Gatorade and other Sports Drinks are pretty popular these days. Its not uncommon to see people at the gym guzzling the stuff down. I’m going to pose a question to you sports drink drinkers…
Do You Really Need It?
Are you wanting to lose weight? Run as faster 10km? Gain some muscle? Firstly, let me make it clear that as an athlete, Sports Drinks are an essential part of my games and trainings, I definitely need them. They replace what I lose in electrolytes and really do help my body uptake fluid more efficiently. However, the average person needs to think twice before fueling up during their workout. You need to ask yourself if a Sports Drink will help you reach where you want to be.
The most common goal I hear when working with people is weight loss. The way to lose weight is to push the energy balance into negative. Energy out is greater than energy in. Now, for the average gym goer who does cardio a few times a week and lifts a bit, Gatorade is simply not helping your energy balance. Water should be enough to replace your fluid losses. It should be noted that Gatorade and Sports Drinks are specially formulated to give athletes a boost of blood sugar, some ready made energy, and a means by which to rehydrate much faster and hence, perform better. But if you ask most people who have set weight loss as their goal, they don’t really care about their performance. Remember: different goals call for different strategies.
Have a look at the following food label:
Pic from dietfacts.com
If you consume one bottle of Gatorade you are pumping in 125 calories. No it’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but if all your are doing is going for a light jog on the treadmill, you will be lucky to burn that off, and the fluid you lose from this type of training can easily be replaced with water.
Assess where you are at (Yes I know, boring answer and not very definitive, but that is basically the fitness industry…individuality). If you are in training for a fun run you want to do and are training frequently, then a Sports Drink would be a perfect way to supplement your training, getting fluids back faster and more efficiently, speeding your recovery and hopefully allowing you to train harder and enhance your performance.
If your sole goal is weight loss, then I wouldn’t recommend drinking a sports drink. It’s calories that you simply don’t need. Water will do fine for most situations regarding weight loss. However, if you find you are training extremely hard, and are often fatigued and aren’t bouncing back from your training, then a sports drink could be for you, and will probably help you in your quest. As I mentioned above, different goals call for different strategies. You need to be informed. If your goal is weight loss, it may be working against you.