What are Post-Workout Drinks and Do You Really Need Them?

What are Post-Workout Drinks and Do You Really Need Them?


Here are the fast facts on post-workout drinks, why you need them, and how much fluids you have to drink after a rigorous exercise session

Staying hydrated is crucial for your overall health, but it is something you have to be extra mindful of after a tough workout session. This is why everyone, from coaches to fitness influencers, promotes them. But to help you cut through the noise of product endorsements and confusing jargon, we’re here to break it all down in simpler terms. Read ahead for everything you need to know about post-workout dehydration and the best ways to rehydrate afterward.

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Post-workout dehydration

Post-workout dehydration

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As you would already know, we lose water through sweat when we exercise, but what you may not know is that you lose water at a higher rate than you are replenishing it during hard exercise. With this, you run a high risk of dehydration.

Research shows that post-workout dehydration is common, and it is something that must be addressed since this condition can negatively affect your endurance and strength. Hydration is especially important for athletes and people who exercise more than once a day since it plays a vital role in performance, injury prevention, and recovery. And although exercise is a happy hormone hack, failing to rehydrate properly after a workout can still negatively affect your mood and cognitive performance, as well as result in fatigue.

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So, your overall well-being only stands to benefit from proper post-workout rehydration. What does this mean? Well, everybody’s body is different, but in general, you should drink much more than what you lost through sweat to restore fluid balance. Besides volume, you also need to take into account sodium concentration for rapid rehydration. But don’t do this all in one go—you have time within the next few hours after your workout to rehydrate with extra fluids and additional electrolytes.

Post-workout rehydration

Post-workout rehydration

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But what are the right fluids to drink after an intense workout session? There are plenty of options, but these are the three beverages in particular we’d suggest: Water, coconut water, and amino acid-based, sugar-free oral rehydration solution.

First things first, you can’t go wrong with plain water, but research shows that just drinking tons of water after a workout won’t necessarily restore fluid balance. That’s because by drinking more water, you’d urinate more. Nevertheless, drinking plain water is effective enough if you eat solid food along with it. The food you eat needs to have enough electrolytes, so opt for healthy eats like leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

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Luckily, water isn’t the only option we have to restore lost fluids. Another way to fast-track your post-workout rehydration is through coconut water. One study shows that coconut water promotes rehydration and supports subsequent exercise on a similar level to plain water, while another study noted the benefits of fresh young coconut water on whole-body rehydration after exercise. Coconut water as a whole can be quite healthy since it contains much-needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, for example.

Lastly, you can also look to amino acid-based oral rehydration solutions for rapid rehydration. Oral rehydration solutions are particularly relevant to athletes who go through intense amounts of physical activity. These are reportedly more beneficial for blood electrolyte outcomes and result in fewer cramps compared to carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages and distilled water. Your oral rehydration solution should also contain little to no sugar to prevent energy crashes.

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Final takeaway

Post-workout drink

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All in all, proper hydration after workouts and physical activity is essential. To make sure that you’ve restored your fluid balance after sweating it out, you should ingest extra fluids and electrolytes, whether it be through a combination of plain water and healthy food or supplemented with an oral rehydration solution. By remembering to prioritize rehydration after your workouts, you can optimize your recovery, maximize your performance, and bounce back faster.

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