In 1965 the University of Florida introduced the worlds first sports drink heavily fortified with sodium, sugar, potassium, and phosphate. Named after the schools mascot Gatorade would become the de facto training drink used by athletes worldwide for recovery.
Until recently most nutritionist advised their athletes to stick with water exclusively during competition, for hydration purposes, but times have changed with the need for carbohydrates and the refueling of electrolytes while the clock is ticking.
“Water is going to be used purely for hydration purposes,” says Brett Singer, sports dietitian for Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute.
“What sports drinks gives us is fluid, carbohydrates, and electrolytes while we are competing.”
Typically water is best used outside of competition and much for a light training day jog or walk. It is strictly used for rehydration and does not carry the benefit of helping the athlete recover quickly.
“Sports drinks have their best use during high impact activity where the athletes are being exerted for a long period of time,” says Singer.
“Any activity over 90 minutes is a good barometer for when to use a sports drink.”
For more information on Sport Nutrition and Diets contact Brett Singer MS, RD, CSCS, LD of the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute of Houston.