Hydration is Key!

What should you drink before you exercise?

It is recommended that Athletes should drink 20-40 minutes before the start time so that potential digestive problems can be avoided. Choosing a drink low in carbohydrate is important. If a drink is too high in carbs it can lead to a rise in blood sugar, which has the potential to inhibit the use of fat during exercise. This occurs when carbs are rapidly absorbed by the body, as can be the case with some drinks that contain large quantities of glucose or sucrose. For example, a 300 ml sports drink that contains 6% carbohydrates can lead to significant insulin stimulation, which has the potential to negatively affect the body’s ability to oxidise fats during exercise. Oxidisation of fats occurs when an athlete's body burns fat (instead of carbs) and uses it as a source of energy.  Weight loss and increased lean muscle mass are associated with fat oxidation, all of which are of advantage for an athlete.


What should you drink during exercise?

A drink consumed immediately before or during exercise should replenish what is going to be lost in sweat, in the shortest time possible.  It must pass quickly through the stomach, be absorbed rapidly in the intestine and should supply a limited level of carbohydrates to the body. The time a drink spends in the stomach depends on its concentration of carbohydrates. A quick passage through the stomach is possible when it contains 5% or less of carbohydrates and has the right levels of minerals. Depending on the intensity of the exercise, isotonic drinks (contains similar concentrations of salt and sugar as cells in the human body) are best for fast absorption of water. Plain water is absorbed more slowly compared to some saline-energy drinks, it is probably the worst at hydrating you. Saying that if you have been sweating intensely you should drink water rather than not drinking at all. Drinks should also be cool, especially if the temperature and humidity are high, as those drinks with a temperature below 15°C spend less time in the stomach compared to those that are warmer. However, make sure the drink is not too cold, as this can cause gastric or abdominal cramps. 


What should you drink after you exercise?

After exercise, you should ideally consume a drink that replenishes the water and minerals lost through sweating as well as carbohydrate, proteins and vitamins to help with the body’s quick recovery.  Proteins help to repair muscles and promote the recovery of protein stores and vitamins C, E and B6 all help with fatigue, metabolism support and quick recovery. Make sure you consume a drink within 30 minutes of physical exercise – this is the first step towards optimal performance in your next challenge. Dehydration affects performance, particularly during the hottest times of the year and during high load periods, when you train for many hours every day. In order to keep your body optimally hydrated and performing at its best, ensure that you are hydrating probably with the right fluid-electrolyte supplementation before, during and after exercise and avoiding any unnecessary sun exposure. 


Therefore, something like Tailwind is perfect during and after exercise but not before. 


Happy Trails

Laura x

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