Despite Gatorade’s slogan “Is it in you?,” do you really need it in you? The answer really depends on the intensity and duration of your workouts as well as your diet.
If you look at the Gatorade website or the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, of course you need it in you because it is essential to fueling and hydrating your body before, during, and after a workout.
In fact, they encourage you to consume Gatorade at any time throughout the day when you are thirsty, instead of grabbing a bottle of water or anything else.
Be cautious! If you are not exercising strenuously, Gatorade could be just adding empty calories to your diet and could lead to weight gain if you aren’t carefully monitoring your energy balance (food intake compared to energy expenditure).
Yes, it will replenish your electrolytes and give you carbohydrates, but if you are exercising at vigorous intensity for only a short period of time or moderate intensity, you are most likely consuming enough electrolytes, carbohydrates, and calories in your diet to cover your losses and refuel it.
Most of the time with light exercise or a short training session, water will be able to meet your hydration needs.
All in all, you need to consider your diet and the intensity of your workout.
If you are simply exercising lightly, have a short training session, or are on a recovery day then water will most likely meet your needs.
Consider drinking a Gatorade when you are exercising for longer than one hour and don’t have many breaks to rehydrate or are exercising in extreme weather conditions like high humidity or heat.
If you must have Gatorade but are not exercising vigorously, consider diluting the Gatorade so it is equal parts water and Gatorade.
Below is a list of a few examples to help you decide if its necessary to drink that Gatorade.
Choose WATER when:
Sitting at home or doing any other sedentary behavior
You are exercising lightly or on a recovery day
You’re walking your dog, on a relaxed bike ride, or just got done running a short distance
Choose GATORADE when:
You are competing in a sporting event lasting longer than an hour
Participating in an endurance race lasting longer than an hour
You are exercising in extreme environment conditions (heat, humidity, cold…)
You are limiting your energy intake (i.e. wrestlers for weigh-ins)
Your diet is deficient in calories, carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, or chloride (which is extremely rare!!!)
There’s more to come on information about sports drinks, so stay tuned!
For now, happy training!
Jim and The Core1 Crew