What To Drink During Workouts to Support Endurance Goals– Frog Fuel Collagen Protein

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As an endurance athlete, you know full well the importance of food as fuel. When researching what to drink to reach exercise performance goals, the focus often falls on what to consume before and after a workout, but do you know what to drink during workouts?

Any endurance or high-intensity athletes can benefit from including nutrition during their workouts, but knowing what to drink during workouts is where things can get confusing. 

Cyclists and runners often swear by gels or performance energy shots as a way to boost their performance during a workout, but what you eat or drink during a workout will vary according to your personal goals, how long you exercise, and the intensity and type of exercise performed. 

While there are overlaps in general needs for endurance athletes while they are performing exercise, remember that everybody is unique and your needs may be different. 

In this article, we will focus on how to determine your nutrition needs during a workout so you can identify what to drink during workouts, races, and extended training sessions. 

To get started, let’s discuss why it’s a good idea to drink during your workouts in the first place.  

Do you need to eat and drink during a workout? 

The short answer is, yes! At a minimum, you’ll want to hydrate every 10 minutes or whenever you feel thirsty. Water is the most obvious choice for what to drink during a workout, and for good reason. Without it, you’ll get dehydrated quickly. 

Whether you could benefit from eating or drinking during a workout depends on the length of your workout. No matter the intensity, if you are exercising for more than 90 minutes, most sports nutrition experts will recommend refueling at some point.

Spotting dehydration during or after a workout

Dehydration is a serious condition that can lead to severe illness or even death. The symptoms of dehydration depend on how severe your dehydration is but can include: 

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Less frequent urination
  • Dark urine
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Confusion 
  • Fainting

The sooner you spot dehydration, the easier it is to treat. The best way to prevent dehydration, and self-treat mild dehydration is drinking plenty of water. 

Sports drinks are a popular choice for what to drink during workouts, but be careful. Many sports drinks have dehydrating ingredients like sugar or an excessive amount of sodium. 

Check the sports drink nutrition facts before choosing one. And for athletes who have low-intensity workouts or workouts shorter than an hour, water will be better than even the best sports drink. 

Endurance athlete standing next to her sports accessories

How much to drink during and after your workout

The very best way to tell how much you should drink during and after your workout is by listening to your body. If you feel thirsty, drink some water! It doesn’t matter if you just started your workout or if it ended an hour ago. Thirst is your body’s first indicator that you need fluid, but it isn’t the only one.

The delay caused by waiting to be thirsty during a workout can mean you’re mildly dehydrated by the time you start drinking water. So as a general rule of thumb, start by making sure you’re hydrated before your workout even starts. 

Drink at least 17 oz of water about an hour before your workout, and another 6 to 10 oz about 20 minutes before your workout. 

During your workout, you should drink 6 to 10 oz of water about every 10 to 20 minutes. Remember, if you feel thirsty, it’s especially important to stop for a drink! After your workout, you should drink 16 to 24 oz of water for every pound lost in sweat. 

Should your workout drink have protein, carbs, or calories?

Usually, for endurance athletes or high-intensity workouts that extend up to 90 minutes, the recommendation is to consume some kind of carbohydrate every 30 minutes. The carbohydrates can vary but should sit within the range of 50-100 calories. 

Even bodybuilders or athletes who weight train for extended periods of time tend to benefit from some kind of energy boost mid-workout, but for each athlete what to drink during workouts will change. 

There are three major considerations when choosing what to drink during a workout:

  • The type of exercise or fitness goal 
  • The length of time you’re exercising
  • Your body type and specific physiological needs 

When looking at nutrition tips for runners and other endurance athletes, there is often a lot of concern and questions surrounding nutrient timing before, during, and after exercise.  

One thing all athletes can keep in mind is the benefit of protein. Ingesting protein during a workout can directly improve performance and recovery. Drinking liquid protein shots during workouts gives your body all the materials it needs to build and repair muscle, making your exercise even more effective.

So, identifying what to drink during a workout and how to fuel your body most effectively is far more sustainable in the long term. Let’s take a look at the three things you should consider when deciding what to drink during workouts. 

1. The type of exercise 

Even between types of endurance exercise, there will be variation in how you fuel your workouts, but usually, there is a more drastic difference between endurance athletes, bodybuilders, and athletes training for a fitness competition. That’s why your best bet for what to drink during workouts has to consider what kind of workout you’re doing.

When training as a bodybuilder, or even just doing more targeted strength training, you are focused more on building muscle and weight gain. Due to this, your body needs more protein and calories throughout the day. Bodybuilders also need carbohydrates, but not as much as endurance athletes. 

If you are training for an endurance sport like running, cycling, rowing, etc., then you’re engaging in more high-intensity mileage and exercise each week. 

Since there is consistently more of an energy output as an endurance athlete, your body needs a high level of carbohydrates and calories. Protein is also important for endurance sports but is often combined with carbohydrates. 

Those training for a competition will need a similar level of calories but it is possible you’d need fewer carbs than endurance athletes. This is usually only the case if the fitness competition is focused on dropping body fat percentage. In those cases, you will benefit more from adding essential amino acids to preserve lean muscle strength and mass. 

Evaluating the type of exercise you are engaging in and your specific goals can help you narrow down your nutrition needs and what to drink during workouts. 

During a training session, endurance athletes and bodybuilders alike reach a point when they need a boost in energy and additional support for their muscles to help fast-track recovery. 

