Skip The Sportade To Burn More Fat

Skip The Sportade To Burn More Fat
Photo by José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune / October 9, 2011

It’s hot out there! Make sure you stay hydrated when you workout. Pro athletes are always on TV telling you to drink flavored sports drinks - so they must do something, right? Not really. On average these rainbow colored drinks contain about 100 calories per serving. Most bottles are 2.5 servings. That totals almost as many calories as you just burned on the treadmill for 40 minutes.

Pro endurance athletes need to replace the calories with sugar and salts during longer events because they want to stay on that fast burning carb energy and not use the slower burning fat energy. Fat can’t be metabolized at race pace to fuel the muscles to sustain maximum effort. But even top performers won’t deplete their electrolyte or glycogen stores until after an hour of intensive activity. However, unlike elite athletes the average gym class hero wants to burn the fat - so unless you're running a marathon, drinking sugar-water is counterproductive.

If you absolutely can't get enough fluids without drinking neon colored power juice - it's better than nothing. Just be aware of the extra effort needed to burn those extra calories.

But you don’t like water you say? If you aren’t getting proper hydration because of your disdain for life sustaining H20 - low sugar and all-natural sport drink alternatives do exist. Fruit juice or unsweetened tea is a good choice. High in antioxidants green tea also contains a natural fat-burning enhancement called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This antioxidant inhibits the breakdown of norepinephrien, the neurohormone that speeds up the metabolism. This is why green tea is a common ingredient in natural fat-burning supplements. The caffeine will give you a nice little energy boost as well. Add a little honey if you require sweetness.

If you’re experiencing too much of a blood sugar drop post workout there are other ways to avoid the bonk. Reach for a natural sugar pick-me-up such as a piece of fruit, a yogurt, or a low-sugar protein bar after your session. Bananas have been shown to be just as effective for sustaining the performances and electrolyte balances of hard-working athletes. And with extra benefits like fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, they do more for you than that “Sportade” will.

Josha Krueger is a NSCA-CSCS certified personal trainer, an AFPA Sports Nutrition Consultant, and owner of Kru Strength + Fitness.

Filed under: Exercise, Nutrition


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  • Great advice, skip the power aid, stick to water, not only do you not need the sugar/calories, but its better for the environment.

  • I agree great advice, people need to face the facts about the intensity of their workout.

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