What to drink before, during and after a workout

What to drink before, during and after a workout

Written by: Jenna Lo

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How you decide to fuel your body can impact your workout performance and recovery. Many problems can result from not drinking enough fluids, the most common being fatigue. In just one hour of exercise the body can lose more than a quarter of water, leading to dehydration, muscle fatigue and loss of coordination. When the body loses water, it will turn to getting energy from muscles. This leads to a lack of energy and muscle cramping.

Not only does drinking adequate amounts of fluid for your workout reduce chances of fatigue and cramping, but there are other benefits to making fluid replacement a priority.

These benefits include:


  • Maintained concentration and performance
  • Increase in endurance
  • Prevention of excessive elevations in the heart rate and body temperature

Sufficient hydration is not just important during a workout, but hydrating before and after a workout is equally as important. There are different types of fluid replacement, supplements, and amino acids that are recommended for before, during and after a workout. We have put together a guide to help you determine what you need to drink for your workout schedule.

Before your workout

It is recommended to start drinking 1.5 - 2 hours before your workout. Pre-workout aids help improve your performance during a workout session. By increasing your energy and stamina, you can maximize your strength. Here are some effective ingredients to look out for when choosing your pre-workout drink

Caffeine

  • While mostly associated with coffee, it’s also found in green tea, black tea, and many foods and beverages
  • As a pre-workout beverage, it activates your nervous system and increases power output
  • Recommended dose: 3-6 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight is an effective dose for a pre-workout drink

Citrulline malate

  • An amino acid that improves blood flow, blood supply and the quality of muscle oxygenation
  • Improves physical endurance and helps you reach target sets and reps before getting exhausted
  • Recommended dose: 6-8 grams

Beta-alanine

  • Another amino acid that has a positive effect on exercising muscle tissue
  • Aids muscle tissue directing by modulating the acidification of muscle tissue during exercise
  • Improve muscle metabolism during intense exercise and endurance sessions

BCAAs

  • Stands for Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
  • The most critical amino acids for building muscle
  • Most suitable as a water-soluble powder or liquid so that your body can absorb them quickly during a workout session
  • Increases muscle mass
  • Improves energy and endurance in marathon runners and other types of prolonged exercise

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During a workout

Water and electrolytes are the two main components you need during your workout. While they are simpler than other amino acids and supplements, the benefits are scientifically proven. Rather than a complex workout supplement or sports drink, water and electrolytes are what you need.

Water

  • Dehydration reduces your endurance, causes discomfort, and affects your motor and cognitive skills
  • Water is the best drink for during your workout to replace lost fluid and satisfy thirst
  • Natural, free, and readily available

Electrolytes

  • Electrolytes are essential to help your body retain fluid during excessive exercises
  • Important for more intense or prolonged exercise where your body needs to replace electrolytes that are lost through sweat
  • Keep joints lubricated, maintain your energy, and reduce dehydration and fatigue

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After a workout

Post-workout drinks can help you maximize your recovery and gains. After you use energy during your workout session, it’s important to fuel your muscles afterward. Here are some of the most recommended supplements to put in your drink after your workout.

Creatine

  • Essential to improve muscular performance and increase muscle mass and strength
  • To enhance absorption rate, mix with fruit juices or any sweetened beverage containing fructose (not including soda)

L-Glutamine

  • An amino acid that regulates the synthesis of proteins
  • Activates a signaling pathway that is responsible for promoting muscle growth

Protein

  • The most common supplement to help repair muscles after a workout
  • Proteins can help repair any common minor cell or tissue damage incurred during a workout
  • Can drink a protein shake before or after a workout

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Conclusion

It is important to keep the body hydrated for before, during and after a workout. When engaging in physical activity, the body loses a lot of fluids that need to be replenished. While water and electrolytes are the two primary forms of hydration, there are other amino acids and supplements that can greatly improve your performance if taken before or after a workout. To get the most out of your workout, what you put into your body matters.

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