While endurance training, or during a high-intensity long bodybuilding session, what to drink during workouts could include water and a protein/carbohydrate drink, or an essential amino acid drink. 

2. The length of your exercise 

The length of your exercise and the intensity of that exercise are imperative in deciding what to drink during a workout. 

Endurance training often exceeds more than 45 minutes, but the most commonly discussed threshold for athletes needing to refuel is 90 minutes. Within that 90 minutes, nutritionally plan to eat or drink something every 30-45 minutes

Even if you don’t feel hungry during a run or a bike ride, your body still needs fuel. The reason most endurance athletes don’t feel hungry after even 45 minutes of high-intensity exercise is that their blood is being pumped elsewhere and away from their digestive tract. 

But that doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need fuel, especially if your workout is going to be longer than 90 minutes, like in a marathon, ultra-marathon, or triathlon.  

That’s why knowing when and what to drink during workouts is essential to maintaining a high level of endurance performance. 

As you run out of carbohydrates in your body and you continue to engage in physical activity, your body will be under more oxidative stress and your post-workout recovery will take longer. There are plenty of supplements for endurance athletes to help prevent this, including supplements you can easily carry with you during training or competitions.

3. Your specific body type and needs 

While you can evaluate the type of exercise and length of each training session, every athlete is going to have different needs in terms of nutrition. Things like body mass, gender, and other physiological needs will cause some drastic variations. 

For example, an athlete who has type 1 diabetes may need to have more targeted timing in terms of carbohydrates and sugars. 

Regardless of what it is you are using to fuel your body during exercise, your goals for that nutrition should be targeted. 

The number one concern for any body type should be hydration. After that, what to drink during workouts will depend on what you’re working on. Endurance training, resistance training, and sprints all have different effects on your body, giving you slightly different needs each time.

Athlete holding Frog Fuel liquid collagen

Deciding what to drink during workouts 

As you identify and narrow down your needs in terms of nutrition, then you can start to choose what to drink during workouts or what to eat as you train. Most of the time, it is easiest to break down what you are eating to fuel your workout into two categories: protein and carbohydrates. 

Fats are important for endurance athletes, but generally shouldn’t be consumed during exercise since they’re more difficult to digest. 

Within those three categories, you also want to include amino acids. This can include taking the amino acids found in protein supplements like hydrolyzed collagen or using BCAAs during workouts. 

When consuming protein during exercise, the goal is to prevent muscle breakdown and enhance recovery. Eating or drinking protein during a workout can improve your recovery and help your body adapt to varying training regimens. 

If you eat before you exercise though, you often do not need as much protein during a workout to get the same results. For most endurance athletes, consuming anywhere from 5 to 15 grams of protein per hour is sufficient.

Choosing a protein that also has carbohydrates is the best food to eat during a workout for endurance athletes. That’s one of the reasons protein shakes are a popular choice for what to drink during workouts.

Carbs provide your body with immediate fuel and will help boost performance. Not only that but keeping up with your body’s need for carbohydrates as you exercise can help regulate your stress hormones as well. 

How many carbohydrates you consume depends on the variables we discussed earlier in this article, as well as whether the carbs are combined with protein or not. What to drink during a workout can often come down to one supplement when all of the right nutrients are there.

The maximum amount of carbs you can digest while you exercise is around 60-80 grams per hour. However, if you combine carbohydrates with protein, then you can achieve the same performance benefit with only 30-45 grams per hour. 

These rates will be easier to achieve when the carbs within the supplement are a mix of glucose, fructose, and maltodextrin as they all use different transportation mechanisms within your body after consumption. 

What not to drink during workouts

The best time to drink a protein shake will depend on your specific workout, but some things are universally true. There are some things you should simply never drink during a workout.

Beverages high in sugar – like soda pop, lemonade, or juice. Sugar is dehydrating, and refined sugars can wreak havoc on your blood sugar level. This can lead to feeling dizzy during a workout due to sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar.

Alcohol is also dehydrating and can impact your coordination. While a beer during a fun run probably won’t send you to the hospital, it also won’t help you perform at your best –  especially since carbonation in drinks can lead to uncomfortable bloating and gas.

Caffeine is a gray area. Energy drinks high in sugar should never be consumed during a workout, but other caffeine drinks could benefit your workout. 

If you’re considering caffeine as an option for what to drink during workouts, make sure to choose an option without added sugar and keep your daily consumption at or below 400 mg.

The best supplement to drink during a workout 

You can begin to narrow down what to drink during workouts by first looking into supplements that contain both protein and carbohydrates. You also want to consider the amino acid content of the protein you choose since amino acids are essential to muscle recovery.

As you consider the ingredients, since you are focusing on what to drink during workouts, you want to ensure that the supplement you choose is easily digestible. If it is easy to consume and digest, then it not only makes you more comfortable as you train but those nutrients can be distributed and absorbed by your body at a much faster rate. 

The protein absorption rate of the supplement you choose comes down to the molecule size of the protein. That’s why we recommend looking for hydrolyzed collagen, or better yet, nano-hydrolyzed collagen as a supplement. 

Frog Fuel liquid protein is a nano-hydrolyzed collagen supplement, which means that the collagen molecules have been put through the process of hydrolysis to break the protein molecules into smaller pieces. 

When collagen has been nano-hydrolyzed it has gone through hydrolysis more than once, to make the molecules even smaller and easier for your body to process. Frog Fuel’s nano-hydrolyzed liquid protein shots can help you fuel your workout and boost your recovery, all with 0 grams of sugar and only 60 calories!