If you’re in the middle of a training session or competition and feel your energy crashing, having an energy drink or sports drink on hand can be a great solution to pick you up and keep you performing at a high level.
Sports drinks come in many different formulas using different quality ingredients, which some good for you and some not so good for you. Knowing the key ingredients to look for can help you pick a sports drink that fits your needs.
Let’s take a look at the top 11 ingredients you should consider when selecting your next sports drink.
As you train and your body sweats and you’re going to lose electrolytes that are required to maintain proper muscle contractions and neural function. So, finding a sports drink with electrolytes is key to maintain a high level of performance. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, as well as phosphate and bicarbonate.
Most sports drinks today include sodium and potassium (the two most important electrolytes), which should put you pretty well off. If you can find one that has additional electrolytes, you’ll be that much better off and ahead of the game.
In order to stay energized, carbohydrates are the thing to look for. Carbohydrates provide glucose, which is the main source of fuel your muscles run on. As you use up your glucose stores, it is vital that you replenish them by consuming easily digestible carbohydrates. Without enough energy for your muscle to run on your performance will suffer and you may experience what is often referred to as hitting the wall.
One word of caution on carbohydrates is to watch the amount of simple carbohydrates (sugar) you consume. Too many simple carbohydrates can cause a negative affect on energy levels, with a quick spike in energy then a crash, leaving you feeling more tired than before. To maximize your performance, look for a higher quality carbohydrate source such as Karbolyn or another high-quality carbohydrate.
You’ll often find B-vitamins in energy shot types of drinks as these are key nutrients that foster the energy release process. Without enough B-vitamins, your body is not able to effectively convert carbohydrates into usable energy, so it’s essential to get them in.
L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is utilized to make adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and keeps you alert as well as dopamine, which can help to reduce stress. Both of these responses are key in optimal performance. Additionally, L-Tyrosine can help increase attention and fight fatigue in endurance performance.
L-Carnosine has been shown to enhance oxygen delivery to muscle tissue and allow cells to undergo more stress from physical activity while increasing muscle strength, endurance and helping to speed up recovery. L-Carnosine has also been shown to be a powerful anti-oxidant. Including L-Carnosine in your sports drink will going a long way in boosting performance.
Another ingredient that’s great to have in your sports drink is L-Carnitine. This amino acid helps promote more effective fat metabolism to boost energy and allow you to train at a higher intensity level longer. In addition, it can also help to keep you more mentally alert and focus to ensure your mind is focused on your performance throughout your training session.
The addition of L-Citrulline helps with blood vessel dilation and increase circulation or blood flow and along with it the delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. This increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles helps the body work more efficiently, reduces the feeling of fatigue while it works harder.
Coenzyme Q-10 is made in all cells in our body and is vital in making adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy source for your body. Coenzyme Q-10 supports the mitochondria in your body’s cells, which are responsible for converting fatty acids and glucose into energy. Additionally, Coenzyme Q-10 also provides antioxidant, cardioprotective and neuroprotective actions in the body. Including Coenzyme Q-10 to your sports drink can help improve exercise performance by enhancing physical stamina, strength and reduce feelings of fatigue.
With strenuous exercise comes free radical damage to the body and antioxidants can help to prevent this. Antioxidants are going to defend against free radical damage to keep your body in an optimal state of health.
Each time you perform a workout session, you create small tears in your muscle tissues. Easily digestible protein will help to protect and rebuild these tears backup, allowing you to become stronger than you were before. Additionally, for longer training sessions or competitions, protein can be converted to energy. This happens at a much slower rate than carbohydrates, which can be beneficial for endurance athletes to keep their muscles supplied with energy without breaking down their own muscles.
To quickly utilize the nutrients that your sports drink is providing you, digestive enzymes can help. Digestive enzymes ensure the body breaks down the nutrients more quickly and help you to more effectively utilize the ingredients in your sports drink.
Have a quick look at your current sports drink and ask yourself, are you getting the nutrients and ingredients you need. If not, you probably want to look at trying a new product.
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