Taking the sweat test could give competitive edge

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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Ali Gorman puts the sweat test to the test.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Sweat testing used to only be done for professional sports players, but now it has gone mainstream.

Dr. Sandy Fowkes Godek, an expert in hydration sports science, is in charge of sweat testing Philadelphia Flyers players.

"They figure out what levels of sweat we release during practice, how much salt and electrolytes come out of our body," Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds said.

Experts say everyone sweats differently in terms of volume and concentration.

Having the exact information helps athletes and coaches determine what players need to replenish their bodies.

"So you can be ready for your event, your game, your triathlon or that you can recover from a previous event or practice," Godek said.

And now, every day athletes have access to the same sweat test.

Heat Sports Sciences offers an online testing kit.

Action News recruited two local athletes to try it out.

28-year-old Jessica Burns is an instructor at Flywheel in Center City, a fun but tough indoor cycling class.

First, we had Jess empty her bladder and step on the scale.

Before she left for her 45 minute workout, we applied the sweat patch to her arm.

We had the same setup for 43-year-old Todd Hydock, a triathlon athlete, who placed the patch on before an hour-long training run.

"I think I sweat a lot, probably more than most people," Hydock said.

After their workouts, they were accurately weighed again.

Then the patch was removed, placed in a tiny tube, and sent to be analyzed.

Results were emailed a few days later.

The results for Jess showed she's a mild sweater at about 600 milliliters per hour and her salt loss is also mild.

She's recommended to drink about 12 ounces of sports drink or plain water to replenish, but she has to be careful not to over-hydrate.

Recent studies show more cases of athletes drinking too much. That can dilute your blood sodium and the effects can be devastating.

"One of the big warning signs are athletes who gain weight during an exercise bout," Godek said.

As for Todd, he was right. He's a significant sweater, losing 2.39 liters per hour and his salt loss is also severe.

This means he should drink 1.4 to 1.7 liters to replenish and needs a solution with high concentration of electrolytes such as the testing company's Levelen 5 solution or he'll need to get extra sodium through his diet.

Todd says he's going to try the Levelen 5 solution to see if it makes a difference for him.

Jess says she's happy to know she's doing what's best for her.

The kits cost $75, but Heat Sports Sciences is offering our viewers 15 percent off with the promotion code "ABCPHILLY".

For more information, visit http://levelen.com/heat_levelen_sandra_fowkes_godek/.