Gatorade was the big success of the 90’s – a break through in managing energy and hydration during sports. But is this the right type of drink for you? Here I will cover off the difference between Hypertonic, Hypotonic and Isotonic fluids.

First, why is it important? Some types of sports drinks claim to help increase the absorption of water and electrolytes to hydrate you faster, while others claim to be packed full of energy. You will need different types at different times and points of your exercise. It’s worth noting here that if you are going to the gym for an hour – you don’t need either. You especially don’t need an energy dense, calorie packed drink that will undo any calorie loss you get from your workout. You just need water.

If you’ve ever been out on a long bike ride, however intense, and you’ve felt a sudden sluggishness and headache, you know what dehydration feels like…. when you sweat, water and electrolytes are lost – electrolytes are minerals and salts that help send messages between our brain and our muscles – and losing these could reduce performance when exercising for long periods, 3 hours or more.

Fluids that contain sugar and salts have different absorption rate in the intestines – your body can absorb the liquid more, or less, quickly depending on the concentration. If you find yourself in a situation where you are feeling dehydrated – you want drink something that will be absorbed into your body as quickly as possible. With some isotonic solutions liquid may be absorbed faster than water alone.

sports drinks

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