The Disturbing Trend I See at the Gym

I’ve been spending a lot of time at my gym lately, mainly because I’m trying to build strength and endurance before I start training for my half marathon. And one thing that’s driving me a little batty (other than people who don’t re-rack weights or wipe down equipment) is seeing people (mostly men, but sometimes women) working out with a can of sugary energy drink or frozen coffee drink perched next to them.

Aside from the spillage concerns, and the smell concerns (those things smell putrid!), it seems counterproductive to drink something so high in calories and so low in nutritional value, especially during a workout when the body needs hydration in the form of water most. (Not Gatorade; let’s face it, I work out at Planet Fitness because it’s $10 a month and has treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights, and for every one person I see really working up a Gatorade-worthy sweat, ten are loafing around on the leg press.) And it doesn’t help that ads for an energy drink are plastered all over the gym, either.

I understand the need for a boost. I drink pre-workout supplements (MARKED Pre-Workout Igniter before a strength-training session and GNC GenetixHD Pro-Sculpt before cardio or a run), and I know plenty of other people who hit up the coffee pot before working out. Caffeine does help you get through a workout and helps wake you up in the morning.

But the calories and sugar found in these energy drinks and frozen coffee concoctions pretty much negate all the work these folks are trying to do in the gym. Not to mention that caffeine is a diuretic, and you will need water to re-hydrate yourself during and after workouts.

So the better solution for during workouts is water: plain, delicious, clear water. And no, I’m not a nutritionist or personal trainer, so take my advice with a grain of salt and consult your doctor or other health professional before you start taking supplements – but I’m pretty sure that most health professionals would agree that sugary energy drinks aren’t good.