When I was younger, I used to just drink water during and after a workout. That was fine, then. At that age, I had better stamina, and it didn’t take much to refuel me after a workout. As I got older, I realized plain water wasn’t meeting my needs. So, I did what any teen would do – I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade.

Gatorade is marketed as a sports recovery drink, but is it really the best thing you could be drinking for your workout? I don’t think any of you will be surprised that I give that a resounding NO. Let’s talk about why you should be drinking more than just water, and what that something more is.

Why do I need an electrolyte drink?

We know about the importance of hydration during a workout. You sweat, you lose water, you drink to replace it. But you’re losing more than just water in your sweat. The main thing you lose is sodium – which is why sweat is so salty. But you’re also losing potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Not only is it important to replace these nutrients in your body, your body actually requires them to move well.

Sodium and potassium work together to provide your body with energy. They also move fluid into your muscles where it needs to be for exercise. Magnesium is necessary to help ward off cramping, and calcium helps keep your bones strong, and minimize the risk of injury.

In addition, electrolyte drinks are often a source of glucose, which provides energy, and helps cut down on your recovery time. Studies show that the use of electrolyte drinks including carbohydrates can help stave off fatigue 37% longer, improve speed, dexterity, and mental alertness. Who wouldn’t want that?

Why not Gatorade?

While Gatorade is formulated to provide the appropriate balance of electrolytes and carbohydrate, it comes with a whole host of things you DON’T need in your body. Gatorade includes things like Brominated Vegetable Oil, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Colors, and Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin, none of which are great for an athlete in training. I know grabbing a bottle of Gatorade on your way to the gym is easy, but the long-term effects just aren’t worth it.

What to do instead

If you’re looking for something natural, and just as easy to grab as Gatorade, try out coconut water. It has electrolytes and carbohydrates to help fuel your workout. Alternately, consider ordering Advocare’s Rehydrate Stick Packs. They’re easy to add to a bottle of water, and are formulated to replace the minerals and electrolytes you lose during your workout. They also have added nutrients to support your post-workout recovery, and who doesn’t want that?

If you’re looking to get the most out of your sessions at Prepare For Performance, make sure you’re fueling your workouts with more than just water. If you still need to book your first session with us, don’t worry – first one’s on us! Sign up here for your FREE trial, and we’ll see you at the gym!