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As a personal trainer in Atlanta, it is extremely common to see sports drinks everywhere I turn. But I don't alway feel that those drinking it are cognizant of what the sports drink is actually doing for them.
True, it is popular nowadays to have a sports drink while you’re working out. We all generally agree that they are beneficial to your workout regime, but do we really know how they work?
Gatorade was invented by a scientist at the University of Florida for their football players. These drinks were made to replace fluids and electrolytes lost due to heat and humidity during games and practices. When you sweat, you lose those fluids and electrolytes which provides energy for your muscles. They help with fatigue, post-exercise recovery, and fluid intake and retention.
So what should you look for in a sports drink?
-4-8% carbohydrates in the form of glucose, sucrose, and fructose (try to avoid sports drinks with ONLY fructose which slows fluid absorption)
-Sodium. Your sweat is salty because it contains sodium, thus, it needs to be replaced.
-No carbonation. This will most likely cause you discomfort while working out.
-No caffeine. This can cause dehydration.
Be careful to monitor the calories in your sports drink. If you are trying to lose weight, be aware that you might be consuming the same amount of calories you are trying to burn. There are no- and low-calorie sports drinks out there, and it also helps to mix them with water. About half and half.
Sports drinks are more so for longer workouts, greater than 30 minutes of intense exercise. Longer workouts deplete the body's glycogen stores, and sports drinks help replenish them. The average person working out 30 minutes a day may not need such drinks unless their sodium and electrolyte levels are low or they are dehydrated.
So are sports drinks necessary every time you work out? Probably not, unless you work very intensely for a long period of time. You should be able to replenish your body with nutrition if you're just doing 30-minute workouts.
But remember to drink lots of
WATER, WATER, WATER!
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