You’ve been a running machine for the last 30 minutes, and for 30 minutes everyday the last few weeks. But what you’ve been seeing is that your clothes are fitting tighter than ever, “tired” is your common feeling most days. Have you taken a look at what you’re drinking lately? I know, it’s something so simple, but could be the key to what’s stalling your healthier lifestyle. Workout Momma and Blogger, Carly Pizzani, found a few drinks that could be pushing your workout plan into a halt, and some alternatives to try:
Out with the old: If it’s early in the morning or you don’t have much time to spare before your workout, it’s easy to consider grabbing a glass of juice instead of something to eat. While it may seem like a good idea to rev up your blood sugar, the insulin spike your body has to glucose hitting your bloodstream can then cause a crash in blood sugar — the opposite effect you’re trying to achieve. A recent study suggests that fasted state exercising yields more energy and better results than drinking a sugary drink before you work out.
Out with the old: It’s pretty well-known that caffeinated drinks are a diuretic, meaning they tend to dehydrate regardless of their water content. With this in mind, it’s a no-brainer to reach for water rather than coffee, right?
Out with the old: Sports drinks are specially formulated to give your body exactly what it needs while you’re working out, and when you’re recovering. They must be better than water!
Out with the old: You had a tough workout, and your gym cafe offers freshly made protein smoothies. Sure, it has peanut butter in it, but it must be super healthy if it’s a protein shake!
In with the new: If you can’t stomach eating a small snack to provide a slow, sustained energy hit for your bloodstream, then exercising in a fasted state is most likely a better option than a sugary drink.
In with the new: While it’s definitely still a diuretic, caffeine has also been shown to have a performance boosting effect on physical activity. Recent research of over 29 studies into the effects of caffeine on athletes show positive results of caffeine use with resistance training and team sports. While it may not be a bad idea to reach for a drink with caffeine before your workout, bear in mind your own personal response to caffeine; if it gives you an upset tummy, that’s not exactly conducive to a great workout!
In with the new: It’s true that sports drinks have specific ratios of carbs, electrolytes, and sodium to keep you hydrated during your workout and aid with recovery as well. Unless you’re working out vigorously for an hour or more, though, it’s unlikely you’ll need the bells and whistles that sports drinks offer, and you can help your muscles recover just as effectively with a small snack after working out.
In with the new: Read the fine print on the calorie count of those protein shakes and smoothies. Many can pack up to 600 calories, so make sure you’re not totally wiping out all the effort you just spent in the gym! Research shows that low-fat chocolate milk (with just 150 calories for a single serve milk box) is as good as, if not better than, a protein smoothie for muscle recovery!