How to Drink Smart All Day Long

9 a.m. Post-Run Refresher

Your best bet: chocolate milk (or soy milk), chicken soup or protein shake

Hydration after a workout is crucial for recovery. Organs and muscles need fluid to function and recover properly. Dr. Newcomer recommends weighing yourself before and after a tough run. For every pound you've lost, ingest two and a half cups of liquid.

In addition to water, after a taxing workout you'll need a mixture of carbs and protein to refill your glycogen stores and ensure a speedy recovery. Look for a beverage with a mix of both, such as chocolate milk, sweetened soymilk or chicken soup.

12 p.m. Liquid Lunch

Your best bet: homemade or pre-made vegetable juice

Within a few hours of a hard workout, a nutritious lunch is in order. For endurance athletes, the contents of your glass are as important as what's piled on your plate. The midday meal is the perfect opportunity to take in additional vitamins and minerals needed for replenishment.

Pair an eight-ounce glass of homemade or store-bought vegetable juice with a large salad and lean protein to give your body the energy and hydration it needs. Vegetable juice packs tons of nutrition into minimal calories and makes for the perfect vitamin-dense accompaniment to a filling meal.

3 p.m. Mid-Afternoon Snack

Your best bet: cherry juice or hot tea

The hours between lunch and dinner are a common time to crave something sugary. Instead of heading to the vending machine for a candy bar, try sipping on cherry juice to satisfy your sweet tooth. One glass clocks in at roughly 100 calories and provides two servings of fruit.

Recent studies point to cherry juice as the go-to recovery drink for runners. One 2008 British study tracked athletes who drank two cups in the days before, during and after a marathon. These runners experienced less inflammation and muscle damage than the control group. McHaffie explains, "You produce a lot of extra free radicals when you work out, so cherry juice's antioxidants speed up muscle recovery."   

Those who need a little pick-me-up to combat post-lunch lulls should brew a cup of green or black tea. Hot tea can give you a caffeine boost while suppressing appetite and lending an additional dose of antioxidants.

6 p.m. Drinks With Dinner

Your best bet: water

For the athletes he coaches, David Pleto, assistant strength and conditioning coach at Florida State University, says, "We put water in front of them every chance we get." He believes that water in moderate amounts is likely all an athlete needs during the last few hours of the day.

However, if you've stayed on top of your hydration throughout the morning and afternoon, feel free to indulge in a recreational beverage. Enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner to treat yourself after a long day, while nourishing your body with the cancer-fighting antioxidant, resveratrol.

Active logoHydrate right to be ready for your next race.


Shannon Colavecchio is a writer and certified personal trainer in Tallahassee, Florida. She authors a blog, Badass Fitness, and owns a personal training business of the same name.

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