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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it better to drink water or a sports drink while exercising?

    I usually bring a water bottle to the gym but I notice that a lot of my friends like to drink powerade or gatorade. Which is better if any?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Samantha Robertson

    Exercise Physiologist, Massage Therapist

    Currently on maternity leave. I specialise particularly in musculoskeletal rehabilitation (my thesis investigated exercise and chronic knee pain), though I have extensive experience in metabolic, … View Profile

    There's a bit of mixed evidence on this thus far. The typical advice given in this area is water is acceptable for hydration for activities up to 60-90 mins; after that sports drinks may be warranted. This may not however be necessary. Prof Tim Noakes has researched the subject extensively and basically believes sports drinks are money making gimmicks (have a look at his work on overhydration). Evidence aside, you need to consider whether you can afford the additional calories in sports drinks- they can sometimes be counter productive in your weight control efforts; as well as the additional cost of sports drinks vs water.

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    If you are a regular gym goer than water is more than enough to keep you hydrated. Sports drinks are designed to assist elite athletes with their rehydration during events lasting more than 90mins.

    If you are aiming at bulking up, you could have a sports drink on hand during a session to give you the carbohydrates you need, but if your goal is to lose a bit of body fat, than I would suggest water.

    For more expert advice, visit your local Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), you can find one at

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