Sports Drinks Versus Pre-Workout Supplements – Which One Gives Your Body What it Needs?
If you are someone that can't seem to drum up enough energy to go to the gym, sports drinks and pre-workout supplements can help. In this article, we will discuss the benefit of sports drinks versus pre-workout supplements and which one will help you train harder and boost energy levels.
Both sports drinks and pre-workout supplements are meant to improve your endurance and boost your performance once your body is just not capable of keeping pace with the insane goals you’re trying to accomplish. They come in fancy bright-colored bottles and weirdly designed jars, though the thing that should preoccupy you is the quality of what’s inside of them.
Sports Drinks vs. Pre-Workout Supplements
Do not confuse sports drinks with energy drinks – there are some slight yet important differences between the two. Sports drinks are designed to assist you during your workouts and maximize your performance, whereas energy drinks stand somewhere in between the beverages you can drink on a daily basis for the sake of personal satisfaction and the beverages that give you more energy (they are mostly based on caffeine to provide you with the feeling of wakefulness).
Sports drinks are typically very rich in carbohydrate and electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, sodium, etc.), which play an important role in hydrating your body. If you tend to sweat a lot (which you certainly do if you exercise for more than 1 hour), you lose large quantities of electrolytes, which can be replenished by using sports drinks. Electrolytes control several important functions in the body, among which the control of muscle contractions is of the greatest importance for a successful workout.
There are three main categories of sports drinks: isotonic, hypertonic and hypotonic, all of which differ one from another in terms of the concentration of salt and sugar. However, the vast majority of sports drinks is isotonic and has between 13 and 19 grams of sugar (carbohydrates) and 80-110 mg of sodium per serving (250ml).
Pre-workout supplements are formulated to increase your strength and stamina and significantly improve your performance, as well as prepare your body to handle the ‘extra time’ after your regular workout. Their formulas are based on the essential amino acids and caffeine – the most important ingredients that help you feel awake and recover from an exhausting time spent in the gym as quickly as possible. Caffeine can also affect your weight in a rather positive way and help you lose some fat since it increases the amount of energy your body spends during every physical activity.
You need to be exceptionally careful if you are about to equip yourself with a monthly supply of pre-workout supplements, since there are dozens of products which contain illegal ingredients (amphetamine may be one of them) and just as many giving very little or no information about the amount of each of the ingredients (also known as proprietary blends).
Which Are Better?
There has been some controversy regarding the sports drinks for quite a while now. They are believed to not actually affect one’s performance and enhance energy levels and that the evidence is not reliable and can’t prove their efficacy. That being said, pre-workout supplements are a wiser choice for those looking for a tested and proven way to help them work out longer in beast mode.
Regardless of your choice, make sure you chose your products wisely. When it comes to energy drinks try to find one with as many natural ingredients as possible, avoid products that contain a lot of artificial colors and additives.
As far as pre-workout supplements go there are many products that contain nothing more than stimulants and creatine. Most of these will just give you a quick rush of energy only to make you crash and burn halfway through your workout. Try and find a good pre-workout that contains plenty of vitamins, minerals, protein and BCAA's.
Women may want to consider special pre-workout supplements made just for them. These usually contain few stimulants, less caffeine and better ingredients that help boost energy and burn fat.