5 Drinks to Avoid When Exercising

Water is life. Without it, we would barely last three days. When you get dehydrated, your muscles won’t have the ability to function normally. When it comes to exercise, proper hydration is crucial and what you drink before your workout will make a difference in your performance.

drinks to avoid when exercising

According to research from Columbia University, you should consume liquids at the following intervals for optimum effect.

  • 20 OZ Two hours before a workout.
  • 8 OZ During Warm-up.
  • 8 OZ Every 10-20 minutes based on how much sweating you do.

Not All Liquids Are Created Equal

Sticking to these numbers is only the first step, though. Drink the wrong liquid, and your workout will suffer. Here are five drinks to avoid when exercising.


Yes, I know, this one should be one of the obvious drinks to avoid when exercising. However, when you consider you need to start your hydration TWO HOURS before you work out, that beer with lunch on the weekend could turn your workout later into a hot mess.

This should also be taken into consideration if you are planning to do anything else strenuous, like yard work.


You should definitely postpone consuming any dairy until after the workout.

It takes a lot of time for your body to digest and process the number of carbs, fat, and protein that dairy contains. Consequently, your body is going to take that energy away from your workout, making it them definite drinks to avoid when exercising.

Highly Sugared Fruit Drinks

Pre-workout is not the time to kick back with a juice box. Most brands on the market contain excessive amounts of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. These additives can make you sluggish and mess with your blood sugar levels, making them drinks to avoid when exercising.

Instead, opt for homemade fruit infused water with this simple process:

  1. 1
    Fill water bottle or pitcher with fresh water and ice as desired
  2. 2
    Add sliced citrus, fresh berries, fresh mint or other desired fruit or herb.
  3. 3
    Let sit for 10-20 minutes or longer for the desired level of flavor.

These easy fruit infusions provide a light, refreshing flavor to plain water without the extra calories and sugars.

Don’t have time? Grab coconut water from the fridge section of the nearest convenience store. Not only will it give you the needed water for your workout, but it also is a natural source of the potassium and electrolytes you’ll need to replace as you sweat.

Just make sure you get a 100% coconut water beverage, not one of the 10% water plus bad stuff. A good choice is Vita Coco.

ALL Carbonated Beverages

And I don’t just mean sugary sodas. This includes anything fizzy, even flavored waters like La Croix or plain seltzer. Many of these beverages contain higher amounts of sodium, which can suck the water out of your body’s cells quickly. Additionally, carbonation can cause gassiness and bloat that can make a tough workout even tougher and why they are drinks to avoid when exercising.

Need an alternative? Try an iced green tea. It has just enough caffeine to help you focus without being as dehydrating as traditional black teas. Remember the fruit infusions we made earlier? For a step up, make your own green tea fruit infusions instead of spending money on the bottled versions.

Sports Drinks

Yep, really. Despite the added vitamins and electrolytes that many brands boast, most of them also contain high amounts of sugar as well. Instead, go for a tomato juice. Tomatoes are also high in potassium, and its natural sugars help your body instead of harm it.


So, avoid sugar, dairy, and bubbles. Go for green tea, coconut water, tomato juice and of course, good old-fashioned water!

Paul J

Last Updated on August 20, 2021