There is a sports performance drink for every day of the year on the shop shelves — but which really boost your performance?
Fitness expert Nicki Waterman has found the best drink for every type of workout.
Gearing up for a big game? Sports drinks with six to eight per cent carbohydrates have been shown to give athletes extra fuel to improve high-intensity athletic workout, even if activity lasts less than an hour.
BEST BETS: Gatorade Original Thirst Quencher AND Maxifuel Viper-Active
To stay energised, marathoners, cyclists and women exercising for more than 90 minutes should reach for so-called endurance formulas.
They’re higher in sodium than traditional fluid-electrolyte replacement drinks, so they’ll keep you hydrated during long workouts. Look for those that have at least 150 milligrams of sodium per 8-ounce serving.
BEST BETS: Nectar Sports Fuel Concentrate AND Gatorade Endurance Hydration
After an intense training session, the right drink can amplify your efforts. Research shows that a sports energy drink containing a combination of protein and carbohydrates enhances muscle recovery.
This will help your muscles to recover quicker and enable you to work out again sooner than you may be able to otherwise. However, this doesn’t replace the need for rest time in-between sessions.
BEST BETS: Gatorade Perform Orange AND reduced-fat chocolate milk – it has a good ratio of carbs to protein
If you’re exercising solely to lose weight, then water is the best choice. But for those who don’t like the taste of plain water, the added flavour of low-cal sports drinks may help you stay hydrated without too many additional calories.
Look for 10 calories or less per 8-ounce serving — any higher could negate your workout gains.
BEST BETS: Lucozade Sport Lite Cherry AND Neuro Sport
Want to make your own?
- These drinks are designed to quickly replace the fluids that are lost by sweating.
- They also provide a boost of carbohydrates as its source of energy, sometimes it is better to consume isotonic drinks where the carbohydrate source is more of a concentrated form of glucose.
- They are commonly drunk by middle and long distance runners but all professional sports people use them as part of their daily training routines.
MAKE YOUR OWN
200ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled.
- These drinks are designed to quickly replace fluids lost through sweating.
- They are low in carbohydrates so are ideal for athletes who just need fluid replacement without the boost of carbohydrate.
- Best drunk after tough exercise as they replace water and energy fast by targeting dehydration which is the main cause of fatigue.
MAKE YOUR OWN
100ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled.
- These drinks are designed to supplement your daily carbohydrate intake.
- They contain a higher level of carbohydrate than both isotonic and hypotonic drinks.
- They help your body to top up on your valuable muscle glycogen stores.
- In long distance events such as marathons, hypertonic drinks can be taken during exercise to meet the high energy requirements needed.
MAKE YOUR OWN
400ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled.