When it’s hot, the body sweats more to help cool itself, and depending on the temperature and humidity, sometimes it’s hard to tell how much you are perspiring. Relying on thirst alone isn’t enough, said David Roush, COO of Next Level Nutrition in Oklahoma City. To keep muscles healthy, what you drink before, during and after working out is key.
The average person should drink two cups of fluids two hours before any outdoor workout to ensure hydration before even breaking a sweat, according to WebMD. During an outdoor workout, drink 4 to 6 ounces every 15 or 20 minutes.
Water is often the best choice before, during and after workouts.
“You can never go wrong with water,” said Chad Northcutt, owner of Fit Werks Personal Training in Yukon and Fit Body Boot Camp in Edmond.
“If you work out first thing in the morning, then water is the best choice to drink. It’s too early for a protein drink or a supplement like that.”
Northcutt recommends drinking at least 8 to 10 ounces of water before a workout and to continue to sip water throughout the activity.
“A good rule is to have a wet mouth,” he said. “If your mouth dries out, you need more water. A lot of people also use protein supplements and sports drinks, which can help, but nothing is better than good, old water.”
Next Level Nutrition’s Roush said pre-workout designer drinks can also help boost energy and endurance.
“Everyone should drink water all day, but there are some really good preworkout drinks out there that can boost your energy, stamina, focus and endurance,” he said.
Because these drinks have added minerals and simple sugars, Roush said the energy is expended quickly, but adds that extra boost.
As far as sports drinks, like those designed to replace minerals and potassium, Northcutt warns that the average person doesn’t work out hard enough to expend all their electrolytes.
“Most people don’t need it,” he said.
“If you are a hard-core athlete, and you’re going to be on the court or the field for a couple of hours working hard, then yes, sports drinks are great to replace those electrolytes.”
The average person, Northcutt said, just won’t expend their electrolytes in a typical 45-minute workout.
“The extra calories can negate what you just worked hard on, though.”
For exercise that lasts an hour or more and that’s high-intensity, either a sports drink or protein supplement drink helps replace lost electrolytes in sweat.
“You would want to consider amino-based drinks during a workout to recoup,” Roush said.
While working out — especially with heavy weights — muscle fibers are stressed and broken down. To recover, both Roush and Northcutt recommended protein drinks within an hour after exercise.
“Protein is the basic building block of muscle tissue, and most people do not get enough protein during the day,” Northcutt said. “The great thing about protein shakes or drinks is that it’s an easy way to get that protein without the added carbs or calories, and they make a great recovery drink.”
By ingesting protein after a heavy workout, the body begins to rebuild the muscle tissue that was stressed during exercise.
“Personally, I recommend 20 grams of protein five times a day, whether that’s in a shake, nuts or meat,” Northcutt said.
Drinks that replenish creatine and glutamine also help the body recover from exercise, Roush added.
“You need something that will also replenish those simple sugars that are burned,” he said. “The protein drinks help replenish the muscles, but so do those simple sugars.”