Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Drink up

Someone emailed me about sports drinks and what would I suggest to replace Gatorade/Powerade during exercise.  When I got this email, I totally got the warm fuzzies all over.  I just wrote a paper last semester about sports drinks and if they enhance performance in endurance athletes (in comparison to water).  And the answer is, yes, they do!  So, if you're currently training for a marathon, you need to hydrate with something beyond water.  If you aren't, stick with good ole' water (and please, use a reusable bottle).

I am not a fan of sports drinks at all, for these reasons....
1.  They are high in calories.
2.  They are high in sugar.
3.  They are very processed.
4.  They are full of food coloring.
5.  They taste like kool-aid drool.  Remember drinking kool-aid as a kid?  And you'd get that weird after-taste and your spit would be slightly kool-aid flavored for the rest of the day.  That's what sports drinks remind me of.
6.  They make my stomach ache.

When I feel like I need something beyond water I use electrolyte tablets.  I ususally pop 1-2 of them with some water every hour when doing long runs. 

If you are really set on having a sports drink, Mother Nature has a solution for you. 

Coconut water is a natural source of hydration and electrolytes that in studies is superior to sports drinks in performance enhancing.  WOOT WOOT Mother Nature!  Want to hear something else really cool about coconut water?  In some parts of the world, it is used as an IV solution.  They just bag the coconut and infuse directly.  Pretty sure they don't do that with watermelon-flavored Powerade. 

McGhee likes to take coconut water with him to the gym.  I stick with plain water because I have a sensitive stomach when I exercise and I had an unfortunate encounter with coconut "juice" in my younger days.