Are Sports Drinks or Water Better To Drink During Workouts?


question-icon-newI know that I’m supposed to drink plenty of water throughout the day but I was wondering if drinking juice and sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade count as drinking water. I also wanted to know if any of these sports drinks are beneficial to use during my workouts. I have noticed there are many energy drinks on the market now. Are these better to drink than the traditional sports drinks that I’m used to?

answer-icon-newThe biggest issue with fruit juices and sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade is the amount of overall sugar and calories contained in them. A single bottle may have as much as 50 grams of sugar and over 300 calories. If your goal is to lose body fat and get lean, you definitely want to limit your overall consumption of sugar and cut way back on these sports drinks.

Liquid calories are super easy to consume and if you drink other beverages during the day, like coffee drinks or alcohol, your overall calorie consumption could even end up surpassing what you eat from whole foods. The biggest issue with liquid calories is how they are processed by your body. They flow right through your system without the need to be broken down via the process of digestion and they are usually packed with tons of sugar, like high fructose corn syrup, that wreaks havoc on your insulin levels. More insulin that is released, in order to control blood sugar levels that become spiked, results in more body fat being stored on your body. The worst case scenario could possibly be developing type 2 diabetes which results from prolonged abuse of high sugary foods and drinks over the course of many years and the end result is that your body does not regulate its own insulin correctly which can cause serious health issues.

The consumption of energy drinks is a very controversial topic that has been in the news recently. This is due to the massive amounts of caffeine and other stimulants that are packed into these drinks. The main issue is about how the high levels of caffeine affects the cardiovascular system of people who are predisposed to genetic issues with their hearts and they don’t even know it until it’s too late. There have been several cases of deaths caused by heart attacks in the last few years since these drinks have been released and made available to the public for mass consumption.

drinking-water-during-workoutsI personally had a terrible experience after chugging down 2 huge cans of a popular energy drink in a matter of about 3 hours. Even though I don’t have a heart condition, I became frightened when I suddenly felt like my heart drop off line and then start pumping again in an irregular way. Call it an arrhythmia, tachycardia or whatever, but all I can tell you is that I thought I was seriously having a heart attack and it totally freaked me out! It actually frightened me so much that I went to a heart specialist and they wired me up with something called a Holter Monitor which is basically a 24 hour electrocardiogram machine (ECG) that monitors the electricity of your heart over an entire day to pinpoint any irregularities. I walked out of the hospital feeling like a freak with wires hanging all over me and a fanny pack on my belt that held the recording device. Luckily, everything came back normal but it made me completely cut back on those high caffeine energy drinks and now I even drink decaf coffee as well.

So now that you know all about sports and energy drinks, let’s focus on what you should be drinking during your workouts and for the rest of the day. It’s called water! Yes, simple boring H2O is the way to go when you have any doubt about what to drink for the best possible results for general health and for maximizing your workouts. Water is a clean, fat and calorie free choice to drink along with being totally free of cost and super good for you. Even if you want to buy drinking water from your local grocery store, a huge 2 gallon jug will only cost you a few bucks. You can throw it in your fridge and refill your sports bottle multiple times during the day for clean hydration. If you’re really hardcore, take a half gallon jug with you to the gym and sip on it during your workouts like the pro bodybuilders do. You won’t need to wait for anyone at the water fountain line and you might even get a heads up nod from one of the gigantic mass monsters since you’re now part of the club!

Try and shoot for consuming a gallon of water per day for the best overall results and to completely flush out your system. Drinking water not only improves your overall health and helps you strip off body fat but it will also save you a small fortune from the amount of money you will keep in your pocket after you cut out all those sports drinks!

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