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I see lots of people drinking sports drinks like they are water. I think it’s a bit funny that people that workout for 45-60 mins then drink a sports drink after their session.

But really, the only people that should be drinking these drinks are people that have been working out at high intensities for extended periods of time – like 90 mins + (think half marathon, marathon, Olympic distance triathlons and above).

When you are exercising at this level you need to replace your lost fluids and electrolytes (like sodium and potassium), quickly.

Let me start by letting you know what is in a Sport Drink (you know the ones); sugar (about 6-8%), electrolytes, minerals and sometimes added vitamins and in most cases added colours.

They are designed to help athletes top up their blood sugar levels with the carbohydrates (sugars), which can help to delay fatigue – but again, this will only be effective if working at high intensity for long periods of time.

If you are doing a regular workout, you are way better off drinking water to hydrate yourself and to replace any fluids you lost through sweating.

If you are one of the ones drinking a sports drink after your 60 min workout, it might be time to try something else. You don’t want to waste all your hard work by drinking sugar water (which will turn to fat). The sodium in sport drinks will actually make you thirstier, so that you drink more – more sugar!

If I am working out for longer than 90 mins – it might be a triathlon training session or race, or a long run, I still won’t reach for the sport drinks. I prefer the most natural electrolyte drink coconut water.

Coconut water is a drink that is creating a buzz in the health food market and even with celebrities. It isn’t just thirst quenching, it’s rehydrating and therapeutic.

Coconut water is the liquid found inside fresh young green coconuts, which are harvested when their nutritional levels are at their highest.

Coconut water is full of natural goodness. It contains natural vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, antioxidants and potassium. It’s because of this combination of nutrients that it provides a range of healing properties.

Coconut water is a great alternative to sports drinks and soft drinks. It’s virtually fat free, very low in sugar, cholesterol free and packed full of natural electrolytes. And one more benefit – it can help to increase the body’s metabolism naturally! Bonus!

Coconut water is also great to add to green smoothies too!

So next time you workout, make sure you grab a water to rehydrate, unless you are exercising at a high intensity for a longer period of time. You don’t want to waste all your hard work!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Water is best to rehydrate – even Olympians don’t buy these sports drinks but have a mix which is specifically made for them as their doctors know what they will need to replenish and mix it in with their water to rehydrate them.

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  • This was truly enlightening to read. I was one of those who thought these drinks were good after a workout, not that I ever drank them, I also thought they were good for gastro sufferers to replace lost body nutrients. Maybe I’m wrong?

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  • I have never purchased sports drinks. I don’t think I need them.

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  • I don’t drink sports drinks because I don’t need them. Hubby on the other hand needs the drinks to stop him cramping!

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  • Can’t say I’ve ever had a sports drink.

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  • Coconut water taste AWFUL!
    Sports drinks are good for proper sports people or those who do lots of endurance training. But not for everyday needs.

    I prefer to drink tea as it has a lot of beneficial stuff in it.

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  • I’ve only had sports drink after the city to bay (12km fun run) when they give it out at the end. I’ve got to say it is refreshing at the end of the run. But I’ve never bought it and never had it any other time (oh except for when I did True Grit – 12km obstacle course – that took about 3 hours and they were giving it out half way through)

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  • Thanks for this information. It’s an argument I have with my son and husband regularly. It’s also difficult when my son idolises footballers and sporting personalities who are often shown drinking sports drinks — but I do remind him that they’re working a lot harder than he is. Water is best I say.

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  • I really dont like the idea of coconut water, may be good for you but…..

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  • Our dance teacher warns the girls to stay away from Sports Drinks at their performances – we need them to be fresh and hydrated so it’s water all the way.

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  • I totally agree with you. I’m showing this article to my children as they seem to think they need it after every bit of exercise they do, when water really is the best option

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  • I have the occasional one to replace fluid esp after a long run…

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  • I’ve had a midwife recommend sports drinks for when your in labor…. would you recommend drinking them in that kind of event?

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  • Sports drinks are suitable for athletes and people performing at high activity levels.

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  • Good to hear a personal trainer NOT pushing sport drinks.
    Sweat is composed of many minerals, trace elements and organic compounds including waste products. The salty taste of sweat tends to come from a combination of compounds and elements including Urea and not just salt (much like urine), yet we don’t suggest that people drink their urine to rehydrate. I think that coconut water (which can be used as emergency plasma replacement) is a far better replacement for the lost minerals and trace elements than sugary/high sodium sport drinks.

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