Long and/or particularly intense workouts require extra glucose (simple, easily digested carbohydrates) to keep the muscles moving. Even "weekend warriors" may need a little extra energy to sustain a productive workout. Whether you exercise in the morning before breakfast or after a long day of sedentary work, chances are your body would benefit from a boost of quick-acting carbs to bolster your reserves.
Since the 1960's, Gatorade (and later competitor versions, such as Powerade) has been the "go to" beverage for athletes. Gatorade, though heavily promoted by famous athletes, is not the best solution for getting ready or recovering from an intense workout. When you pound down a Gatorade, you consume: nonorganic sugar, salt, high fructose corn syrup, table salt, and artificial colors. High fructose corn syrup is a cheap, synthetically-produced form of carbohydrate derived from genetically modified corn. High fructose corn syrup has been shown in some studies to cause intense carbohydrate cravings and to promote obesity. Artificial colors have been shown in many studies to disrupt hormone levels. Clearly, Gatorade and its competitors do not offer much to enhance one's health or physical performance.
Coconut water, the "new" drink of choice for many athletes, is a MUCH better option. Coconut water is just that--the water extracted from a coconut. As a coconut develops on a palm tree, it contains mostly water. As the coconut matures, the "meat" develops. For a similar calorie and carbohydrate profile to Gatorade, you get ONE ingredient--and it comes from Mother Nature. Coconut water also contains electolytes --potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and calcium. It even contains some iron. One cup ( 8 ounces) of coconut water actually contains more potassium than a banana! Coconut water is even used as an intravenous hydration fluid in some developing countries.
As coconut water has become more popular with the American public, its availability has increased. Most major supermarkets and discount stores such as Target now carry coconut water in various sizes and flavors. Pick some up for your next pre-workout preparation.
For those athletes who train long and hard, and understand the importance of proper nutrition, the choice for optimum hydration is obvious. If you are reading this Cybex Fitness blog, chances are you care about your body's overall health and fitness. What you put INTO your body is crucial. Let coconut water help fuel your next workout or replenish your fluid losses next time you train. You may find you can turn that incline level on your Cybex treadmill up a notch...
Guest Blogger and Fitness Enthusiast