Papaya passion fruit. Lemon cookie. Mountain grape. Combining the allure of the candy aisle with the promise to keep athletes hydrated and energized, the crop of Colorado performance foods and beverages could tempt even the casual mall-walker. But are these products really necessary?
“Most people exercising for under an hour don’t need anything other than water,” says Bonnie Jortberg, a dietician and assistant professor at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus. She advises sipping at least four ounces of water for every 10 to 15 minutes of activity—but if a workout lasts longer than 60 minutes, or if the intensity is too high to hold a conversation, then water alone may not cut it, she says.
To replace fuel and electrolytes lost during intense exercise, Jortberg recommends ingesting 60 to 100 calories (typically from quick-burning carbs like sugar) per eight ounces of fluid, and 500 to 700 milligrams of sodium (a primary electrolyte) per liter of liquid. Post workout, a high-protein snack can boost recovery, she says. But whether you’re training for a marathon or hiking a fourteener, what works best often depends on the person. “You really need to experiment and see how you feel,” Jortberg says. To assist your at-home research, we break down some of the best local offerings.