There are a lot of options when deciding what to drink before, during, and after a workout. If you go by what is advertised to you, you'd be drinking Red Bull before a workout, coconut water during, and Gatorade afterwards. But most of us know that most of this is just marketing.
Here are the basics:
FOR MOST OF YOU, DRINK WATER.
Unless you're training for a competition or working out intensely for over an hour, water is the answer. Good food and water will get you great results, and you really don't need anything else - on average. Big Lou likes to drink coffee in the morning before a workout - otherwise, he sticks to water. You want to be eating properly before and after a workout and stay hydrated - that is the key. We all know that water is important. But let's recap.
Over 60% of our bodies are made up of water – brains 70%, lungs 90%, and lean muscle tissue 75%.
Blood, which carries oxygen and disease fighting cells and diffuses waste, is almost 83% water.
We need to replace close to 10 cups of water daily, either by drinking it or extracting it from the food we eat.
Water performs a lot of important tasks
Helps Weight Loss: Water helps the release of fat by-products.
Mental Performance: Water helps power the brain.
Disease Prevention: Water helps detox the body and maintain cell health.
Energizes muscles: Water helps keep the balance of electrolytes in the cells, essential for healthy muscle.
HYDRATION BEFORE WORKOUTS
Make sure you are drinking water throughout the day. Try and drink at least two glasses of water before a workout - one within an hour and one right before. Do not wait to be thirsty. Thirsty means your body has begun to dehydrate. For those of you in cold climates, don't hold back. Your body is using energy to keep itself warm - and also using water to cool back down.
HYDRATION DURING WORKOUTS
On average, drink 8 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise. This doesn't have to be all at once. Also, this is just an average. Once you start making water a regular part of your workout routine, you'll notice more thirst - AND MORE SWEAT! This means your body is getting more efficient at cooling, detoxing, and digesting the water.
For athletes and those exercising intensely for over an hour, you may need to add carbs to your drinks. Stay away from sports drinks with too much sugar. You'll want a drink with some carbs and sodium. You can always dilute the drink with water as well.
HYDRATION AFTER WORKOUTS
Drink at least 2 glasses of water immediately after your workout. Within the hours following your exercise, continue to drink water periodically. Remember, you are burning calories and using energy well beyond your workout, your body still needs water. Drink beyond your feeling of thirst. You are working towards replenishing all the water lost and then some.
If possible, weigh yourself before and after your workout for a week to get an estimate of how much water you tend to lose. Make sure you are drinking MORE than this weight in water. For building, you'll want to follow up your workout with a protein shake which will give you everything you need - water, vitamins, minerals, protein, aminos. This should be followed by a meal of lean protein and complex carbs once you've cooled down and your body is ready to focus on digesting solids.
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