It’s difficult to know what to drink when working out. Some options are better after you exercise, while others are more suitable before you hit the gym.
Everybody knows that it’s important to stay hydrated when exercising. You must replace the water you’re sweating out. Otherwise, your performance levels will drop. But there are many fluid options out there.
This guide will look at different types of drinking water and energy drinks that could help you achieve your goals. Let’s get started!
Deciding what to drink when working out.
I have included a breakdown of five different types of drinking water that are popular for working out.
Also, I included other drinks that can help keep you hydrated throughout your workout or throughout the day.
What are the Different Types of Drinking Water?
People consume a wide variety of drinking waters for a range of reasons.
It could be because of the nutrients and benefits that they offer. Or perhaps it’s simply because they prefer the taste of a certain type. Check out the different types of water below. Then you can decide what to drink when working out.
1. Coconut Water
Coconut water is one of the most popular forms of H20.
Firstly, it tastes great, especially if it’s fresh. Many people love to sip from a coconut on the beach when they’re in a tropical region. However, if this isn’t possible, you can easily find coconut water in most grocery stores.
Just check the label before you buy coconut water. It should be 100% pure. Some brands contain added sugars or other unnecessary elements.
Unlike coconut milk, the water doesn’t contain a lot of fat. Meanwhile, it offers a lot of minerals and vitamins. These include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. One cup of coconut water has 15 grams of carbs and 8 grams of sugar.
Coconuts contain a lot of electrolytes, making them a perfect workout drink. When we exercise, we lose electrolytes, and it’s more difficult to rehydrate.
Do you want to know more about how good coconut water is for you? Check out this much more detailed post all about the health benefits of drinking coconut water.
2. Alkaline Water
Over the past couple of years, alkaline water has become increasingly trendy. But what is it, and what is alkaline water good for?
In short, the term ‘alkaline’ refers to the water’s pH level. Standard tap water has a neutral pH of 7. But alkaline water has a higher pH of 8 or 9.
The proponents of alkaline water believe that it can neutralize acids in your body. They claim that it contains antioxidants and is excellent for people with severe health conditions. These include high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Alkaline water is controversial.
The Mayo clinic advocates that most people will gain more benefits from drinking regular water. However, one study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that alkaline water may improve blood viscosity.
This is the ability of the blood to carry oxygen around the body.
In sum, alkaline water may have benefits, but how effective these are, remains to be seen. There is also the possibility of side effects like nausea, vomiting, and tingling after consumption.
Do you want to read more about alkaline water and is it good to drink? Check out our detailed post about alkaline water and make an informed decision if it is right for you.
3. Tap Water
Tap water typically refers to city water or water provided by a municipality source. Below I have focused on city-provided tap water however if you have a well your water will be different and will require different filtering methods.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), tap water has to go through a 3 part process to ensure clean water. The water suppliers first filter to remove dirt and other particles. Then use a filtration process to remove clay or other natural organic matter. Finally, the water suppliers will treat with chlorine, chlorinates, or chlorine dioxides.
Fluoride is added to most sources of tap water since the mineral isn’t found in many food sources. Fluoride is beneficial for healthy teeth and bones.
Also, tap water usually contains a variety of healthy minerals like calcium and magnesium. Tap water derives these minerals naturally as it travels through rock formations.
A downside to drinking tap water is that it can pick up pesticides that have washed into streams and rivers. The water suppliers add chlorine to tap water to help disinfect it. However, it can still react with organic matter or fallen leaves to create a toxic byproduct.
Your home galvanized water pipes can contaminate tap water with lead. You can check the EPA website to find out about your local drinking water and how it is tested.
I would recommend getting a home test kit to test your city tap water or well water so you can be informed about the quality of your home tap water.
4. Spring Water
What is Spring Water and how is it made you might ask?
Springwater is collected from a naturally occurring spring. Also, it can be extracted from an underground basin or aquifer.
The spring water is naturally purified by flowing through a thick layer of limestone. The limestone with its soft texture naturally filters out the impurities in the water.
Most spring water should still be filtered or treated before being bottled. The goal should be that the minerals are not stripped out during this process.
What is the difference in spring water and distilled water?
The main difference between the two is the mineral content. Springwater has most if not all of its naturally occurring minerals.
Whereas distilled water has been stripped of its minerals through the distillation process.
Springwater is a great option if you are still deciding what to drink when working out.
5. Distilled Water
When you distill water, you turn it into its purest form. In short, this involves boiling the water into steam before collecting the vapor and allowing it to settle. The process removes minerals and impurities from the water.
One side-effect of this is that it has a flatter taste than standard tap water. I tend to avoid drinking distilled water because I find it has a more bitter taste than spring water.
If you’re worried about the risks of absorbing heavy metals, bacteria, or other substances, then distilled water could be for you.
Some people criticize it because they believe it draws minerals from your body. This is somewhat true because water draws minerals from whatever it comes into contact with. However, if you have a balanced diet, it shouldn’t be an issue.
What to Drink When Working Out if You Don’t Like Water?
Water should be the majority of what you drink during the day. However, I know some people don’t like water as much as others. Here are some other options to decide what to drink when working out in addition to water.
1. Electrolyte Sports Drinks
Many people consume electrolyte sports drinks for working out.
