The energy drink industry is a raging market, estimated to be worth $ 18.3 billion in 2021. Energy stroke the market suffers comparatively, but for energy drinks like Monster, Red Bull, Nos, Bang and others, the market is extremely competitive, which constantly drives marketing innovation.
However, since energy drinks are often found right next to the sports drinks (Gatorade, etc.) in the aisles of supermarkets, as well as the energy drink companies sponsoring many athletes and organizations, many wonder if energy drinks are suitable for athletes. And that is the question we are going to answer today.
The ingredients of energy drinks
No energy drink has exactly the same ingredients. The market has seen a lot of "innovation" over the years, and by "innovation" I actually mean ingredients that are on the label. Energy drink cans proudly state that they contain heaps of guarana, or taurine, or ginseng, green tea extracts, energy supplements, ad nauseam.
But in truth, while energy drinks often contain these ingredients, the main the ingredient is often caffeine and sugar. In really, really high amounts. Now, the energy explosion from caffeine and sugar could be good for focus, like a homework study session. And in this case, you would like to do some research energy drinks to concentrate. But for sports performance? This is an other story.
On average, energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull contain around 160 mg of caffeine, more or less depending on the flavor of the brand. For example, Monster markets “Monster Energy Zero” at around 130 mg of caffeine, or “Monster Java Monster” at around 180 mg of caffeine.
Other brands like Spike Energy Drink contain 350 mg of caffeine per can and carry a warning label to "never exceed more than one can per day".
For comparison, your average cup of homemade coffee contains around 95 mg of caffeine.
But it's not really the caffeine that's the biggest problem. Medical experts say that around 400 mg of caffeine per day is quite safe for most adults and some people (like me) probably drink about 8 cups (black, sugar free) of coffee per day.
The main concern with energy drinks in addition to high levels of caffeine are sugars and additives. They're basically ultra-caffeinated carbonated drinks, so you're basically drinking a bottle of Coke, with all the sugars and carbs, with a giant scoop of pure caffeine thrown in in a good measure.
The effect of energy drinks on athletes
So with all of this nutritional information out of the way, are energy drinks having a positive effect on athletes? The answer is simultaneously "yes" and "no", depending on the sport activity, and leans more towards "no".
Look at it this way. A huge caffeine spill in your system is obviously going to make you feel like Hercules for a little while. And for an athlete who is very committed short duration sports activities, such as a sprint or a fast cycle race, then yes, drinking 300 mg of caffeinated beverage may have a performance advantage.
But for a endurance based competition, absolutely not. Out of the question, it is even ridiculous to think so. A UFC fighter, or an NBA basketball player, needs to avoid fatigue, but they also need to stay hydrated.
Again, it's not necessarily the caffeine that's the problem. Athletes are known to take caffeine pills and other stimulants before workouts to improve endurance. The problem, as mentioned earlier, is with all the sugars, carbohydrates, high fructose syrups, and other additives in most energy drinks.
A high sugar content easily leads to dehydration, while the caffeine in energy drinks may be beneficial for an athlete, the nuclear sugar bomb is not. And as a drink after training? Out of the question.
Are few athletes sponsored by energy drinks?
Yes, many athletes are sponsored by companies like Monster and Red Bull. Many UFC athletes, for example, will wield a can of Monster after a fight. They may even seem to take a sip.
However in most cases it is entirely for sponsorship purposes, and those Monster cans are either empty or full of water. Monster literally makes “Monster Tour Water,” not sold in stores, which is simply water in a Monster can, and used for promotional purposes.
However, I paint the entire energy drink industry using Monster as an example. So it's up to you to do your research diligently and consider “sugar-free” or “natural ingredient” energy drink brands.
Don’t Be Afraid tera Ask For Clarification, Over and Over and Over Again. It’s your time, money, and most importantly, your health we’re talking about here. If you don’t fully understand something during class, ask. If you still don’t get it, ask again. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t fully grasp the concept, or you think others in the chic will get frustrated with you for taking up too much time… they probably have the same juste question. We were all newbies at one point. We’ve all been there. Learning the mechanics of certain movements like the squat, deadlift, or any of the Olympic lifts takes lots of practice and critique from a trained eye. If you need help, just ask.
CrossFit Isn’t Everything. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on building general physical preparedness ( GPP ). It is quickly evolving into a sport of its own, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be your sport or your lifeblood. A majority of people CrossFit so that they can do whatever they want : Go out, play sports, learn new things, etc. Having that GPP allows you to take on new défis. CrossFit doesn’t have to be your life. Many people CrossFit so they can have a life… and be awesome at it.
It Doesn’t Get Easier, It Just Sucks Less. The longer you immerse yourself in the suck, the less it sucks. You get stronger, build a greater aerobic capacity, and become mentally tough. All of these aspects, combined with experience, allow you to know when to push yourself and when to back off, so that you can attack each workout to the best of your ability.
You Won’t PR Every Day. Don’t mistake intensity for hard work. Even if you’re having a bad day and the intensity just isn’t there, you can still get a lot out of your time in the gym through work. Intensity and hard work are not the same thing. Don’t skip a planned session just because you don’t think you’re going to kill it and leave everything out on the table. Not feeling too strong that day ? Something is always better than nothing.
Introduce yourself to others in the chic. How will this help you ask ? When you introduce yourself to someone you’ll feel more comfortable in the class and realize that you’re not the only one that’s new to CrossFit. So instead of feeling totally nervous and awkward holding a PVC pipe overhead, you feel a little bit more at ease and focus more on what you’re doing.
Keep a journal. Write down the warm-up, the skill, the WOD, and your results. This will greatly accelerate your progress. We often do workouts and lifts based on weights and reps that we have previously done. If you don’t know which kettlebell to use because you never recorded the weight you used last week, then you end up picking the wrong weight. Write stuff down and be able to reference it.
Listen to the Coach. He/she is there for a reason. They spent time studying the subject matter. They have coached hundreds to thousands of people on these movements. Your buddy that watched a couple of Youtube films is not lateral to that.
Firebreather. Beast. Rock star. You’ll hear a lot of different terminology used to describe those athletes who kill every workout, and blow everyone else away. Here in our gym, we consider every one of our athletes a rock'n'roll star. Hey, it takes huge cojones just to show up and do these insane WODs. Be proud of yourself and what you accomplish here. We sure as hell are.
Walk into any box ( that’s CrossFit speak for the gym itself ) and you’ll be greeted by clanging weights, clouds of chalk and whiteboards scribbled with acronyms like “AMRAP” and “EMOM. ” With insider speak that almost qualifies as its own language and raw, rough-around-the-edges spaces, CrossFit can definitely be intimidating to try. And even though many of the 10, 000 affiliate gyms offer your first workout free, beginners may still feel overwhelmed by the culture of the popular strength and conditioning program.
So what should you really expect if and when you dive into the world of CrossFit ? We turned to five athletes who’ve sweated through years of WODs ( aka workouts of the day ) for the advice they wish they’d gotten when they first started.
“Each culture, expert and [workout] space is very different, ” says Anna Willard, a CrossFit athlete at CrossFit Merrimack in Lowell, MA, as well as a former professional middle-distance runner. ( She snagged a world record in the steeplechase in 2008, but no longer competes. ) She recommends trying out a couple of different boxes before committing yourself — and your credit card — to one. “Don’t necessarily go to the place that is the most ‘convenient, ’” Willard says. Look for that one gym that’ll keep you coming back — so take note of each box’s programming ( aka the structure of workouts ) and study the overall vibe of the community before ponying up for a package.