I love spending long hours on the range shooting, training, or working. But in Las Vegas, when the summer temperatures reach over 110 degrees I can experience some of the unpleasant symptoms of heat stress including: extreme overheating, fatigue, profuse sweating, lowered concentration, and muscle cramps in my biceps making it difficult to continue working. I would later learn that what I was to hydrate.
I would often arrive home after many hours in the heat, take a cold shower, and laid town to rest, only to be violently awoke from sleep with severe and excruciating muscle cramps. I’ve experienced them in my hamstrings, thighs (often at the same time), shins, calves, and feet.
More than once I have worked all day at the range helping to staff at a major match, then gone out for food and drinks with friends, and this would happen. I have exited the restaurant, said good bye to friends, and went to get into my automobile and experienced hamstring cramps preventing me from setting. I would then have to walk around the parking lot for about 30 minutes until the cramps subsided and I could drive home.
I did some research and tried some things like drinking electrolyte water, coconut water, and other fluids: plan water, black tea, plus eating bananas and other snacks. I never quite get it figured out, until one day in June.
Introduced to the Solution to My Problem
This past June I was working as a squad Range Officer at the 2018 Safariland Michael Voigt Memorial United Pistol League match, in Las Vegas Nevada. I thought I was hydrating well, but on day two while the squad was doing their walkthrough for their final stage, I was feeling very overheated. I sat down to rest, drink some more water, and hold an ice pack on different parts of my body in an attempt to cool down.
One of the shooters, Jessica Nietzel, noticed me trying to cool off. She gave me a bottle of cold water with some powder in it and told me to drink it down. She then placed me in an automobile with very cool air conditioning, and told me to sit there awhile. She prepared another bottle of water. I drank it down as well.
The squad had stepped up, and continued to shoot the stage. After a while I was feeling much better. I walked over to the stage as they were just finishing up. Jessica asked how I was feeling, I responded “much better”, and thanked her.
Jessica, and her boyfriend Nils and there friend Leighton, both high level grandmaster shooters, live in Phoenix Arizona where they train and shoot often in temperatures that reach higher than they do in Las Vegas.
She explained that what she had given me was Vitalyte, an electrolyte powder designed to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating, and to help re-hydrate the body.
Shortly after this event, I went on Amazon and purchased some Vitalyte. Jessica recommended the grape flavor, so that’s what I went with. I was excited to try it the following weekend at a local match. Per Jessica’s recommendation, I mixed and drank four 16 ounce bottles the day before I planned on going to the range. I then prepared eight 16 ounce bottles, and placed them in a cooler of ice for my day on the range.
I felt much better this day, and experienced no muscle cramps afterwards.
How I prepare my Vitalyte infused water
I purchase 24 count 16.9 ounce bottles of water from my local supermarket. I will open as many as I need, drink a little from each to make room for the powder. I then pure in two scoops. I use a small 2″ plastic funnel to make this easier and cleaner.
I also take extra with me in small 2″x3″ plastic zip close bags.
Below are the steps I take to easily prepare my Vitalyte powder bags.
- Each 2″x3″ bag will hold two scoops.
- Use 2″ funnel to ease filling.
- Hold the bottom of the funnel near a top corner of the bag.
- Shake bag while pouring the Vitalyte to help it settle.
- Be sure to close tightly.
- Store these small bags in a larger zip close bag.
- Small bags of Vitalyte can be poured into bottle, if done carefully.
When I am finished preparing my Vitalyte drink, I place the funnel along with the included plastic scoop right in the Vitalyte bag and close it up tight.
I knew drinking plenty of fluids during hot weather was important. What I didn’t know was just how much I needed, that it is important to hydrate before to spend time in the heat, and that electrolytes are very important and are needed to replace the minerals lost during sweating.
Drinking down a lot of plain water can be a little challenging. But I find that grabbing and drinking down a cold bottle of refreshing grape flavored Vitalye infused water with its revitalizing electrolytes is very refreshing, and easier to do.
Stay hydrated and enjoy your time on the range.