About a month or so back my good friend Bardia asked me what I thought about sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade and Propel. He wanted to know whether he should drink them, and whether it would enhance his training. Before I go on to tell you about that, I want to share breakfast with you 😀
Creamy Choc-o-Coconutty Porridge
1/4 cup Instant Oats
1/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Vanilla Almond Milk
1 tablespoon Coconut Spread
1/2 tablespoon Nutella (yum!)
1 packet Stevia (optional)
Mix all ingredients in a blender and heat in microwave for 90 seconds!
I added the Stevia because it wasn’t sweet enough for me this morning; but if you don’t have a strong sweet tooth, then avoid the Stevia (it was already pretty sweet because of the coconut spread and nutella). O! I also added a little more Almond Milk because it was SUPER thick! Depends what your preference is 🙂
Okay and onto SPORTS DRINKS!
Hydration during training and exercise is VITAL! Possibly one of the most important parts of training (and life for that matter!).
Our bodies are made up of 2/3 water so you can imagine how important H2O is to our body. In fact, if our body does not get water, it will die within days – that’s how important it is!
Water helps our digestive system and helps our kidneys regulate blood pressure, filter blood, and regulate electrolytes – don’t get me wrong, that is a fraction of its power, it does a whole lot of other good stuff too!
I remember my prof saying something about drinking 1 glass of water for every hour of exercise to prevent dehydration, and allow the body to function at optimal levels.
So basically what I am getting at is that you really do not need to consume sports drinks during exercise or training. However, there are exceptions: it depending how long you’re exercising and how hot it is outside.
Let me tell you why sports drinks are so popular. Sports drinks are essentially electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals – such as sodium, potassium, phosphate, calcium, magnesium – that have an electrical charge. These charged up minerals are what cells need in order to maintain proper voltage along their membranes, as well as allow for electrical impulses to travel from cell to cell (so we can function and move). Electrolytes also regulate and maintain water in the body and balance blood acidity – but most importantly, during exercise, it allows for proper motor behaviour.
When we exercise vigorously we sweat…right? Well, sweating is what releases electrolytes from the body, so naturally, we want to replenish them by consuming more electrolytes. If we do not we might start fading mid workout, leading to low blood sodium (hyponatremia) and eventually death (if not replenished as soon as possible).
Okay, I really did not intend to scare you with that spiel. You can take a breath because you actually DO NOT really need sports drinks, unless you are exercising for extended periods of time (like a marathon), or you are exercising in SERIOUSLY HOT conditions. Water will suffice during all other times 🙂 Remember to keep hydrated before, during, and after exercise and you do not need to fear hyponatremia or death for that matter 😉