What Is the Best Isotonic Drink?
High-Intensity Interval Training promotes wonderful health benefits, including heart health, weight loss, higher fitness levels, and strong overall athletic performance, but these intense cardio sessions can also lead to dehydration, illness, or injury if you are not fueled properly. Isotonic drinks, more commonly referred to as sports drinks, play a significant role in the refueling process.
Did you know that when you are working out at an intense level, your body can lose anywhere from one to three liters of fluid per hour through sweat? That’s a significant amount of fluids making the potential for dehydration high. On top of that, your body also needs carbohydrates and electrolytes to maintain proper energy levels. As a result, many people turn to energy drinks to help them keep their bodies fueled and functioning appropriately. Having the right drink at hand can help combat the adverse effects of fluid loss and help you push through your session and complete a great workout.
There are several isotonic sports drinks out on the market, but which one of these sports drinks is the ideal candidate for peak performance? We are going to break down everything you need to know about isotonic drinks and how to work them into your training. More importantly, we are going to tell you what separates superior isotonic drinks from the sub-par options.
What Are Isotonic Drinks?
Not all sports drinks are made equal. There are three main types of sports drinks you will find on the market and these include hypertonic, hypotonic, and isotonic drinks. Isotonic drinks are best suited for high-intensity, short-duration workouts that rely on optimized carbohydrate release. With this being said, they can certainly be used in other types of workouts including low intensity, endurance training, and several others.
The term "isotonic drink" describes a beverage that is of similar concentration as another solution, and the solution they resemble may surprise you. Isotonic sports drinks have a similar salt, water, and carbohydrate concentration to blood, and this concentration is about 6-8%.
Isotonic drinks are made up of several vital ingredients, making them a highly desirable beverage for athletes and workout junkies alike. While the main ingredient is water, the focus of its presence in iso drinks ensures that you stay hydrated and maintain your body's fluid stores while rapidly losing fluid through sweat. Additionally, there's more than just water in these drinks; carbohydrates and electrolytes are also present. When you are sweating at a rapid rate, your body is losing more than just water. Valuable vitamins and minerals are also lost through this process. If they are not adequately replaced throughout the duration of the workout, you are putting your respiratory, muscular, and nervous systems at risk for unnecessary damage.
Second to your risk of injury or illness, nutrient depletion and dehydration will inhibit peak performance. You train hard. Don't let your choice of beverage stand between you and your fitness goals.
The Importance of Electrolytes and Carbohydrates
So, what is it that makes isotonic drinks different from good ol’ water? The mix of electrolytes and carbohydrates will make the most significant difference to you as an athlete. To understand why isotonic drinks are so important, we first need to understand what makes carbs and electrolytes essential.
Electrolytes are the combination of necessary minerals that become depleted during vigorous exercise and serve as a significant source of energy. The main components of this mineral combination are sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Electrolytes help regulate the function of muscles and nerves while also balancing levels of acidity in your blood. It's safe to say that electrolytes offer great assistance to ensure a successful workout! Finding a drink that helps to hydrate and balance electrolytes is the key to success for athletes of all kinds.
Carbohydrates are your body's primary source of energy. Of course, while you are working out, your body's glycogen stores are depleting at a much faster rate than usual. Isotonic drinks put the much-needed carbohydrates back into your body to keep your energy levels high enough to keep up with your activity level. When looking for an isotonic drink, don't fear those containing carbohydrates. These carbs are going to make sure that you are feeling as energized as possible so you can focus on finishing your workout.
When You Should Consume An Isotonic Drink
Once you've chosen your isotonic drink, it's important to determine when you should drink it in relation to your workout. Generally, it is recommended that you drink a few ounces of your isotonic beverage every 15 minutes while completing a high-intensity workout. This ensures that you are refueling correctly and are also avoiding gastrointestinal discomfort or bloating that can accompany taking in too much fluid.
It is important to note that isotonic drinks are not meal replacements. Make sure that you are fueling your body with the proper nutrients before incorporating isotonic beverages into your routine.
The Downside To Isotonic Drinks
Many isotonic sports drinks advertise restoration of electrolytes and hydration for optimal sports performance, however, many of the big brand beverages contain unnecessary amounts of artificial sweeteners and additives, specifically aspartame. Next time you are at the store, take a minute to check out the ingredient list on the back of a big-name sports drink. You may be surprised by what you find.
Sports drinks with unnecessary additives can not only cause gastrointestinal discomfort but can also lead to injury or illness if they impair your workout performance. Instead, fuel your body properly by searching for isotonic beverages that enhance your performance, not inhibit it.
Due to the number of additives and increased sugar contents, many sports drinks on the market tend to behave more like hypertonic drinks. Hypertonic drinks are classified as those with higher carbohydrate content than isotonic beverages. A higher amount of carbohydrates classifies them as more concentrated than blood, and while there is absolutely a time and place for hypertonic beverages, it’s important to note that they should not be used interchangeably with isotonic drinks.
Many endurance athletes find high-carb and high-sugar sports drinks easier to digest when they are diluted with water. The issue with diluting these drinks is that this increases the amount of water in the drink, ultimately altering how fast the electrolytes and carbohydrates enter the bloodstream. For those timing their drinks with their workout, this can cause an issue.
What Is The Best Isotonic Drink?
Large amounts of sugars, sweeteners, and chemical additives can cause bloating and discomfort while working out. Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel Drink mixes with water to meet all your calorie, hydration, and electrolyte needs while still tasting good and leaving you feeling great! To make it even better, you only need to add your Endurance Fuel to your water bottle, shake, and go! Staying hydrated and healthy during your workout has never been easier.
When choosing the isotonic drink that is best for you, make sure to consider customer reviews. Expert opinions are an excellent resource but can sometimes be full of jargon. Reading reviews from other consumers can give better insight into how different drinks will work best for you.
The Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel Drink has over 1,200 5-star reviews at the time of writing this article. From CrossFit athletes to marathon runners, the Endurance Fuel Drink propels Tailwind customers to the finish line. If you’d like to read some of these reviews, you can check them out here.
The Bottom Line
So, what is the best isotonic drink on the market? Of course, you’ll have to make that choice for yourself. Let's review the factors that will determine which isotonic sports drink is the best of the bunch.
First off, you’ll want to consider quality. Ingredients that are high-quality (and pronounceable!) are important. Don't let low-quality ingredients be the difference-maker in your workouts.
Secondly, you will want to consider convenience. Choose a drink that fits best into your lifestyle and workout style. Tailwind Endurance Fuel can easily be mixed with water to create the perfect isotonic drink. Keep it in your gym bag to make sure you are never left without a sports drink when you need it most.
Lastly, your drink should, of course, taste and feel good! Tailwind products are designed to have a light and fresh flavor, so there is no overwhelming aftertaste that will leave you feeling like you need to dilute your drink. Endurance Fuel is meant to be as similar to water as sports drinks come. No sticky residue. No sugary sweetness. Just the exact ingredients you need.
Remember, not all sports drinks are created equal. Take your time in researching what is currently available on the market to find your go-to iso drink. Keep yourself fueled so you can focus on your workout and nothing else.