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How long do you need to exercise before you recommend drinking a sports drink? — FoodFit User

Richard Cotton


With activities of greater than 90 minutes your bodyís carbohydrate stores will begin to deplete. Sports drinks can help slow the rate of depletion and improve performance. For your everyday workout, water is all that is necessary. Drink about eight ounces 20 minutes before your workout and take in another four ounces every fifteen minutes during exercise. After exercising, drink another glass or two to make sure you are fully rehydrated.

Think about this: At 50 calories per eight ounce serving, drinking eight ounces before, 12 during and 16 ounces after, youíre consuming 225 calories of sports drink. With four workouts per week and 52 weeks a year, youíll have racked up to 46,800 calories. At 3,500 calories per pound of fat, thatís 13 extra pounds gained DURING exercise. Stick with the water during your everyday workout.

About Richard Cotton

Richard T. Cotton is the chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Richard oversees the ACE's studies and evaluations on fitness products and serves as the ACE's media spokesperson for these studies and other health and fitness issues. He has written numerous articles on health and fitness-related topics such as the importance of certification and safe and effective exercise techniques.

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