Sports Drinks for Athletes: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Get the low-down on why the right sports drink can be a great fuel for your workout and learn how you can make the best choice.

Today's athletes are overwhelmed with advice about pre-workout supplements, recovery formulas and sports beverages promising a better performance. The trouble comes from deciphering complicated ingredient labels to decide which fuel is best for you.

During an intense workout, your cardiovascular system, body temperature and electrolyte levels are subjected to great stress. Since your performance depends on these systems, it's important to hydrate at regular intervals before, during and after a workout.

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Today's athletes are overwhelmed with advice about pre-workout supplements, recovery formulas and sports beverages promising a better performance. The trouble comes from deciphering complicated ingredient labels to decide which fuel is best for you.

During an intense workout, your cardiovascular system, body temperature and electrolyte levels are subjected to great stress. Since your performance depends on these systems, it's important to hydrate at regular intervals before, during and after a workout.

According to The Gatorade Sports Science Institute, properly formulated sports drinks can:

1. Encourage voluntary fluid intake
2. Stimulate fast absorption
3. Promote rapid and complete rehydration
4. Improve performance

Sports drinks are recommended during strenuous training because not only are they delicious, they also deliver a high concentration of the chemicals athletes need to perform. Because water doesn't have a taste, it's not as appealing as a sports drink and often gets ignored when it's needed most. Plus, sports drinks provide sugar for quick energy and electrolytes that regulate plasma blood volume and replenish lost sodium.

So the question becomes, which sports drinks are best? Too many sports drinks have excess sugar, food dyes, and artificial flavors. Some all-natural drinks include:

1. G2 Natural Series
2. Gleuokos All Natural Fuel
3. Homemade Drink

The key to using sports drinks is remembering that they are meant for intense workouts, not everyday consumption. Be a smart consumer and check the nutrition and ingredient label to make sure you are comfortable with your body's fuel.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: GATORADE | WORKOUTS | NUTRITION | ELECTROLYTES | WATER | SODIUM | ENERGY | SPORTS | RECOVERY | SPORTS SCIENCE | STRESS | CARDIOVASCULAR | CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM | DRINKS