The comparison of sports drinks.

Lilly Tubbs, Staff Writer

What is your go-to drink after an intense workout? Athletes need hydration and adequate fuel for an optimal workout. Sports drinks are very popular, but how do they compare?

Sports drinks provide a combination of electrolytes and carbohydrates that replenish your body’s fluids after working out. Sports drinks can improve your sports performance by maintaining your cardiovascular and nervous systems, depending on the duration and intensity of your physical activity. Electrolytes are important to our body because they regulate our blood pressure, help muscles function, controls fluid balance, and help balance pH levels in your body.

An electrolyte contains sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Your sweat contains electrolytes, and when you exercise and sweat you lose these electrolytes, which your body needs to replenish.

Sports drinks include electrolytes, which help your muscles and nerves, carbohydrates, which help to restore glycogen levels, and water, which helps to hydrate athletes. Sports drinks are not all created equal because they have different levels of electrolytes, carbohydrates, and water.

The table below compares the most important nutritional components of popular sports drinks:

Sports Drink          Sodium          Potassium          Calories          Sugar
Gatorade G Series   110 mg         50 mg                   50                    14 g
Powerade                   55 mg          35mg                    70                    15 g
Propel                        80 mg             0                          0                       0
Coconut Water        30 mg           515 mg                 45                       0

Gatorade G Series has a good balance of electrolytes and carbohydrates that will help you maintain your fluid levels in your body when your workout is over 60 minutes. Powerade has less sodium than Gatorade and might be best for a less intense workout since it has less sodium than other drinks. Propel has little to offer athletes; it lacks potassium, which helps athletes muscles to contract. Coconut water has an overloaded amount of potassium, which your body does not necessarily need during or after a strenuous workout. Your body needs more sodium than potassium after a rigorous workout.

Sports drinks help meet an athlete’s nutrition and recovery goals by replacing lost fluids during rigorous activities. Athletes should review their go-to sports drink to ensure it is replenishing what was lost during their workouts to meet all their recovery goals.