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Stage Hydration 101: Putting the Pieces Together

When we first set out to create Stage, there were two critical goals we wanted to achieve. First, we has to craft an electrolyte replacement formula that was  calibrated to deliver exactly what athletes in motion need before, during, and after exercise. There are countless electrolyte products on the market today and, regrettably, many of them simply do not contain minerals at adequate levels and proportions to effectively counter that which is lost during exercise. Second, we knew we needed to deliver this electrolyte solution in a way that it efficient, flexible, and convenient. Too many products require athletes to carry multiple bottles, along with packets of powder or rolls of tablets. We knew there was a better way.

To meet these goals, we called on two key industry partners: Bob Murray, Ph.D. and Cirkul. Bob, a venerated scientist with decades of experience studying the physiology of hydration, and Cirkul, a technology company with a revolutionary beverage delivery system.

Arguably the most significant shortcoming of existing electrolyte replacement solutions is their one-size-fits-all approach to hydration.

The Stage Formula


When we first met with Bob Murray to discuss the Stage product, it was instantly clear that we were talking to the right person. Bob has a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from The Ohio State University and was a co-founder and Director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute for 23 years before starting his own consulting firm, SSI. At the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, Bob's research on how athletes respond to fluid, carbohydrate, and electrolyte ingestion contributed to the broader understanding how how proper hydration and nutrition benefits sports performance and recovery. In short, Bob has spent decades in the pursuit of understanding how to accomplish exactly what we were trying to do with Stage.

Working with Bob helped us realize that when it comes to electrolyte replacement solutions, the science is pretty clear. Sodium is the primary mineral lost through sweat and therefore the most important one to replenish during exercise. However, you can’t just dump thousands of milligrams of sodium into a liquid solution and call it a day; we know from research that there is a well-defined upper limit of sodium consumption beyond which a beverage becomes too salty to the taste. Furthermore, excess sodium actually does too good of a job maintaining blood volume, decreasing the desire to drink and thereby increasing the risk of dehydration. Through Bob’s guidance, we determined that 1,000mg of sodium in a 20-ounce bottle was the perfect sweet spot to make Stage drinkable and capable of protecting blood volume and overall hydration whenever you are working up a serious sweat.

However, while sodium is the primary mineral lost during exercise, the other electrolytes--chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium--shouldn’t be ignored. Each of these minerals plays a critically important role in hydration, so we incorporated 290mg of potassium, 120mg of calcium, and 35mg of magnesium to ensure our customers can meet their individual needs for these electrolytes as well.

Critically, one of the most poignant things Bob taught us is that we all sweat at different rates--some people sweat a little, others sweat a lot--and our sweat contains widely varying amounts of electrolytes. And staying well hydrated during exercise requires us to replace most of the fluid and some of the electrolytes lost in sweat, amounts which vary significantly from person to person. These facts make it crucial for an electrolyte replacement product to offer a range of customization to allow people to dial in electrolyte levels to meet their individual hydration needs.

The Cirkul Difference


While the formulation of a given product may be perfect for one person, it could be a poor fit for the next. Before Stage, that person’s only option was to move from product to product, hoping that someone had formulated a product that just happened to be a good fit for their individual needs. Not with Stage!

Thanks to the revolutionary technology in Cirkul, the formulation of Stage is completely customizable to an individual’s needs. Cirkul technology allows the Stage cartridge--and it’s electrolyte mixture--to be completely segregated from your water bottle, keeping the two separate until you take a sip. This technology delivers two key advantages over other products. First, with a simple twist of the Stage cartridge, you can move from Level 9, which is a high-dose of electrolytes, to Level X, which is pure water. No other product on the market allows you to move that seamlessly between pure water and electrolytes in the same bottle; before Stage, you would have had to carry a bottle or more of each in order to hydrate with both.

Second, being able to dial in different amounts of electrolytes allows athletes to experiment with their dosage to determine exactly what works best for them. Since hydration needs can vary from workout to workout, Cirkul technology allows you to develop different protocols for your long rides, short runs, and everything in between. This level of customization has simply never existed before Stage, so we think it’s an absolute gamechanger. It moves hydration solutions from “Jack of all trades, master of none” status to a level of precision and variability that allows any athlete to get the electrolytes they need, when they need them, from a convenient, portable and consistent system.

That is the Stage difference!