Pickle juice: How a heavy sweater survived 3x Bikram Yoga classes in one day

Pickle juice: How a heavy sweater survived 3x Bikram Yoga classes in one day

Yesterday, I sweated out 23 pounds of sweat in 3 x 1.5 hour Bikram Yoga classes. I feel awesome today!

In my continuing search for a new challenge, I decided to try three Bikram Yoga classes in one day. If you’re not familiar with Bikram Yoga – also called hot yoga – it’s a series of 26 postures that are performed in a specific sequence in a very hot and humid room.

The challenge for me in doing multiple Bikram classes in one day is not surviving the heat but rather replacing fluids and electrolytes lost by sweating during class. I’m a heavy sweater. During a single class, I will completely soak a full-sized beach towel and leave puddles in the carpet around my mat.

Three classes in one day was an experiment by me on me. Could I take in enough fluids and electrolytes to successfully and safely complete all classes?

In order to to determine sweat volume lost each class, I weighed myself immediately before and after every class. I also wrote down what I drank before, during and after class.

Here is what happened during each class:

Class 1: 9:30AM

  • Beginning weight before class: 175 lbs
  • Fluid consumed during class: 5 lbs
  • Ending weight after class: 170 lbs
  • Sweat volume lost during class: 10 lbs

Comments: I brought 3 large water bottles into class with me – 1 of Cytomax and 2 with Emergen-C. I drank all three during class. Normally, I take only 2 bottles in with me. I was still 5 pounds lighter after class even after drinking 5 pounds of fluids during class.

Class 2: 12:00PM

  • Beginning weight before class: 172 lbs
  • Fluid consumed during class: 5 lbs
  • Ending weight after class: 171 lbs
  • Sweat volume during class: 6 lbs

Comments: I had less than an hour between classes. I consumed another 1.5 bottles of sports drink, a Venti Iced Soy Mocha from Starbucks for some extra calories (it was lunch time) and another handful of Endurolytes. This was my toughest class, as I cramped in many of the postures and had to sit out several completely. About halfway through class, I realized tha I needed to take drastic measures after class if I wanted to safely and successfully complete another class. I had one thought on my mind: pickle juice! I forget where I had heard about drinking pickle juice to prevent cramping, but it seemed like the thing to do.

Class 3: 4:00PM

  • Beginning weight before class: 171 lbs
  • Fluid consumed during class: 5 lbs
  • Ending weight after class: 169 lbs
  • Sweat volume lost during class: 7 lbs

Comments: Immediately after the second class, I bought two jars of Vlasic dill pickles, drinkinghalf a jar of the pickle juice in the parking lot. I immediately felt better. 3/4 of a pickle is only 5 calories and has 12% of the RDA of sodium. I likely ate and drank 200% of the RDA for sodium. The 4PM class went much smoother than the noon class with minimal cramping. The pickle juice worked! After class, I drank more pickle juice and ate most of the remaining pickles.

Conclusion: I feel awesome this morning! Like in racing an Ironman triathlon, I had to be flexible during event (3 classes) and adapt to the situation – in this case cramping. Who knows, maybe I’ll carry a flask of pickle juice with me when I race Ironman triathlons in the future!

Live life boldly and richly,

David Glover

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David B. Glover
Professional Triathlete, Coach and Race Director
Author of Full Time and Sub-Nine: Fitting Iron Distance Training into Every Day Life
Triathlon Training Plans: enduranceworks.net

© 2008 David B. Glover

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m doing a “60-classes-in-60-days” hot yoga challenge and, having done challenges before, I’ve found that pickle juice is the secret ingredient with all the loss of fluids. I especially love taking pickle juice for the 6am class. I’m hooked!

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