My super sporty husband-to-be is training to run his first half marathon. Needless to say, I’m quite proud of him. His dedication keeps me motivated to keep moving as well and ensures that I didn’t spend $120 on door stoppers (read: running shoes).
He had mentioned to me the other day how we NEED to pick up some Gatorade from Costco. At first, I was elated for such a fantastic reason to pay a visit to my favourite big box store – we’ve only had the membership for a short while and have only been able to purchase toilet paper, Mary’s Organic Crackers, almonds and kale salad mix…I even made a purchase for $22.63, as if it’s possible to walk out of Costco without spending enough money to have to take out a second mortgage – I digress, sorry. ANYWAY, it got me reminiscing of my old sports nutrition class. How many ‘g’s should an athlete spend on G?
The intention of sports drinks is to replenish electrolytes (like sodium) lost through sweat, maintain adequate hydration (also lost through sweat) and provide a carbohydrate source (a.k.a. sugar). These elements may help in improving athletic performance when engaging in high intensity activities, that includes running marathons. Basically, a high intensity activity will leave you extra sweaty and therefore is more likely to lead to dehydration. The sugar in sports drinks also provides an extra surge of quick energy to keep you going throughout your activity. Depending on the intensity of your activity, you may want to consider drinking half to one cup of sports drinks every half hour or so. Considering my guy is pretty sweaty and is running for over an hour about three times a week, it looks like I’ll be putting that Costco card to use! It’s important to keep in mind that sports drinks are costly and are also typically full of artificial flavours and colours, unnecessary calories and sodium (if you’re not burning them off and sweating it out…), so drink with discretion.
For the majority of us though, good ol’ H2O is really all we need. For a regular hour long work out at the gym, it’s unlikely you really require anything other than water to stay hydrated. Sipping on water throughout the day will also reduce the risk of dehydration during physical activity. The actual amount of fluids needed each day varies from person to person, depending on how hot it is, how much you sweat and, of course, how active you are on a particular day.