By Kara Lawson
A terrific addition to my training program this off-season has been coconut water. I’ve always been a giant believer of “in-game” fuel. I used to take in a sports drink during practices and games. About three years ago, as I continued to learn more about nutrition, I decided to eliminate it. I knew to be at my best I needed to ditch the high fructose corn syrup and any other odd, unnatural ingredient. Over the last two seasons, I would sip on a mixture of water and a BCAA mix, made by Optimum Nutrition. And while the BCAA mix was extremely helpful, the water lacked the electrolytes that are so important for in game nutrition. Then, came my introduction to coconut water.
I did some reading and found that coconut water contains five essential electrolytes that help speed hydration and recovery. And the best part, it’s 100% natural.
The 5 essential electrolytes: sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus.
When I began my off-season training I started packing coconut water with me. The results have been terrific. Coconut water is an extremely satisfying beverage that immediately replenishes you. When Damien ran the Goofy Challenge in January, he packed 40oz of coconut water mixed with Optimum Nutrition’s BCAA formula for both the half marathon and the full marathon. He managed to take 30 minutes off his NYC Marathon time, where he only drank water and a sports drink.
There’s lots of coconut water brands out there. I’ve tried quite a few, but so far my favorite is Zico. They offer several mildly flavored variations including a delicious dark chocolate version.
Try replacing your sports drink with coconut water and see how you feel. If you’re a big juice or soda drinker, try using a flavored coconut water as a substitute.