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Q&A with Gatorade Sports Science Institute’s Kim Stein, PhD

Gatorade’s new testing came to Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Herd’s 2nd season is underway. The Herd split their first two games of the season, losing to the Greensboro Swarm on November 2nd and defeating the Canton Charge on November 3rd. One of the factors the Herd will have going into the season is their workout regiment and nutrition. As part of their sponsorship, Gatorade is going around the league and doing testing to develop a training plan for the players. As I was observing practice, I noticed players with bands on their arms. Thankfully, Kim Stein, PhD, Senior Principal Scientist for the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), was on hand to answer some of my questions about the testing.

What is this testing that you are undergoing with the players?

We were asked to do some work with athletes with their nutrition and hydration to give them tips to help their performance. We have a sweat testing program where we provide individual hydration and sport nutrition programs to athletes that go through our program and it is offered to every team in the G-league and 20 of the 26 teams have taken up on our offer.

After today’s testing each player will get a specific plan on how much fluid and sodium they lost. We purposely test them in a high intensity situation like a practice to mimic what they do in the game to give them a plan to help their performance.

So what factors are you looking for with the players’ sweat?

We look at total amount of sweat loss to get them to drink enough fluid and track sodium as it has the biggest impact on their performance especially with someone that has consistent issues with cramping. We also look to see how much carbohydrates they take in to let them know if they are reaching the recommendations to have the energy with their fluid.

Is the height or weight of the player an impact?

Body height, size and weight doesn’t impact the hydration but it is very individual in terms of sweat loss and genetics have a high factor. The training status also is a factor but with the players completing training camp, I don’t think that should create a high variance.

What other factors are there to consider?

Thankfully basketball is played in a controlled temperature and what I mean by that is, compared to outdoor sports like football, baseball, and soccer sweat rates can change depending on temperature or humidity.

Thanks to Kim and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute for lending us their time to explain the testing and developmental plan for the Wisconsin Herd. For more information on the sweat testing or the GSSI, visit their website.