Last year, I had the pleasure of working with Levelen Sport Sciences. Here is my sweat test review from start to finish and a little amateur video to give you an idea of the process.
The Levelen Heat Sport Sciences group is based in West Chester, PA.
The company is great to work with, both from the sports nutritionist’s point-of-view, and from an athlete’s perspective. Adjusting electrolytes based on sweat testing data is a game changer whether you are a runner, cyclist, endurance sport athlete or triathlete. You don’t have to guess at your numbers anymore and neither do I when I work with clients! yay
What’s the sweat rate test experience like?
Well, they send you a kit which has either 1 or 2 sets of pads for testing either the run, the bike or both (or whatever sport you are in). You tape a gauze pad to your forearm. You weigh yourself before exercising for the recommended 60 minute baseline, and track the amount of fluids you take in for the time of your test. You have a few more details to complete on the intake card.
After the hour exercise session and another weighing, the gauze is put into a tiny capped vial and is mailed back to Levelen in the prepaid padded envelope.
It is recommended to use 60 minutes as the baseline for this test – you can do less like 30 or 45 minutes, but longer is not necessary and will actually skew the results, according to Levelen.
It is important to test for each sport if you participate in multiple sports if you are a multi-sport triathlete. You would order a test for the bike and another for the run. They sell these together.
I used the test for indoor cycling where I used a space heater and did not turn on the fan….but went through my usual bike trainer session.
My results were 600 mg per hour on the bike. I did not test the run.
In general, most clients I have worked with have a sweat test value about twice that rate when running.
But I had one client who did not sweat that much on the bike, but was 3-4x higher on the run!
You take the test, send the vial with the sweaty gauze back to Levelen and you wait for the results.
Then you are pretty much done with your portion.
What do you get in terms of sweat test review results?
Within a week after sending Levelen your sweaty gauze pad in a tiny sealed vial, you get, via email, a report of how much sodium, potassium and other electrolytes you sweat out per hour. You also get your sweat rate, which will change based on heat and humidity.
There is also a suggestion of how much to supplement per hour and which of their own branded powders to use based on your level of sweat test numbers.
NOTE: If you use my discount code of NIMPA, I will also get a copy of the report so we can work together to implement the results into a working hydration plan for you specifically.
I spent hours upon hours with Levelen to understand all the numbers after my test. You will most likely be reading yours in absolute bewilderment … but it is really not that hard. I have created a spreadsheet that provides a very useful reference page so you’ll know what to do for every hour of training or racing, and I can help you optimize that with appropriate electrolyte products.
I have used this test with my clients for over two years now. I have been able to help cyclists, runners, ultra runners and triathletes adjust and optimize their electrolyte intakes before, during and after a race. And maintaining the right levels day to day is especially important. For endurance athletes who are maintaining back-to-back training days, knowing the amount of electrolytes you sweat per hour allows for optimum performance … and repeat optimum performances.
For several years, I had ‘guestimated’ what people’s needs were for electrolyte replacement (including my own), based on symptoms and trial-and-error. This testing takes the guess work right out of the equation. I now didn’t have to wonder why I dehydrated in both of my Ironman USA Lake Placid races….I now knew I had never taken enough on the run based on my needs!.
It also helps the athlete and the coach understand how important it is to replenish at least 70% of what is lost per hour. The client then knows exactly what need based on their actual numbers. When it’s in writing, the plan sticks better.
I just help optimize what they are currently using – they can be needing additional electrolytes like Base Salts or other options. It could also be a change in the electrolyte drink they are using.
The photo on the side is from an athlete who finished Ironman Lake Placid who we helped dial in her nutrition and hydration protocol so she could finish feeling good the whole race rather than do the Ironman shuffle fatigued and cramping which had happened in the past.
I just had an athlete complete the ultra endurance RAAM cycling event with a sodium loss of 3800 mg per hour. Yes, 3800+ per hour. And that is not a record high according to Levelen.
Although it was a bit of a challenge at first to adjust to the higher intake of electrolytes, the science worked. For the first time in over a dozen years of competing in ultra endurance sports events, the client did not feel that they were running on ‘emptier than empty,’ during the event post training sessnions. Yes, the athlete was tired after 15 or more days of riding 20 or more hours each day, but they weren’t depleted beyond depleted. That was a huge win only because of the testing!
I had an ultra marathoner last year wanting to give up anything longer than a marathon until we did the testing. His fatigue was not just nutrition related, but a result of chronic dehydration. With the help of the Levelen sweat testing, we optimized his nutrition and electrolyte protocol. A month later, he finished a 50-miler, placed in his age group and renewed his enthusiasm for a 100-mile ultra. This was all possible because we adjusted his electrolytes based on the sweat testing.
This concludes my review of Levelen Sweat Testing. If you have not done it …you really need to. It is easy and you will have the results within a week. Then we can schedule to help you dial in your hydration protocol to perfection so you have your perfect race or event!
If you are having challenges with cramping, GI distress, and other signs of dehydration, I would suggest ordering your sweat test kit from www.levelen.com. Use code NIMPA to get a discount and my personal assistance after your results are in.
I hope this levelen sweat test review helps. It has been a game changer for me and most of my athletes, and it might be for you, too. Reach out if you have questions!