It was 1988; my dad was cheering me on as I completed a practice run at my elementary school playground for my upcoming first ever 5K run. I distinctly remember the thrill. I felt the power of movement — not as a childish game, nor as a form of exercise — but as a spiritful conduit. And that reward only presented itself after I put in the work, resulting in an all sweaty glory.

Since that day, I have continued to chase that feeling. I’d often set athletic goals — not as the ends, but the means. I became a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, I trained for and completed a marathon and triathlon. I dabbled in such a myriad of sports from nordic skiing, to lacrosse to most recently rock climbing. While these have all been rewarding pursuits, what drives me most is not the sport itself, but the satisfaction of a good sweat.

Lately, in these COVID times, I’ve been particularly enjoying my at-home spin bike. Just the other day, I completed a 30-minute Keith Urban ride, which resulted in one of those moments that I lust after. The combination of my energy input fueled by the uplifting tunes produced a sweaty endorphin cocktail that made me truly feel like I could conquer the world. Before I began that ride, I had been anxious about a work email I sent earlier in the week. When I finished, just 30 minutes later, I not only had forgotten my anxiety, but I had determined that I was in fact changing the world by the very same email. I danced myself into my chores for the day, feeling like Superwoman.

If I were to break down the elements throughout the years that have kept me motivated in the midst of a workout, music has definitely played a big role, but another crucial factor has been hydration. Beyond the physical aspect of replenishing lost sweat, I have used hydration as a mental motivator. Typical self talk during a spin session will include something like “just two more minutes and you can take another swig of that sweet refreshment”, and it’s that electrolyte-packed sip that fuels me for the next circuit, and the next, and the next. And it is this correlation between hydration and my energized spirit that has elevated sports hydration beverages from a simple product category on grocery store shelves to something so much more than another convenience buy for me; it has truly become part of my never-ending quest for the next sweat-drenched adventure.

Elyse Sara is the Founder of Fat Leaf Water, a cactus-water based sports hydration beverage, that will be available on Amazon in late October. She is based in Long Beach, CA and is currently working up a good sweat.