Thirsty before hitting the gym? The question of what to drink before a workout has long been up for debate. Everyone has their pre-exercise ritual, whether it means chugging down a sports drink or not eating or drinking anything for fear of negative side effects during exercise. Yet, regardless of the diet we follow pre-exercise, most of us are unsure of what really is the best before we head to the gym.
To add to the confusion, the beverage industry has inundated us with a plethora of energy and sports drinks that claim to be improve performance and increase endurance. It is easy to get caught up in the hype and choose a drink without really knowing if it will actually help or harm you exercise regimen.
One thing that is for certain is it is important to stay hydrated during exercise. Keeping well hydrated allows you to replenish fluids lost as you exercise, preventing you from getting dehydrated, which can be deadly if severe. The best way to avoid dehydration during exercise is to drink fluids before, during, and after your workout.
The only question that remains is what drink is the best choice. The key is to keep an eye on the nutritional labels when perusing the beverage aisle of the grocery store. Sugar and fat can slow down your workout by giving you a sugar crash, cramps, nausea, and even diarrhea, so high amounts of these nutrients should be avoided. Electrolytes like potassium, sodium, and magnesium are lost from your body when you sweat so drinks that contain them may be a good way to either prevent the loss from being too great or to replenish what you have already lost.
Here are, in no particular order, the best and worst drinks to fuel your workout.