A Performance Mindset
That last phrase—“without sacrificing performance”—is an important point. Many athletes mix their sports drinks weak or use low-calorie sports drinks because they fear that sports drinks calories will “neutralize” the calorie-burning effect of the workouts themselves. But it’s important to keep in mind that the whole point of using a sports drink is to maximize performance, and a watered-down or sugar-free sports drink will not maximize your performance. In the long run, anything you do as an athlete that helps you perform better will also make you leaner. So if you’re going to use a sports drink at all, commit to getting the full performance-enhancing effect.
There’s a second reason why the notion that sports drink calories neutralize the calorie-burning effect of exercise is unfounded. Studies have shown that when athletes consume carbohydrate during exercise, they eat less during the rest of the day. So by using a sports drink or whatever during workouts you get the advantage of better performance without the disadvantage of increased total daily calorie intake.
Check out Matt’s book, Racing Weight Quick-Start Guide: A 4-Week Weight-Loss Plan for Endurance Athletes.