What do triathletes, professional football players, and weekend warriors fuel up on during an extra long workout?
Some of the answers, such as frozen pickle juice, sound a bit icky, but there is some logic here:
For some athletes, nothing says hot-weather workout savior like popsicles made from the briny, green liquid. The combination of water, salt, vinegar, and flavorings can replace essential electrolytes lost during exercise on hot, humid days. Freezing the juice takes away some of the ick-and-eww factor and adds some refreshing fun.
Most athletes will gamely pucker up for improved performances, and pickle juice in liquid form is gaining popularity as well.
The maker of Pickle Juice Sport, a dill-flavored sports drink promoted as a way to prevent muscle cramps, says it supplies several dozen teams and more than 100 pro athletes. Philadelphia Eagles head trainer Rick Burkholder credits natural pickle juice with a win over the Dallas Cowboys when on-field temperatures reached 109 degrees at Texas Stadium during the 2000 season opener.
What you need to know:
To re-energize during and after a workout, one does not necessarily have to purchase expensive processed products. The body needs easy to absorb carbs, and athletes described in the article have even used simple solutions such as sugar cubes or salty potatoes.
Research shows that some natural food options can be more nutritionally effective than heavily-marketed sports drinks, energy bars, and gels. Many are more cost effective as well.
Most of us, who at best manage short workouts that don’t go over 90 minutes at a time, don’t even reach the physiological points that make pickle juice or costly gels a required replenishment.
What to do at the supermarket:
So don’t splurge on costly stuff. You need a combination of carbs and protein. A slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter or a banana before a workout, plenty of water during and after, and a hard boiled egg or beans and salad are cheap simple options that will help you keep your machine running smoothly and economically.
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