Staying Hydrated During a Workout: Juice, Water or Sports Drinks
The most important component of an athlete’s diet is fluids. The body can survive for about one month without food, but it won’t last more than a few days without water. Athletes need to drink extra fluids to replace the body water they lose during workouts or competitions. But which is better– water, juice or another liquid? The answer depends on your workout plan.
Staying Hydrated During Your Workout
- Length of Workout. The average exerciser does not need a sports drink or juice during a workout because they’re not depleting the body’s store of carbohydrates and electrolytes. If you are working out for less than 1.5 hours, stick to water to stay hydrated. The liquid is sodium-free, which helps the body deliver fluids to the blood and muscles and stay hydrated.
If you are exercising vigorously, for 1.5 to 3 hours or in extreme heat, you may lose potassium and sodium through sweat. These lost micronutrients need to be replaced with a healthy sports drink.
- Healthy Sports Drinks. The major brands you’ve most likely heard of are pretty much glorified sugar water (insert link http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Exercise/study-sports-drink-science-serving/story?id=16939249#.UMo3G4PAdkI) and don’t have a real place in a healthy lifestyle. Healthy sports drink alternatives like Owater (insert Link http://www.owater.com/unsweetened-flavors.php) or Coconut water should replace the overly marketed and fluorescent glowing offerings you’re most familiar with. Coconut water is a natural source of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorous, not to mention amino acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
- Sip it at regular intervals throughout your workout to stay hydrated, fuel your body and replace the electrolytes and minerals lost through sweat.
- Dangers of Juices & Sports Drinks. Juice is the worst hydrator because it’s packed with fructose. This fruit sugar slows the rate of water absorption, increasing the time it takes for cells to get hydrated.
If you are a more casual exerciser, a sports drink or juice may do more harm than good. These drinks are often loaded with calories, sugar or artificial sweeteners. Some contain up to 255 calories per serving and an average of 3 to 14 teaspoons of sugar. Some even contain too-high levels of vitamins. While the excess consumed passes through the kidneys, high amounts can change the way other nutrients are absorbed or utilized.
A series of studies published in the British Medical Journal concluded that of the 431 claims associated with 104 sports drinks, more than half were unfounded.
The bottom line is that fluids are an important part of any workout, just like GRIPAD gym gloves are essential to weightlifting. Drinking enough fluids protects the body like GRIPDAD weightlifting gloves protect your hands.
(courtesy of Kelly Liston of ohlardy.com)
Healthy Sports Drink
Coconut water (not from concentrate)
Lemon and/or lime
Healthy pinch of unrefined Sea Salt
Raw Honey (a teeny bit if you like a sweet drink – we think it is delicious without)
Basil (a leaf or two, chopped)
Fill your water bottle with ice and top off with the coconut water. Squeeze an entire lemon or lime into your drink and top it off with a healthy pinch of salt. Add the basil and shake it up to combine (be sure to put the lid on first, ha!)
You may wonder why salt is added if coconut water is already a source of sodium. While coconut water is loaded with potassium, the levels of sodium just aren’t sufficient to replace the sodium lost during a high intensity/endurance work out.