You Don’t Need Sports Drinks, Supplements, or Expensive Sneakers

You know how football teams dump tubs of Gatorade over their coach at the end of a winning game? You should probably follow suit and dump all yours out immediately.

According to a joint investigation by BBC Panorama and the British Medical Journal, there is very little evidence that sports drinks actually improve athletic performance.

Does it really need to be in you?

Dr. Carl Heneghan and a research team at the Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine looked at 431 different claims in 104 advertisements for sports drinks, protein shakes, and athletic shoes. Heneghan and his team found that there is very little evidence to support the claims made by sports drinks manufacturers that these drinks improve performance:

“Basically, when you look at the evidence in the general population, it does not say that exercise is improved [or that] performance is improved by carbohydrate drinks.”

If you?ve been downing Gatorade or Powerade before and after your workouts, you?ve pretty much been throwing away your hard-earned cash. And it gets even worse. Along with sports drinks, the team also found that supplements and athletic training shoes do very little to improve performance. Seems you?ve been wasting a lot of cash. Don?t feel stupid; so have I.

What can we learn from these studies? That we should start downing Red Bull before we hit the court? That we should build our own performance-enhancing footwear? No! Before you give yourself a heart attack or risk building shoes that will leave your feet a mangled mess, consider the possibilities of affordable, gimmick-free fitness.

Sports drinks, supplements, and expensive athletic shoes are all relatively new inventions. Can you believe that athletes actually got fit and achieved incredibly physical feats before Nike and Gatorade even existed? It?s true; fitness existed before corporations tried to bilk you out of your money. What this new research shows reaffirms is this: that you can?t ?buy? physical fitness. Increased performance is best achieved by hard work and a proper diet, not a $150 pair of shoes or Extrme Blue Raspberry! Drink.

Rather than focus on getting the sickest gear or ingesting totally unnatural beverages, focus on stuff that matters, like how you?re landing on your feet when you run, how much protein you?re getting, how often you exercise ? stuff like that. This is the type of stuff that?s been driving athletes and physically fit people forward for a long time. This new research just further validates the importance of an intelligent approach to physical fitness.

I know people who buy all kinds of supplements and wear the latest sneakers thinking this stuff will actually give them some kind of edge, that it will get them in shape. I also know people who wear beat-up old sneakers and drink water who are in tip-top shape.

There?s nothing wrong with buying Gatorade and $200 sneakers. If you don?t put in the hard work, however, it will be all for nothing. You can improve your performance. Just put the emphasis on the ?you.?

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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