When the bottle says “Sports Drink,” it’s natural to trust in the power of product labels. Unfortunately, not all sports drinks are created equally. So, when it comes time to quench your thirst and replenish your electrolytes after an intense workout, how do you choose the right one? Furthermore, do you really need a sports drink at all? To answer that, we need to take a deeper look at labels and reassess our own fitness routines.
It all comes down to the big S – Sugar that is. Our bodies are in a constant search for the stuff; after all, it does fuel our muscles and brain. But as we all know, too much sugar is a bad thing – and the same is true of calories. Part of the sports drink challenge is in understanding the true differential between the calories you burn during activity and the calories you need to maintain your body and any weight loss or muscle gain you want to achieve.
Gatorade, Powerade, Propel – they are all formulated with different sugar and caloric qualities that are designed to respond to different exercise needs. Did you just run a 5K? Pour on the Gatorade! But did you just go for a half hour jog? Skipping the Lemon Lime might be a good idea this time. Gatorade is perfect for intense exertion, but when you start to guzzle it down as a ‘healthy drink’ after just any old exercise, you’re actually undoing any positive results your workout just gave you!
The moral of the story: Gauge the sports drinks you consume to the activity you’re going all out for to get the best of both worlds. And heck, given the near magical benefits of fruits like bananas, a pre-workout snack and bottle of water might be better all around!