Knowing the volume of sweat you lose (Litres), and at what rate (L/hr) is the best way to ensure that you maintain hydration during training and competition. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends maintaining hydration within 2% for best performance and welfare.
Maintaining fluid balance (replacing the sweat fluid you lose with appropriate fluid levels) is imperative to performing and feeling your best.
When you are dehydrated your cardiac and thermoregulatory (body temperature) systems are stressed, further resulting in wasted energy and issues regulating core body temperature which leads to fatigue, greater stress on your body and poorer performance.
Further to this, decision making, reaction time and other cognitive functions are also negatively affected by dehydration.
Sweat Sodium Concentration:
The concentration of sodium we lose in our sweat (mg/L) is highly variable between individuals. The differences can be well over 10 times between low sodium sweaters and high “salty” sweaters.
Only by knowing how much sodium you lose can you devise an electrolyte balance strategy to maintain optimal body function. Electrolytes carry electrical signals around the body and maintaining electrolyte balance is key to proper muscle and nerve function. Sodium is the primary electrolyte lost in sweat.
Sodium is responsible for water regulation in the body and in the right concentrations assists in the absorption of water further aiding hydration efforts.
Option 1. See an accredited sweat profiler for a professional practitioner test.
First they will analyse your urine sample to determine your initial hydration level prior to testing as this may affect your sweat response. You and the fluid you drink during the test will be weighed pre and post test to determine your fluid losses.
The Sweat Lab protocol is an exercise induced sweat test using regional sweat patch analysis.
This means you will exercise with a number of sweat absorbent patches on your skin which will later be analysed by a specialist lab technician at The Sweat Lab.
Whilst there are specific protocols that your test must follow for accuracy and to avoid contamination, we have the ability to devise exercising parameters specific to each clients’ applications. The Sweat Lab has a full functional gym training setup which allows us great flexibility in our exercise protocols.
For example if you want to know how much you sweat, and how much sodium you lose in a cross training weights workout we can test you at the sweat lab doing that workout. If you are a runner, bike rider, rower or kayaker we can test you in your specific activity for best translation of results to the real world.
Your practitioner will be able to advise the most appropriate testing protocol for given applications of different team sports and other activities. eg. rock climbing & boxing.
Through our network of testers we may also be able to arrange offsite testing for groups and squads at specific locations if required. Eg. Soccer field for practice, rock climbing gym.
If you want to know how much you sweat, and how much sodium you lose in a cross training weights workout we can test you at the sweat lab doing that workout. If you are a runner, bike rider, rower or kayaker we can test you in your specific activity for best translation of results to the real world.
Option 2. Self-test kit – The analysis methods and protocol are exactly the same and the recommendation is for users to exercise at race / competition pace or intensity in the real sport / activity or in a simulated task (eg. Treadmill and stationary bike are simulated versions of running and riding).
All of the consumables required to perform the test are included:
- 2 sweat patches
- 2 collection test tubes
- 2 alcohol swabs
- 3 sterile water wipes
- 2 pairs of gloves
- 1 drying cloth
- 1 tweezers
- 1 bubble wrap packaging
- 1 reply paid express post package
You will need to download the free TSL mobile sweat test app (DOWNLOAD APP)
You will also require:
- Body weight scales
- Drink bottle(s)
- Food scales (sensitive enough to measure <2kg)
- Stopwatch (optional – TSL app as built in timer)
The Sweat Lab uses Ion Selective Electrode (ISE) technology with specific proprietary algorythms to determine sodium concentrations directly. We adopt a methodology known as ‘standard addition technique’ which improves accuracy immensely by testing samples 5 times with minute manipulations applied each measurement.
Your sweat sample is analysed by a Lab technician specially trained in this method. Your sample is centrifuged at over 3000RPM to separate all of your sweat sample prior to testing.
ISE is a gold standard method used in research and industry settings. The Sweat Lab has taken further measures to ensure the accuracy of this method working closely with an applications chemist for the best fit to biological testing, namely sweat sodium determination.
Specific regression equations are applied to your sample depending on what body site the sample was taken from (Back, Chest, Forearm, Forehead or Thigh) in order to determine whole body sweat.
Generally speaking the actual sweat test will be 30 or 45 minutes. With briefing, warmup, set up and clean up expect to be in a professional appointment for between 60 -75 minutes. If self-testing allow at least 60 minutes to complete the test.
This will be discussed with your exercise scientist, however the intensity will be determined by the application. eg. testing at race pace or game intensity would be applicable if trying to establish race day or game day hydration strategies.
If performing a self-test you should aim to test at an intensity and in an activity that closely resembles that of your competition / training application.
You should present for testing uninjured and well recovered to be able to perform at your desired intensity. You should present in a well hydrated state.
Maintain water and electrolyte intake the day prior to testing and the day of testing.
Consume 250-500ml of water per hour in the 2hr prior to testing if possible.
Ensure you have filled out and emailed back your pre-test questionnaire.
A warmup to induce pre-sweating is part of your test, however you may arrive 10mins early to undertake further preparation / loosening up etc.
Please be dressed in your exercise attire at the time of your appointment.
Please bring with you:
- Drink Bottle(s)
- Exercise towel
- Personal heart rate monitor (if applicable)
- Toiletries / change of clothes – shower facilities available
- Medications (if required. Eg. Ventolin)
- Medical Clearance (if advised)
Final results will be emailed to you within 72 hours of testing.
Your results will include some suggestions, however The Sweat Lab recommends that you consult with a Sports Dietitian or Sports Nutritionist to develop the best hydration and electrolyte replacement strategy.
We can recommend and refer you to such specialists.
The Complete Sweat Profile base price tested by a professional practitioner is $199 inc. GST.
Some accredited sweat profilers may charge slightly different amounts based on further services, consultation, guidance and recommendations.
The Sweat Lab suggests that hydration and electrolyte replacement strategies should be considered as part of an overall nutrition plan and encourage clients to seek further advice from suitably qualified dietitians and nutritionists.
Self-Test kits are $99 inc GST RRP.
Hyponatremia is a very serious condition resulting from low sodium levels within the bloodstream. When we sweat we lose water and sodium. If people replace the fluid losses without considering the sodium a resulting diluted serum sodium level is present in the blood. This condition has been referred to as “waterlogging” and mild symptoms include nausea, lethargy, headaches, irritability, muscle spasms. Due to the importance of sodium in regulating fluid balance in the body in the worst cases cerebral edema (swelling of the brain) can result leading to coma and even death.
Understanding individual sodium and fluid losses through sweat testing allows us to identify the required replacement strategies for water and sodium and ensure they are in balance and we have the best defense against such instances.
- WHO ORS – subscribes to the World Health Organisation’s low osmolarity Oral Rehydration Solution standard
- Informed Sport certified – third party audited so can be trusted by athletes
- High sodium and electrolyte concentration suitable for sweat loss replacement
- Low sugar formulation allowing fluid and electrolyte replenishment without the high energy or sugar load
- Scientifically formulated by a gastroenterologist for optimal fluid absorption leading to more effective and quicker rehydration
- Low Osmolarity formulation meaning the ratio of glucose, sodium and fluid leads to greatest absorption and therefore hydration effect
- Organic, no artificial ingredients
- 4 flavours to choose from so variety and personal preference can be achieved – Mango, Citrus, Berry, Coconut