Sports Podcast - Episode 19published 5 Apr 2023

Optimizing Hydration, Salt Intake, And Load Management For Pro Athletes – With Tamara Hew-Butler, Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology, Wayne State Warriors – Ep. 19

Welcome to the Firstbeat Sports Podcast where we talk with coaches and sports scientists to explore the latest in performance monitoring and how it is making a difference in NCAA and pro sports alike. We’re going to connect you with practical advice from the best in the business to help you take your athletes to the next level. 

In this episode, we’re chatting with Tamara Hew-Butler. Tamara is Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology at Wayne State University. 

Topics discussed in this episode: 

  • The importance of internal and external load monitoring, especially in football 
  • The dangers of overhydration for athletes and the effect it has on the brain and lungs 
  • Salt intake and Tamara’s thoughts on football players drinking pickle juice 
  • Combining the art of coaching with science 


  • Tamara’s background (1:40)
  • Tamara’s thoughts and preferences about internal and external load (4:21)
  • Athletes with Rhabdomyolysis – who is responsible and why does it happen? (6:47)
  • Dangers of overhydration for athletes (9:02)
  • Was there a backlash from the episode of “Adam Ruins Everything – Why You Don’t Need 8 Glasses of Water a Day”? (13:18)
  • How did the “Adam Ruins Everything”- show find Tamara? (14:27)
  • What liquids are the athletes having on the sideline of Wayne State Football? (16:39)
  • If there would be an unlimited budget, what liquids Tamara would get for athletes? (17:26)
  • Is players drinking pickle juice still a thing? (18:37)
  • Training adjustments after the pandemic and combining the art of coaching with science (20:16)
  • Working with the new Football coach Tyrone Wheatley at Wayne State University (26:56)
  • The reason why WSU Football got Firstbeat (27:34)
  • Firstbeat Quick Recovery Test trends over the years (31:00)
  • The most useful Firstbeat features and metrics for WSU Football (31:56)
  • Analysis of different TRIMP values from last year to this year (32:50)

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Catch up on all previous Firstbeat Sports Podcast episodes here! 

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