How do Sports Drinks Improve Performance?
If you’re training for over 60-90 minutes, then perhaps it’s time to look at your nutrition plan a bit more seriously. It’s a long time to be sweating it out, and you don’t want to have any hit-the-wall-esque interruptions like many marathon runners encounter. So, one of the easiest things to do is treat yourself to some of those vibrant-looking sports drinks on the shelves, and here’s why.
Powdered sports drinks such as Staminade contain 3 main ingredients that help to you to keep pushing on when you’re training: water, electrolytes and carbohydrates. These three ingredients benefit you and your body in different and complementary ways, and you wouldn’t last long without a top up of these. So, let’s have a look at each of them in turn.
Water, H20, the elixir of life…
Okay, you might think that last one is going a little far there, but seriously, we’d last less time without water than we would without food! We desperately need water throughout day to day life, let alone when we exercise.
As we exercise we lose water through sweat, and if this isn’t replaced to maintain the body’s water level, performance can be hindered tremendously. Dehydration of just 1-2% of your bodyweight can have significant effects on the body and mind, and when we’re dehydrated, our blood becomes thicker.
The thicker and more concentrated the blood, the harder it is for the cardiovascular system to compensate by increasing heart rate to maintain blood pressure (hence why low blood pressure can be a sign of dehydration).
A dehydrated body that is ‘pushed’ during exercise is therefore more at risk to exhaustion or collapse.
Water is clearly important, but what about electrolytes?
Well, when we exercise we lose electrolytes alongside water through sweat. Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals and compounds that help your body do some pretty crucial stuff, and certainly help with processes that are essential for exercise such as producing energy and contracting your muscles.
Low electrolyte levels can have both physical and mental impacts, such as impaired judgement, mental confusion, fatigue and muscle cramps – things you don’t exactly want when you’re pedalling away on the bike or trying for a PB in a half-marathon!
Turns out electrolytes are fairly important as well.
The Big C – Carbohydrates.
Well then, last but not least; carbohydrates. The big C. Carbohydrates are converted into glycogen stores, and as you exercise your body uses these glycogen stores for energy. If these glycogen stores run low, so can your energy levels. If you’re training for under 60-90 minutes, generally your body will be able to rely on the food you ate before your workout as fuel for your muscles. However, the longer you exercise the more these glycogen stores become depleted.
That’s why it can be handy to have sports drinks with you if you’re planning to train hard for long periods of time. Food can be tricky to take on mid-exercise; if you’ve tried to chew while panting away you’ll know it’s a struggle! So, carbohydrates in the form of a liquid are a much better option, and Staminade contains two types of sugars to help give you both an immediate boost as well as a more sustained provision of energy.
Maintaining Energy Levels
If you’re training for long periods of time, it won’t be a shock to anyone if you say you often struggle to maintain energy levels. Of course, this can simply be that your fitness or stamina isn’t quite up to much… but it also could be that you’re not quite fuelling your body in the right way. So, why not try taking on powdered sports drinks to help rehydrate you, replenish your electrolyte levels, and give you those much-needed energy boosts when training? Who knows, it may well help to give you the edge yo
You might also be interested…
Cycling and running require different levels of stamina and different muscle groups. So, which is harder on your body? Read on to find out.
We always love to catch up with Jen Darmody from Sydney Uni – Staminade about cycling and all the adventures that it brings. Here’s our recent chat.