These sports drinks quickly replace the fluid you excrete from exercising. They also provide your body with sugars and vitamins, so your performance levels don’t drop. Popular brands include Gatorade and Powerade.
If you’re involved in high-intensity sports, these drinks are genuinely useful. But you should always check the labels before you have one.
They don’t contain a lot of carbohydrates, so this shouldn’t be an issue. However, the sugar levels can be high and vary from brand to brand. If you’re drinking them outside of exercise, be careful.
Even when exercising, it’s best to drink them alongside regular bottled water or bottled tap water.
2. Can Tea and Coffee Dehydrate You?
No, that is a common misconception. Drinking coffees and teas are actually hydrating. They should be added to your daily water intake.
Caffeine is a mild diuretic, which means that it causes your kidneys to flush water from the body through urination. The volume of water you consume still outweighs what you flush.
You can still hydrate from drinking your delicious morning brew and getting your caffeine fix.
3. Do Ready-To-Drink Shakes Count as Drinking Water?
Yes, water still hydrates you even if it is a component of something else. So meal replacement or ready-to-drink shakes are a fine way to increase your fluid consumption.
Mixing protein powder with water will still hydrate you. Just be aware that too much protein in your diet can actually dehydrate you.
While mixing these shakes with milk or juice can hydrate, it will add to your daily calorie intake as well.
4. Do Smoothies Hydrate You?
Yes, fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of water. Fruits tend to have more water than vegetables. An example is a watermelon that is 90% water. Also, oranges, grapefruit, and melons like cantaloupe and honeydew are great options.
Vegetables provide a nutrient-rich water source. The best options are celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, and Romaine lettuce. You can also find hidden hydration in soups, oatmeal, and yogurt.
5. Does Milk Hydrate Better Than Water
Yes, milk can hydrate better than water. Milk contains sugar-lactose, protein, and fat. Therefore it becomes thicker after ingestion and is slower to digest than water.
Milk being slower to digest can keep you hydrated over a longer period of time. So mixing your smoothie, protein powder, or meal replacement shake with milk can be a good idea.
I always heard that milk can dehydrate you. However, the commercials were right when they said milk does a body good.
Hopefully, I’ve laid out a few options that can make staying hydrated easier if you are not a fan of plain water. Consider one of these options next time you need to know what to drink when working out.
What Do Hydration Pills Do?
Hydration pills or powders are increasingly popular workout supplements.
The concept may seem strange because how can a pill hydrate you? However, there is a clear method behind the madness!
When you add these pills to water, it effectively turns it into an energy drink. They contain a balanced amount of electrolytes that will help you rehydrate. These include salts, minerals, and glucose. Without glucose, your body won’t rehydrate efficiently.
Many people will point out that energy drinks are cheaper and more convenient to buy than hydration pills. However, the latter contains less sugar than energy drinks and more scientific formulas.
Another benefit is that they’re better for the planet because they cut down on plastic bottle waste.
What Should I Drink Before A Workout?
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), adults should drink 17 to 20 (0.5 liters) ounces of water two hours before exercise.
Water is the best choice before a workout. However, you can also consume fruits and vegetables because these will give you some carbohydrates for energy. The likes of strawberries and tomatoes are 90% water.
It’s important to hydrate so that your body can perform at its peak.
If you don’t drink enough water before training, your muscles won’t receive the nutrients they need. Furthermore, drinking water will lower the risk of dehydration during your workout. It can potentially reduce the amount you’ll sweat too!
Energy drinks are less effective before a workout. You should consume these during and after the workout to replace lost electrolytes. Drinking before can even result in queasiness.
However, coconut water is a good option at all stages of a workout. It’s even useful as a pick-me-up if you’re feeling tired beforehand. Coffee is another great pre-exercise stimulant because it contains caffeine.
Drink a standard black coffee – not an iced frappucino – about an hour before you hit the gym. This can spike your bloodstream and enhance your performance.
What Should I Drink After A Workout?
Remember to rehydrate after a workout. This is where energy drinks and coconuts come to the fore. It’s also the rare occasion where plain water isn’t necessarily the best option.
After exercising, you should replace the lost electrolytes and recover the nutrients you’ve burnt. Many people even advocate chocolate milk because it contains calcium and magnesium. Milk also has high water content.
A 2012 study uncovered that coconut water is more beneficial than most energy drinks and regular water as a recovery beverage. However, it can cause bloating and nausea if you drink too quickly. So sit back and relax with your coconut!
If you’ve been lifting weights, or bodyweight training hard you can consume a protein shake after your workout.
The advantage of shakes is that you can add anything you want. As well as protein powder, you can include nutrient-rich ingredients like bananas, baby spinach, fruits, berries, and vegetables. As we discussed earlier shakes and smoothies are great options.
Then add the liquid you prefer – water, coconut water, or milk – and you have the perfect recovery drink!
To Conclude: What To Drink When Working Out.
I’ve learned a lot by studying different hydration methods. I hope you have learned something new about what to drink when working out. Water remains the staple in hydration but there are many ways to increase your hydration without drowning yourself with water.
My preferred method is a mixture between spring water and filtered tap water. I like to add fresh organic vegetables to a salad including kale, spinach, cucumbers, and celery. A small amount of fresh fruit with breakfast and some oatmeal.
Let me know your thoughts on how you stay hydrated and what you prefer to drink when working out.