Should You Drink Sparkling Water After a Workout?

Woman drinking sparkling water after a workout

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After a long run or an intense session at the gym, you might find yourself craving an ice cold sparkling water. When you’re exhausted and ready to recover, a carbonated beverage can certainly sound refreshing. However, if you are trying to make the most of your exercise, you may be wondering if drinking sparkling water after a workout is a good idea.

The bottom line is that sparkling water after a workout will not necessarily be a detriment to your post-workout recovery. Carbonated water will rehydrate you just as well as regular water — even if it may not feel as thirst-quenching. What’s more, sparkling mineral water can help replenish minerals depleted during a workout. However, there are a few things you should know before cracking open a LaCroix or Bubly after exercising.

Woman drinking sparkling water outdoors

Downsides to Drinking Sparkling Water After a Workout

The primary issue with sparkling water after a workout is that you are less likely to consume enough to rehydrate. Typically, we tend to sip and enjoy sparkling water over a longer period of time than flat water. For some people, carbonation can make it more difficult to gulp down quickly enough to replenish water lost during a workout.

But, if you make a conscious effort to drink enough sparkling water after a workout, there’s little reason not to drink it. It can be a satisfying reward after lifting, running or any other exercise. When it comes to hydration, sparkling water is just as good as regular water as a post-workout beverage. In terms of recovery, that’s good enough for most people.

However, if you participate in more intense workouts – especially those that cause you to sweat intensely – it may be wise to consider a different post-workout beverage.

Replenishing Nutrients After Intense Workouts

Some athletes participate in more intense workouts. These people may require replenishment that goes beyond what sparkling water or regular water can offer.

After an intense workout, experts tend to recommend a few things: replacing fluids, consuming carbohydrates, and eating protein. While these tips may seem somewhat obvious, they should be taken into consideration when selecting a beverage or meal after working out:

  • Fluids: When we exert ourselves, we’re bound to sweat. Replacing fluids is essential for avoiding dehydration after working out. Sweating can also lead to depletion of electrolytes. Drinking beverages that contain them may be beneficial after more intense workouts.
  • Carbohydrates: Simply put, carbs act as fuel for your muscles. They provide the energy you need to work out, and to go about your daily life.
  • Protein: After working out, protein is essential for repairing damaged muscle tissue and contributing to muscle growth.

Note that your post-workout beverage does not need to contain all of these nutrients. You can eat protein and carbs instead, and typically that is much easier to do. Additionally, added electrolytes in your beverage are typically not necessary for the average athlete. In fact, in some cases, they can be harmful.

Sparkling water does not contain any protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes or other commonly recommended exercise recovery nutrients. So depending on your goals and needs, carbonated water may not be the ideal post-workout beverage. However, it is great for rehydration, which is typically cited as the most important recovery act after a workout.

Sparkling Mineral Water After Working Out

It turns out that not all sparkling water is created equal when it comes to exercise recovery. According to researchers, sparkling mineral water may assist post-workout recovery more effectively than regular water or plain carbonated water.

Sparkling mineral water is naturally carbonated sparkling water that contains high concentrations of minerals like sodium, potassium, and calcium. As you sweat, your body loses these essential minerals — and can contribute to poorer thermoregulation and general fatigue.

The minerals in sparkling mineral water may be beneficial for faster recovery from post-workout dehydration. By drinking sparkling mineral water and replacing lost minerals, athletes can help to avoid dehydration and potentially recover from a workout more quickly.

However, note that like sparkling water, sparkling mineral water does not contain protein or carbohydrates. For that reason, we can’t rely upon as a complete source of post-workout replenishment.

Woman doing yoga with water bottle

Sparkling Water During a Workout

While sparkling water is an acceptable post-workout beverage, it may not be ideal during a workout. Some experts suggest avoid sparkling water during a workout because the gas it contains can contribute to bloating.

Bloating during a workout can lead to significant discomfort. And when you are uncomfortable, it can be difficult to complete your full workout routine. If you can’t complete your full workout routine because of your workout beverage, it’s probably not the right choice.

Some Athletes Enjoy Carbonated Water During Workouts

When it comes to nutrition and exercise routines, debate and differing opinions abound. Some athletes shun certain training methods, supplements and recovery techniques, while others swear by them.

If you are not prone to bloating when drinking sparkling water, there is little reason not to drink it during a workout. In fact, some athletes say that sparkling water is an important part of their training. Some prefer it over regular water.

They appreciate the fact that sparkling water keeps them from drinking water too quickly. Having a full stomach during a workout is not helpful. Drinking sparkling water can be a good way to avoid gulping down too much water.

Sparkling water may also offer the benefit of inducing burping, which can be helpful for long distance runners. Running can contribute to gas in the stomach and G.I. distention (swelling of the digestive tract). Some athletes believe that burping can help alleviate those symptoms.

Sparkling water is also available in caffeinated varieties, which could give you an extra boost during a tough workout. Numerous studies have shown that caffeine can aid both high intensity and endurance exercises.

Soft Drinks After Working Out

We know that rehydrating after working out is crucial, but there are so many beverage options to choose from – and so many conflicting arguments for the various choices.

One thing is for sure – drinking soda after working out is a bad idea. Researchers at the University of Buffalo recently evaluated their hypothesis that drinking sugary soft drinks during or after a workout could contribute to kidney damage.

The researchers found that “the consumption of soft drinks during and following exercise in the heat does not rehydrate. Thus, consuming soft drinks as a rehydration beverage during exercise in the heat may not be ideal.”

Rehydration is likely the most important quality in a beverage after working out. So while there are many viable options for post-workout beverages, soda and other sugary beverages are not a healthy choice, regardless of your exercise goals.

Note that excessive sugar – not carbonation – is the quality of soft drinks that makes them a poor choice for rehydration. The study did not evaluate artificial sweeteners like aspartame, but some fitness experts suggest avoiding those after a workout as well.

Commonly, people who drink a lot of soda find it easier to quit or reduce their consumption by switching to sparkling water. However, since it contains no sugar, it often takes former soda drinkers some time to appreciate the flavor. What’s more, sparkling water is better for our skin, teeth and overall health than sugary beverages.

Should You Drink Sparkling Water After Working Out?

Carbonated water is a perfectly reasonable beverage choice after completing your exercise routine. Not only is it just as hydrating as regular water, but it can be a satisfying reward after putting your body through a strenuous workout.

For some people, sparkling water during or after a workout may make it difficult to consume enough to rehydrate. However, if you make a concerted effort to drink enough of it (or drink it in addition to flat water), it can be a great way to rehydrate and recover before your next workout session.