A question I get asked a lot by my patients is what should I drink when exercising. Water? A sport’s drink? Which sport’s drink?
As a general rule for most people, with the duration and intensity of exercising they are doing, hydrating with just plain water is fine. The times that I choose to have a sport’s drink are when I want to not only replace the water but also replace the electrolytes (sodium, potassium , magnesium etc..) I am losing and also ingest some additional carbs to replace the ones I am burning up.
Here are some guidelines for when maybe you should consider hydrating with something other than water.
1) Continuous exercise for greater than 1 hour (for example if I go on a 3 hour bike ride)
2) Very intense exercise less than an hour (for example an cross-fit or bootcamp)
3) Conditions that make you sweat a lot (very hot, humid conditions)
Whether it is with water or a sport’s drink, it important to remember to hydrate. Especially here in southern Arizona, because it is so dry, you don’t necessarily sweat a lot so you might not notice how much fluid you are losing. I generally recommend at least a 20-24 ounce water bottle per hour but again this can vary greatly so be smart and understand your hydration needs.
Let’s say you decide that you need a sport’s drink for exercising. So which one? You guessed it. Make your own. I have a simple rule I go by. If it is neon blue, green or red and glows under a blacklight, it doesn’t belong in your body (sorry Gatorade).
The recipe below that I invented is simple, definitely a bit weird but gets the job done.
In a 20 to 24 ounce water bottle:
1) Fill halfway with coconut water (great source of potassium, good source of magnesium, sodium and will also give you a few carbs for energy)
2) Add 1 teaspoon of dulse (great source of sodium, good source of vitamins (especially B vitamins, and some trace minerals (including iron)
3) Add 1/2 teaspoon of Rooibos tea leaves (great source of anti-oxidants and has a minty type of taste)
4) Add in a tablespoon of raw agave nectar (will add a little sweetness and give you some additional carbs)
5) Fill the rest of the bottle up with water
That’s it. Simple!
As you have already probably figured out, adding the dulse and Rooibos directly to the bottle will make the drink gritty. It doesn’t bother me and I feel you get more of the anti-oxidant benefit from ingesting the Rooibos tea leaves directly rather than boiling them to make tea. Give it a try, it definitely grows on you.