A commenter (known only as Sandbag) recently remarked about how Gatorade AM is all hype since you don’t need electrolytes, especially in the morning…

The only thing with all those yummy electrolytes is that you probably don’t need them. Especially in the morning. Mix that with all the sugar and gatorade isn’t needed by most everyone who uses it. Unless you’re losing buckets full of sweat then water and good pre/post-workout meal is enough. Don’t believe the hype.

So I thought it would help to explain my thoughts on sports drinks…

gatorade am

First off, what really irked me was the statement, “Don’t believe the hype.” What hype? Gatorade is sugar water with a few electrolytes thrown it, and it’s marketed as a “thirst quencher.” Last time I checked, drinking it quenched my thirst.

We’re talking about a drink to keep you hydrated, not miracle diet pills!

The only excitement I see with Gatorade AM is the fact that it presents a couple new flavors for Gatorade lovers to enjoy. That’s all there is to it. If that’s hype, then I welcome more hype from Gatorade!

Gatorade G2, on the other hand, does seem like hype. It’s just watered down Gatorade, but it’s pitched as “off the field hydration” for athletes. And it costs just as much – what a ripoff! But I hate Gatorade G2 so this is all beside the point.

Anyway, back to the point about needing calories and electrolytes

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re an athlete, probably a cyclist or runner. You need calories and electrolytes to keep your body fueled.

You need them at all times of the day, but especially during your workout. If your workout takes place from 5:00 to 7:30 AM, there’s a good chance you do need electrolytes in the morning!

But whatever time of day it is, if you’re exercising for over an hour, you could deplete your glycogen stores if you don’t consume any calories. Bad idea!

It would be much better to consume a sports drink and energy bars to replenish the sugar in your body before it all runs out. If you don’t, you’ll bonk, and your body will eat away at itself (typically your muscles, not fat, unfortunately.) And you’ll have absolutely no energy.

Also, if you consume too much plain water without electrolytes, you could suffer from hyponatremia. Simply put, your brain could swell up and you could die. Again, a bad idea!

gatorade endurance products

So, for athletes, I think sports drinks are a marvelous idea.

Of course, the commenter does make a good point that “gatorade isn’t needed by most everyone who uses it.” That’s true. I have never recommended Gatorade for couch potatoes.

And for general fitness enthusiasts working out for 20 minutes, 3 times per week, a healthy diet is all that’s needed. Along with a few sips of water during the workout.

(Whatever you do, avoid Gatorade G2. What a dumb idea…)

But to finish up, there are two reasons not to use Gatorade, even if you’re an athlete:

1) Gatorade contains high fructose corn syrup.

High fructose corn syrup is a bad idea, and since you can find sports drinks without HFCS (such as Gatorade Endurance powder,) you should get them instead.

2) Gatorade is too low in calories and electrolytes.

While Gatorade contains needless calories if you only work out for 20 minutes, it contains too few calories for athletes exercising for a few hours at a time.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of electrolyte sources other than Gatorade!

I suggest looking at Powerbar Endurance, Hammer Heed, or something like that instead. They usually contain about 25-50% more calories and electrolytes, and still taste pretty good.

But let me end with one final comment:

Sometimes you have to ‘believe the hype’ or you’ll end up dead from dehydration or hyponatremia!

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