When my weight loss journey started to include running, I would constantly find myself drinking sports beverages, such as Gatorade. I would research everything I needed to know about running and part of that research included what I needed nutritionally as a runner. One of the "essential" items was sports drinks to ensure that I would replace the electrolytes I would lose in sweat. Sports drinks, in fact, do help replace electrolytes, but at a cost.
When exercising heavily, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant. So, many sports drinks have sodium chloride or potassium chloride added to them. In addition, they include sugar and flavorings to provide your body with extra energy and to make the drink taste better.
Electrolytes are important because they are what your cells (especially nerve, heart, muscle) use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. Your kidneys work to keep the electrolyte concentrations in your blood constant despite changes in your body.
Water is a perfect source of hydration even for physically active people. Gatorade is a great way to stay hydrated as well, but if you look at the nutritional information of a bottle of a sports drink, the calories and sugar content isn't much different from a can of Coca Cola. Also, they contain sodium (salt) so anyone who has been told to watch their sodium intake should limit the sports beverages they're consuming
Fortunately, there are natural ways to ensure your electrolytes aren't depleted like eating bananas or oranges. Lots of fruits and vegetables can provide you the service you are looking for in a bottle of a sports drink.
I wouldn't say, it's never appropriate. I recommend a sports drink for any physical endurance lasting longer than an hour. Water should be sufficient for any exercise or sport lasting less than 1 hour.
Many individuals trying to lose weight may find the pounds aren't coming off as much as they expect because of all the hard work they are putting in at the gym. But maybe, we are consuming too many calories while at the gym. I encourage you to replace your sports drink with good old water. It's the best way to hydrate. Sports drinks should only be limited to activities over 1 hour.
So, grab yourself a bottle of water and save yourself about 130 calories and 30 grams of sugar.
Now get out there and show yourself what your made of! Have a strong day!
Your Personal Trainer,