Hi guys, this is Elayne Geba and I’m here today to talk to you about what you should be drinking before, during and after you exercise or run.

This came about because I’m training for the half marathon and I bought sports drinks for my longer runs. I found that I would hit a wall and have to stop and walk. I looked into my training program, and I realized the problem might be coming from the sports drinks. So, I researched to find the best things to drink before, during and after my workout.

What NOT to Drink

There are pretty obvious things to avoid: caffeine (coffee or tea), alcohol, which can dehydrate you, and drinks with a lot of sugar, like soda or fruit juices with more than 8% sugar content.

That leaves us with water and sports drinks. However, sports drinks do have a lot of sugar in them. A 32-ounce bottle of Gatorade can have as much as 56g of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends women only have 25g of added sugar a day and men about 37.5g. So, one of those big Gatorade bottles could be double the amount of sugar you should have in a whole day.

What Does Your Body Need?

Before and during your work out, you need to rehydrate. You can do that through water or sports drinks.

After your workout, you need to replenish your electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts and minerals that help with muscle contraction, nerve impulses, fluid balance and they make energy in the body. It’s very important to replenish them. Check out Hina’s post from last week on electrolytes and headaches.

What should I drink?

Water is the best thing to drink before and during your workout. It will be absorbed into the system quickly.

Your body starts to deplete electrolytes if you exercise over 60-90 minutes. That’s when you might need something like a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes. However, if you switch over too quickly, your sports drink could hinder your performance instead of enhancing it.

Sports drinks have glucose in them, which will immediately raise your blood sugar. In response, your body drops your blood sugar very quickly. That drop in blood sugar can cause you to go into a hypoglycemic state where you feel sluggish, dizzy, lightheaded and like your muscles aren’t firing properly.

You won’t have a spike in blood sugar if you drink water. So you shouldn’t drink a sports drink if you haven’t depleted your electrolytes.

If you do need a sports drink after your workout, you might look into one with less sugar, or drink only half of it and mix it with water to minimize your sugar intake.

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