What are YOU Drinking?

From the July/August 2014 “The Training Edge” Published by NASM, written by Doug Donaldson.

This article is a fantastic resource about our daily supposedly healthy drinking addictions.  From water to coffee the article sums up the Good, the Bad, the affect on performance, and the bottom line  on the drink.  The information is given by Adair and Kat Barefield.


The Good: Water has no calories and is easily absorbed for basic hydration needs.  It’s the ideal fluid for exercise lasting less than an hour.

The Bad: For endurance exercise and intense activity lasting longer than an hour, plain water doesn’t provide an energy source to help maintain blood sugar levels.  It also lacks electrolytes, which help with muscle function.

Affect On Performance: For individuals looking to lose weight, water should be the hydration method of choice.  During workouts, set a timer to remind yourself to drink 6 to 21 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.

Bottom Line: Drink UP


The Good:  It’s a convenient and tasty way to consume fruits and vegetables that might not be a part of your regular diet.

The Bad:  Some smoothies contain lots of sugar and calories.  For example, a medium smoothie from a popular smoothie chain contains 400 calories-and 82 grams of sugar.  To avoid surprises, check the nutrition label before purchasing or make your own at home so that you control the ingredients.

Affect on Performance:  The excessive calories in some smoothies may contribute to unwanted weight gain.  To cut sugars, choose vegetable based smoothies while on the go.  If making your own, always measure the ingredients and keep things simple.

Bottom Line: An occasional treat?  You bet.  Shouldn’t do it every day.

Protein Drinks (My Favorite)

images-1The Good: These beverages can enhance recovery and muscle protein synthesis after exercise.  A study at Baylor university in Waco Texas found that 20 grams of protein taken within one hour of exercise gave participants greater strength and fat free mass gains over a 10 week period than those who took a placebo.

The Bad:  Some protein drinks lack carbohydrates for glycogen replenishment, so they might not be optimal for recovery.  Some, however, swing the other way:  One brand contains 44 grams of sugar per serving.

Affect on Performance:  Research continues to show that recovery drinks with a combination of protein and carbs are effective at helping athletes recover and perform better, especially compared with carbohydrate-only recovery drinks.

The Bottom Line:  Great after hard workouts, but watch the calories.

Juice Drinks

The Good:  Juice drinks can provide energy and nutrient, including vitamin C, folate, and even small amounts of fiber.

The Bad:  Most juices are high in calories.  Your breakfast orange juices, even without added sugar, has 117 calories in a single cup.  Also, the naturally occurring acids in some juice drinks can act as a dental corrosive.

Affect On Performance:  Minimal.  Like many drinks, if consumed too close to physical activity, juices can cause stomach upset.

Bottom Line:  Moderation matters- try diluting juice drinks with water.

Diet Soda

The Good:  Most diet sodas contain no calories, which can save more than 225 per medium drink.

The Bad:  Drinking sweet beverages- even zero calorie soda-may confuse the body’s ability to manage calories based on taste.  Research shows that daily consumption of diet soda may be linked to metabolic syndrome, a combination of ailments including high blood pressure and abdominal obesity.

Affect on Performance:  There are no known performance benefits ( unless the drink has at least 200 mg of caffeine).  The research is mixed regarding its effect on satiety and weight control.

Bottom Line:  Proceed with caution.


The Good:  Recent studies show that moderate intake isn’t dehydrating: caffeine can boost performance.  Unknown

The Bad:  Coffee can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people.

Affect on Performance:  Studies show that a moderate amount of caffeine-equivalent to about 12 ounces of coffee-an hour before exercising can improve performance in endurance athletes.  It may also reduce the perceived effort of exercise.

Bottom Line:  Good for a quick boost.