.

Experts suggest that any time there is a desire to change the quantity or quality of the foods we are eating for the ultimate “body transformation” it is possible to do with minimal changes to your current program. For example:

Weight loss occurs with the reduction of 500 calories at the most for a day. It does not need to be any more than that. If this is true, find the food in the least important spot; as a snack in the afternoon of a bag of chips or a candy, and eliminate it. It could be all that you need to do!

Next, plan to regroup the foods that you are eating into a new “schedule”. Eating earlier in the day works the best! If you cannot do this, then divide the foods evenly throughout the day so that it will make sense for your schedule. Never too much at any one time is a good guide!

Finally, plan to put a little more exercise in the works! Another 60 minutes per week will help your program a great deal. Most of the time, people have a harder time taking time for exercise than any concern with the exercise. Allow yourself the chance to do something new for you!

Ideas: Plan the food in a way that works for you!

  • Cut one food item out that doesn’t even mean anything!
  • Add just a little more exercise a week!


Rita is available for one-on-one consultations and also offers group programs to help you reach your weight loss goals, starting with an easy approach to eating as mentioned above! Get started today by letting us know a little more about you and your goals!

Introducing Elite’s Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor: Rita Larsen

Hello & welcome!

To start off, I have a very simple message:

Part of the reason that we, at Elite, take the time to work with each individual through exercise and diet is because each person is completely different than the next person. In other words, what works for one person, may not work for the next person. You are an individual and need to choose what is going to work best for you! It is in some ways, an awesome responsibility. Many people can get sidetracked with lots of other family & work responsibilities, and never take the time to care for themselves; through fitness and a good diet/nutrition program. As a result, they never really know “what is best for ME?” So, take some time to explore what your very “best” is. Type of exercise, days of the week, indoors or outdoors, a stable eating plan or one that is flexible (but very healthy). There are lots of choices for you!

Your Health & Fitness Journey Begins Today, But Where Should You Start Photo

With lots of choices to explore during your health & fitness journey, trying new programs and so on, you may just be able to LOCK IN your own personal fitness and nutrition plan that will last a LIFETIME. So, my task for you is: from now on, don’t just think about today and tomorrow; think about a lifetime of good health and wellness!

I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you. And please come visit me during my open office hours “Ask the Dietitian” at our Brookfield, Mequon, and North Shore locations. Otherwise I’m always available by appointment!

Best wishes for a good start!

Rita W. Larsen, RD, CD
Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
Elite Sports Clubs

Soul Food

Are you truly “feeding” yourself?

Think back to a time when you were involved in an exciting project or conversation.  You were so busy that time seemed to fly by and the outside world faded away. You had nothing on your mind but what you were doing.  Food was not even a thought.

Society now-a-days, falls back on food as a way to satisfy their needs and wants.  Most people end up confusing primary food with secondary food.  Primary food is the different aspects of life that feed you such as relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality.

  • Having healthy and supportive relationships with friends, family, and co-workers are important and you should start to notice which relationships truly feed you in your life and which relationships are taking a toll on your energy.
  • The career aspect is choosing work that you are passionate about and like the people that you work with.  This is a very important atmosphere to maintain healthy relationships as most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work.  To live a healthy and balanced life you have to be satisfied with your career.
  • The physical activity aspect refers to our bodies thriving for movement and giving us energy along with releasing hormones, chemical messengers within in our body, such as estrogen, testosterone, growth hormone, endorphins, insulin, epinephrine, and many more.
  • “Almost all forms of spiritual practice come down to one thing: the more we bring our individual lives into alignment with the whole of existence, the more we feel nourished and at peace” (Integrative Nutrition).

Secondary food is actual food that a person consumes which adds taste, texture, and volume.  Therefore food can fill you, but it cannot fulfill you.  The more primary food we receive, the less we need to depend on secondary food.

primary and secondary food chart

“When primary food is balanced and satiating, your life feeds you, making what you eat only secondary.” (Integrative Nutrition).

To find out which primary food needs attention in your life check out the Circle of Life diagram at