Thirsty, tired, or just plain bored before a workout? We’ve all been there. You head to the kitchen for something to sip on, but deciding what beverage to pick up can be tricky. If you choose wisely, it can enhance your workout. If you choose poorly, it can tank the whole thing. The guessing game ends now. Here’s the skinny on what to sip on before getting your sweat on.
Best Pre-Workout Drinks
Water: Hydration is essential throughout the day, but particularly crucial prior to physical exertion. If you’re dehydrated, everything about your workout will diminish. There’s no better fix for this than good, old-fashioned H2O.
Black Coffee: There’s some debate over this one, but gym owner, Dimitri Sonck claims that the energy boost is worth it. Coffee increases mental strength, blood circulation, and fat burning. Yes, caffeine can leave you dehydrated, so make sure you’ve had plenty of water both before and after coffee (a good general rule as well).
Green Tea: This may give you less of an energy kick than coffee, but it has more benefits, like antioxidants and tannins, which help with digestion and other issues. It also won’t leave you with the same energy crash that often comes with coffee and other caffeine-heavy drinks, explained Registered Dietician at Miraval Resort & Spa, Angela Onsgard.
Coconut Water: Angela Onsgard, R.D. suggests what is often referred to as ‘nature’s sports drink’ as a great pre-workout drink. Coconut water is probably the best of the best when it comes to pre-workout beverages. It has the electrolytes you need to sustain the physical exertion, which is particularly helpful if your exercise lasts longer than an hour.
Worst Pre-Workout Drinks
Soda: High-fructose corn syrup is a bad idea at any time, so maybe save sodas for cheat meals or avoid consuming altogether. You may enjoy the caffeine boost, but the refined sugar will leave your liver and metabolism saying, “No thank you.” The sugar can lead to stomach and muscle cramps as well.
Dairy: If you take the coffee route, resist the temptation to mix it with cream or milk. Nothing sits in your stomach quite like dairy. Your body takes longer to digest and process the fat and protein in milk, so save it for post-workout consumption, explained Onsgard.
Alcohol: Unlike black coffee, alcohol will dehydrate you without healthy perks relevant to exercise. It may give you some extra ambition, but that will vanish once your body starts exerting physical energy. At that point, your head and body will feel heavy and worn out much more quickly.
Energy Drinks: These are like soda on steroids. You’re better off avoiding energy drinks at all times, but they’re definitely not a good option before exercising. With lots of added, artificial sugar you may feel energized at first—or more likely jittery—but you’re susceptible to a devastating crash and consequently shorten your workout.
Another great pre-workout drink option is a shake. Once you load it up with vegetables, fruits, and your WellPath shake mix, you will be energized not only for your workout, but for the entire day. By taking an online consultation, you can see what nutrients your WellPath shake mix would include. Click here to learn more.
About Zac Howard
Zac Howard is a writer on The Path Editorial Team. He is a graduate of Florida State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in magazine journalism at NYU. With his passion for lifting and dieting, Zac enjoys writing about all different kinds of exercise as well as keeping up with the latest news in the world of fitness. In addition to his contributions on The Path, he is a fitness beat writer for NYU Magazine. For more of his work, visit NYUMag.com.