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Nick Morgan talks about sports nutrition and
the evolution of sports and exercise drinks
o reach our full potential, no matter what our goal, surprise that they are very popular among those participating
nutrition needs to be a partner. A well-balanced or competing in sport and exercise. A key aspect of their use,
diet should provide macro-nutrients, carbohydrates, however, is that they should be incorporated as part of your
fat and protein in the right quantities. This will total energy and fl uid requirements for the day – they should
ensure we are adequately prepared prior to the onset of not be seen as an addition.
exercise, fuelled during exercise and, as efficiently as possible, Traditionally, when you mention sports drinks, people
able to recover to gain maximal adaptations from training. will think about isotonic sports drinks. These provide the
Sports drinks have a place in any nutrition strategy, energy, fl uid and hydration for endurance exercise that lasts
predominantly through the provision of fl uid and carbohydrate for 90 minutes or more. In reality, however, the sports
– two key factors needed to avoid fatigue. The drinks provide drink market is now much more diverse and has evolved
well-researched functionality in a palatable and easy to use signifi cantly to include an increased number of functional
format. Research shows that they can help users improve ingredients, claims and usage occasions. This article aims to
performance or achieve a goal, and it’s consequently of no identify a number of these key areas.
THE EVERYDAY EXERCISER and, consequently, the potential to do isotonic sports drink – swilling and then
A common goal among gym members is more in the gym, ie burn more calories. discarding – during shorter, but quite
to lose weight. As a result, many As a result, despite clear perceived intense, time trial sports like running or
exercisers don’t drink while they barriers to using a low-calorie sports cycling. It’s said that the carbohydrate
exercise, or only use water. However, in drink at the gym, it may be the best is picked up by sensors in the mouth,
a recent piece of research to come from drink for many people; the consumption resulting in a psychological benefi t
the University of Bath, it’s clear that a of 50 kcals becomes largely irrelevant, as to the athlete – they choose to run
large proportion of people begin their the end gain is potentially much greater. quicker or cycle harder due a reduced
exercise session dehydrated. An perception of effort.
extension of this work has shown that THE CENTRAL EFFECT The applied outcome of research is
those who choose to drink a low- The consumption of carbohydrate is well not, however, to start spitting out your
calorie hypotonic sports drink maintain known to improve performance in sports, drink! What the research indicates is
their hydration status better than those while depleted stores of glycogen that, contrary to the original belief that
who just choose water. (carbohydrate) in the muscle may limit carbohydrate drinks might not be relevant
Dehydration is known to decrease performance, especially when exercise is to shorter duration, high intensity
performance or physical output, but it so demanding from an intensity and/or events or training sessions – because
was interesting to note that those gym- duration point of view. Isotonic sports carbohydrate depletion is not a limiting
goers who began exercise dehydrated drinks are therefore regularly consumed factor – in fact they could be relevant on
had a greater increase in perception of due to their carbohydrate content (6–8 the basis of the psychological effect.
effort and lower feelings of pleasure/ per cent), although for the most part are Of course, actually consuming the
wellbeing compared to those who not recommended for exercise of around sports drink is preferential to spitting
arrived hydrated. Being dehydrated can 60 minutes because carbohydrate stores it out, because your muscles do need
therefore negatively affect psychological are not significantly affected. carbohydrate in the overall diet; the key is
wellbeing. The research indicated that Interestingly, a number of recent ensuring that its consumption is factored
using a low-calorie hypotonic sports studies have reported performance into the total daily energy intake required
drink could increase feelings of wellbeing benefi ts of ‘mouth-washing’ with an for any given individual.
34 Read Health Club Management online june 2009 © cybertrek 2009
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