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Best sports drinks in 2022

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Sports drinks can be a healthy hydration alternative to water, if you know what you’re looking for.

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For decades the sports drink world was dominated by two names: Powerade and Gatorade. Today, these two companies still fill store shelves to the brim, but they face more and more competition every day.

Small beverage companies and start-ups have started to capture the market with niche sports drinks targeted at specific activities and different types of exercise, such as runners or cross fit enthusiasts. And then there are niches within niches – like Nuun endurance tablets – make exceptionally specific sports drinks offers.

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Even as a certified personal trainer with a lot of education in sports nutrition, sports drinks have always felt overwhelming to me. There are so many and they all claim to do different things. There are also trade-offs to consider: should I drink the one with sugar to stay all natural or should I go for the one with sucralose to keep calories down?

Using my own knowledge and the contributions of other fitness professionals, I have delved into over 50 ingredient lists to find out which sports drinks are best for particular purposes and types of training. The result is this guide to the six best sports drinks for endurance training, CrossFit, low intensity exercise, weightloss, muscle building and supporting a all-natural diet.

Nuun

Holly Roser, personal trainer and owner of a fitness studio, told CNET that Nuun is the ideal sports drink for hydration and energy, in her opinion. “Made only with electrolytes and caffeine, these little tablets are easy to put in your water and turn it into a soft drink,” she says, adding that they are perfect for morning runs due to the caffeine content.

The entire Nuun product line promises to help you achieve grueling workouts, but Nuun Endurance is specially formulated to support you through a sweat session of 90 minutes or more. It is widely used by marathon runners, triathletes and other long distance athletes, for professional and recreational purposes.

Each tablet contains 15 grams of sugar, 380 milligrams of sodium, and 200 milligrams of potassium, as well as chloride, magnesium, and calcium. Together, these ingredients prevent cramps and keep your muscles moving during long workouts.

I have used Nuun Endurance in my training for long distance races and it hasn’t disappointed me yet. I usually only use it for runs of 8 miles or longer, but I also pulled out a tablet when I felt I needed a boost of energy for a shorter run.

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Liquid IV

Let’s do a little math here: What do you get when you have a gym in a warehouse, subtract the AC, add summer temperatures, and multiply by one of the most intense fitness programs around. The answer: sweat. Lots of sweat.

A lot of sweat means a lot of electrolytes lost, and Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier says it can help replace what you lose through sweat. According to Liquid IV, one packet of Hydration Multiplier powder is equivalent to drinking three bottles of water because of something called Cellular Transport Technology – I don’t necessarily doubt the claim, but I take it with a grain of salt.

That said, the formula for Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier is rooted in a medical therapy developed by the World Health Organization called Oral Rehydration Salts.

The Hydration Multiplier is not medical therapy, but since it is closely based on a hydration solution that has been used by major healthcare agencies for decades, I have no doubts that it can replenish even the most energetic CrossFitters. sweat.

According to Liquid IV, salt, sugar, potassium, vitamin C, several B vitamins, and of course water come together in the right amounts to deliver nutrients to your bloodstream faster than water alone. . It is also gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO and vegan.

Propel

Low-intensity exercise, like easy walking or cycling, doesn’t really require a sports drink. less than 60 minutes.

However, sometimes it is nice to sip on a flavored drink. And if you are planning on doing that, you might as well choose one with health benefits. Propel has been around for a while (since 2000) – it’s actually part of the Gatorade family. It has probably stood the test of time because it tastes great and has zero calories.

Propel revamped its “fitness water” in 2019 with the launch of Propel Vitamin Boost, which contains the same amount of electrolytes as the original Propel but also contains vitamins B3, B5, B6, C and E.

Vitamin Boost has two grams of sugar, but I’m in favor of that over the original Propel, which uses sucralose and acesulfame K for sweetness. I also love that Propel Vitamin Boost is free of colourants or colourants – it’s one of the only big name sports drinks out there.

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Ultimate

Lipsa Shah, Certified Personal Trainer and Yoga Teacher, recommends Ultima Replenisher as a sports drink for those looking to lose weight because it is sugar and calorie free.

“I turn to Ultima when I have a long day of teaching hot yoga in a 100+ degree room and training personally,” Shah told CNET. “Electrolytes are essential for muscle function and allow you to do your best and [Ultima] gives you that without the calories. “

Ultima Replenisher does not contain sugar or artificial sweeteners – it is sweetened with stevia – and the first ingredient listed on the powder sachets is magnesium citrate, which is a good indicator of how good this product is. Magnesium is one of the electrolytes lost through sweat; whether it is the first ingredient on the list means that it is the most prevalent ingredient by volume in Ultima Replenisher.

Ultima powder also contains calcium, zinc, manganese, chloride, potassium, sodium and phosphorus – all essential nutrients that must be replenished after a good sweat.

Powerade

Powerade has just launched new products for the first time in over a decade: the brand’s latest new product was the Sugar Free Powerade Zero in 2007. The new Powerade Ultra targets people looking to build muscle and strength – with its creatine formula, it should help you do that.

Powerade Ultra contains the same electrolyte formulas as other Powerade products (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium), but it also includes branched chain amino acids and creatine.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so they are essential for new muscle growth. BCAAs have a different structure – a branched chain structure – which makes them more bioavailable. Research shows that consuming BCAA supplements can increase muscle protein synthesis (the process by which muscles grow) by up to 22%.

Your muscles naturally produce creatine, but studies have shown that creatine supplements effectively increase muscle growth in the short and long term. The International Society of Sports Medicine has called it “the most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.”

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Harmless harvest

We become super natural here. No, not supernatural – Great natural, as in the most natural drink you can drink during exercise and at the same level as water.

Finding an all-natural sports drink is difficult, as most are loaded with artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors. Even sports drinks that don’t contain it are still made in factories or labs and infused with minerals that might not be as bioavailable as those found in natural products.

Shah recommends Harmless Harvest Coconut Water for those looking for a truly natural alternative. While not explicitly marketed as a sports drink, Harmless Harvest Coconut Water contains the ingredients you should look for in a sports drink: sugar, sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The only real ingredient on the bottle, however, is organic coconut water. Coconut contains all of these minerals without needing to be fortified.

“It contains all of the electrolytes your body needs without any artificial ingredients,” says Shah, who tries as much as possible to stay away from processed foods and drinks. “Not only does coconut water hydrate, it helps your muscles and reduces aches and pains, and coconut water is better than most energy drinks I’ve tried in the past.”

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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.