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Water or Sports Drink: What’s Best For My Next Workout?

 

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Water or Sports Drink: What’s In Your Bottle?

Enjoy this short video from one of my recent Cross Country Education seminars. I answer the question, “Water or Sports Drink: What’s best for my next workout?” This is a question I get a lot so I want to get right to the point. The truth is that if your training sessions or races are less than 1 hour then water will do just fine. Don’t forget liquid calories add up very quickly. This can be a big problem for some athletes. A bottle of sports drink is around 300 calories. So, you can easily nullify your 30 minute treadmill workout by consuming a bottle of sports drink. I see it happen all the time. If weight loss is one of your goals, skip the sports drink when possible.

I would begin to consider a sports drink in workouts lasting over an hour. Stored carbohydrate in your muscles (glycogen) start to become noticeably depleted after 1.5 hours of exercise. Drinking a sugar sweetened beverage slows the depletion of muscle and liver glycogen.  Athletes who engage in heavy resistance or endurance training lasting 2 hours + definitely could use some extra calories from carbohydrate. If you are an athlete that eats ample amounts of carbohydrate then sports drinks can be helpful.

My Experience

You should experiment in training to see what works best for you. Don’t suck down sports drink in situations where you really don’t need it. This teaches your body to become more reliant on carbohydrates plus, as mentioned above, it is not good for weight maintenance athletes. To give you a personal example. Yesterday, I went out for a 3 hour run and only consumed one bottle of sports drink and one bottle of water. I probably had a total of 30 oz of fluid on this 20 mile run.

Comment and let me know what you had to drink in your last workout.

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1 Comment
  1. American Beverage Association , ABA Communications says:

    As this piece suggests, beverages, including sports drinks, can be enjoyed as a part of a sensible dietary balance. Importantly, these products come in an array of calorie counts and sizes and can be integrated into a healthy, active life. We would also add that bottled water provides a convenient, portable option for busy people to hydrate on the go. The major takeaway? Moderation in all things is key.

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Learn the exact steps I used to become a 9x Ironman finisher, ultramarathoner, and Boston Qualifier. Take the guesswork out of race-day nutrition.

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