Should I drink water or sports drink for soccer?

We recommend you bring and use both as shown below so that you can hydrate properly before the activity and best replenish your fluid, glucose and electrolyte losses during the activity to maximize performance. When we lose fluids, especially during exercise, we also lose electrolytes that are involved in muscle and nerve function and glycogen (glucose/sugar), the body’s fuel. Therefore, proper intake of all three is the general formula for maintaining proper hydration and performance for extended periods.

General Fluid Requirements

• Fluids should be cold, palatable, selected based on the type and duration of the activity.

• Sports drinks should contain 4-8% carbohydrate. Drinks greater than 10% carbohydrate may slow stomach emptying, cause abdominal cramping and impair performance

Pre-exercise Guidelines

• Drink approximately 16 to 24 ounces of fluid two hours before activity

• On warm or humid days, drink an additional 8-16 oz 30 to 60 minutes before activity.

• Water is adequate for activities less than an hour as long as meals are consumed regularly

• For endurance events, training sessions longer than 60 minutes, or multiple practices a day, choose a sport drink containing four to eight percent carbohydrate (e.g. Gatorade)

During Exercise

• Depending on your sport, consume 3-6oz of water or sports drink every 15 minutes.  This equates to approximately 32 ounces per hour

• For prolonged exercise greater than 60 minutes like soccer, choose a sports drink with small amounts of electrolytes and 4-8% carbohydrates

Post-exercise Guidelines

• Immediately following activity, drink at least 16-20oz of fluid for every pound of weight lost to ensure proper rehydration

• A liquid shake with high carbohydrate content and moderate protein can refuel energy stores and maximize recovery after demanding training bouts. Consume this as soon as possible after workouts or events:

• Drink an additional 16 ounces with your post workout meal. This meal should be consumed within two hours after activity

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