Ask Your Trainer: What’s up with Sports Drinks?

We get a lot of questions about Gatorade and other sports drinks. Are they good, bad or indifferent?

Here’s a blog post from Emily about the why’s and why nots of sports drinks.

Sports drinks are beverages made of water, sugars, and small amounts of minerals like sodium and potassium and sometimes other ingredients like fruit juice. They are made with specific amounts of sodium and sugar to make it easy for your body to absorb. Sports drinks claim to help improve how well you perform a sport by replacing the nutrients that are lost in your muscles. The original theory, and recipes for these drinks were great.

Theory: Sports drinks give you the carbohydrates (sugars) and fluid you need to fuel your muscles and stay hydrated. You may lose large amounts of water and sodium as you sweat.  Sports drinks help make sure that the sodium that is lost in sweat during exercise is replaced. The right amount of sodium in your body helps you stay hydrated; helps with muscle recovery, soreness, preventing dehydration, and providing stamina and increased endurance during strenuous exercise.

The problem now is the over consumption, the amount of sugar, artificial flavors, and oils that go into the drinks.

Sugar- The drinks are now too high in sugar. The body cannot absorb them very well during exercise. High sugar drinks can often increase the risk of dehydration and cause bloating, nausea or stomach upset.

Over consumption-Our body really doesn’t need a recovery drink unless we are doing more than 60-90 minutes of vigorous, INTENSE exercise. They are also useful when exercising in hot weather. Right now we are consuming them before, during and after any gym session not just the intense ones, and at times even without exercising.

The good news- If you do want to consume a recovery drink to help replenish minerals, sodium and electrolytes, there are more options without the excess sugar and toxins.  Coconut water is great. If you cannot tolerate coconut water, then look for a recovery drink without excess sugar, dies, and oils.

Or make your own:

3 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup orange juice- pure not from concentrate juice, freshly squeezed is the best.

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix, chill and serve

Makes four servings. Per 8 ounce serving: 50 calories, 14 grams carbohydrate, 160 milligrams sodium.

Options 2:

12oz of Water

3 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Pinch of Finely Ground Sea Salt

Add in your flavoring (smashed fruit, etc…)