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Anytime a person is involved in physical activity, especially during hot temperatures, hydration becomes extremely important.    When a person works out for instance, fluids and electrolytes are lost through sweat as a means of regulating body temperature.  Failure to replace the fluids lost from sweat results in dehydration, which can  lead to harmful weight loss, as well as cramps. But with sports drinks becoming increasing popular the question that tend to be asked is,  “What’s better, water or Gatorade to hydrate the body?”

It is important to drink before, during and after a workout because exercising causes the body to lose not only fluids but also vitamins and minerals. With so many conflicting advertisements, it’s difficult for many people to discern what the best drinks are to re-hydrate the body after a workout. There are a variety of different healthy drinks to choose from after a workout, and which drink is the best choice can depend on the type of exercise.  Here are some suggestions


Water is an essential nutrient that make up approximately 80% of your body and that humans need every day. Not only does it help satisfy thirst, but it also facilitates normal, healthy functions of the body and helps to rehydrate the body after exercise.  The Mayo Clinic states that not drinking enough water after exercising can cause dehydration and fatigue. They recommend drinking two to three cups of water for every pound of weight lost after an exercise. For example, if a person weights 151 pounds before exercising but only 150 pounds after exercising, he needs to drink two to three cups of water after finishing. Water is great for after low-intensity exercises or along with food, but people who do high-intensity or long distance exercises (90 minutes or more) may need more than just water.  Until then, stick to the H2O.


Some people picture milk as a drink that’s most suitable for children. In reality, milk makes an excellent drink for rehydrating the body after a workout. According to Fitness magazine, drinking milk helps the body to recover faster from exercising. This is because it has both carbohydrates and protein so it repairs muscle tissue while quenching thirst. Fitness magazine recommends that endurance athletes get even more carbohydrates for muscle repair by drinking chocolate milk after a workout.  However, since Chocolate Milk contains large amounts of fat, I recommend this only when a post workout drink or water is not available.

Sports Drinks

The Mayo Clinic states that while water is best for some athletes, sports drinks are often necessary for long distance or endurance athletes. This is because sports drinks contain electrolytes like potassium, sodium and calcium, which the body loses during a hard workout. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking a sports drink after a workout if the workout lasts for 60 minutes or longer.  Gatorade is a blend of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, that are  found naturally in the body.  It also contains carbohydrates (sugar) that are used to help replace lost fluid  from the body through sweat during high intensity physical activity. The  National Athletic Training Association (NATA) recommends that sports drinks  should be below 8 percent in carbohydrate content.  Any more than this will  impede the rate of fluid emptying from the stomach and absorbed by the  intestine. The sodium in sports drinks enables the body to retain fluid that is  lost through sweat.  Sports drinks are a useful fluid replacement when taken as  recommended. They are high in calories to help replace energy lost during  exercise. Highly active people and especially athletes have a greater need for  fluid replacement with sports drinks in addition to water.

Coconut Water

New research suggests pure coconut water and coconut water from concentrate are as effective as water and sports drinks for rehydrating after moderate exercise.

In the study, 12 physically active men walked and jogged on a treadmill for an hour, until they’d lost about two percent of their body weight (which marks the start of dehydration). Researchers then gave participants pure coconut water, coconut water from concentrate, a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink, or bottled water— and repeated the experiment on four different days. Results showed all the beverages were equally effective at re-hydrating. Three hours after quenching their thirst, participants hopped back on the treadmill and ran until they were exhausted. It turned out all beverages restored the men’s athletic performance to the same level.

Based on the study findings, lead researcher Dr. Douglas Kalman recommends drinking coconut water to rehydrate after moderate exercise. “If you exercise less than 75 minutes, coconut water is a perfect solution,” he said.

In fact, Kalman suggests coconut water’s even more nutritious than plain old bottled water because it’s a great source of potassium.  The reality is that most Americans are potassium deficient.

Moreover, according to Kalman, some sport drinks are loaded with salt that most Americans don’t need. Sport drinks help replenish sodium and electrolytes, so they’re a good option for someone running a triathlon or doing other intense exercise, Kalman said.

This study isn’t the first to show the benefits of coconut water, other research suggests coconut water’s just as good as a sport drink for rehydrating after a workout. And some researchers say drinking coconut water after exercise is less likely to cause nausea and stomach upset than plain water or sport drinks.

Let it be noted that these results don’t imply coconut water’s a substitute for water— it’s just an efficient way to rehydrate after light exercise. Coconut water’s still a source of sugar and calories that don’t make an appearance in the plain variety. So make sure to drink enough regular water to stay hydrated during the day… even if it’s sipped out of a coconut shell.

These are all viable solutions to your hydration problem, but other than water you need to limit your intake of the other choice which my hydrate the body but contain hidden ingredients.  Let me say again, If you are participating in intense exercise I recommend water to aid in hydration before, during and after physical activity to keep the body in balance.  Sports drinks are generally  preferred over water only when exercising at a high intensity, for a long  duration of time (90 minutes) and/or in high temperatures.   Additionally, when participating  in vigorous exercise, a carbohydrate drink, like Gatorade, helps replace  glycogen stores lost during exercise. According to the American College of  Sports Medicine (ACSM), a carbohydrate replacement found in a sports drink such  as Gatorade should be used after an hour or more of high intensity activity of  lower intensity activity lasting longer than an hour. Drinking water along with  sports drinks is often an excellent combination during activity. Water should be the main fluid replacement for activities of lower intensity or duration or  during periods of inactivity and throughout the day.  Gatorade should not be consumed casually like I have seen many people do recently.  It should be used only after intense exercise lasting for more than one hour.

Carbohydrate and electrolyte levels in Gatorade and other sports drinks are what  aids in hydration during vigorous exercise. Carbohydrates are essentially a mix  of sugars. For this reason and the calorie content, it is important to recognize  that sports drinks such as Gatorade should not be consumed as regularly as water  or as the sole fluid replacement. It is intended to supplement water, not replace it. And, for many, drinking Gatorade without physical exertion is unnecessary, and possibly even worse for you than simply drinking water.

For example, a 30-minute walk is an excellent cardiovascular activity, but does  not require drinking a sports drink such as Gatorade afterwards. In this case,  drinking water will suffice. If you participate in a workout or other physical activity for more than one hour, than Gatorade might help, but for regular training sessions, water is best.

I personally don’t drink Gatorade and instead use 90X Results and Recovery formula that provides everything the body needs following intense exercise such as P90X, Insanity or Asylum.  Other than that I drink water.


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