There are few things more important when it comes to fitness than proper hydration, which can only be achieved by drinking the best, most hydrating drinks.
And yet, despite this commonly believed truism, doctors estimate that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
For this reason, it's important to remember, both in terms of proper workout performance at the gym and proper workout recovery after the gym, hydration and nutrition are key.
With so many healthful options out in the market today, there is no reason not to achieve both at once.
The Most Hydrating Drinks Out There
Allow me to recommend the most hydrating drinks as well as the most nutritious drinks available to you.
Some will be curveballs, so stay on your toes!
This one may seem understandably unconventional but hear me out.
You might be thinking "Chocolate milk? What am I, a toddler? I'm not drinking that."
But did you know, that research has shown that chocolate milk is as good at rehydration and restoring your body's glycogen levels as Gatorade?
It sounds insane, but the reasons are actually simple.
The things you need most after a workout are water, protein, and simple carbs and sugars. Chocolate milk has all of those!
It's 87% water, has good sources of protein, fat, and carbs, from all the dairy, and plenty of sugar from chocolate! It's actually the perfect concoction.
It is quite heavy in the stomach though, so you might want to save this one for after your workout.
Juice - really, any kind of fruit juice - is an ideal drink before or after a workout.
This is because, one, juice has a high water content so it's very hydrating, and two, it's high in carbohydrates, which you need for energy both during and after your workout.
The only downside to juice is that it is pretty high in sugar most of the time, so it should only be had in moderation.
Otherwise, though, it does almost all of the things chocolate milk does minus the milk proteins.
This makes it a good choice for those amongst us with a lactose allergy.
Also, what it lacks in protein, it makes up for in folic acid, which is one of the crucial amino acids required to repair damaged muscle and build new muscle fibers.
Just remember to look for 100% natural juices with no added sugar.
Coconut water is another unconventional choice for some people, but it's one of the most hydrating drinks on the market.
This is because coconut water is chock full of electrolytes - such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium - and research has found that coconut water is as good or better than water for rehydration.
As an added bonus, coconut water is also high in antioxidants and has even been shown to help keep your cholesterol down.
And because it's a much lighter drink, coconut water is a good option pre- or post-workout.
For those of you that experience nausea during or after a workout, you need not fret.
It's a common issue, and it's one that kombucha is here to solve!
Kombucha, if you aren't familiar, is a type of fermented tea that is made by combining tea with what is known as a SCOBY, a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.
I know what you're thinking. "That sounds gross, why should you drink it?"
Well, this SCOBY, which looks like a gelatinous monstrosity, actually turns your tea into an amazing nutrient-rich, hydrating drink with awesome probiotic effects.
All the bacteria in kombucha is great for your gut biome, which should aid in your post-workout nausea, particularly if you're a runner.
We all know that feeling when we push ourselves too hard and want to vomit, but kombucha is here to save the day, all while hydrating us and pumping us up with great vitamins and minerals in the process.
None of us are strangers to the effects caffeine has on your body, and every day the anti-caffeine lobby grows stronger.
Chances are, you've heard from someone that caffeine is a diuretic, that it has dehydrating properties.
But you'd be wrong, as research has repeatedly shown that yes, caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, but it has little to no effect on hydration.
This is good news for those of us that want an extra boost in the gym that don't want to risk our safety.
I'd stay away from energy drinks with a lot of added sugars, but if you use an energy drinks with good, natural ingredients, it can be one of the most hydrating drinks available.
At the end of the day, when it comes to hydration, nothing beats water.
It's an elemental part of life as a human being on Earth.
The planet is mostly water (and increasingly so, unfortunately) and our bodies are mostly water.
The bottom line is, we need it. If any of the drinks I've mentioned above are hydrating, it's because at the end of the day, they contain water.
Of course, this doesn't mean that water has to be a boring, one-trick pony.
There are plenty of water brands out there that have added benefits on top of hydration.
There is water with probiotic benefits, as well as water high in assorted vitamins and minerals. If you're looking for a hydrating drink with a dual purpose, I wouldn't write off water. There are so many options.
The fitness drink market is filled to the brim right now, and the benefit is that you can find a choice that is perfect for you.
If any of the aforementioned drinks feel seem like a good fit, I'd recommend checking out our shop, where we have a variety of hydrating drink options that will be perfect before or after your workout!