Sports Drinks vs Water — Which is better for you?

Fitness experts remain undecided about the effectiveness of sports drinks after exercise. Some experts believe they’re too full of sugar to do any good, while others claim they’re an effective way to replace bodily fluids lost while working out. What do we think? Well, it depends. Let’s dive deeper into what sports drinks are and let you decide what’s right for you.

Sports Drink Defined
What is defined as a sports drink? A sports drink, or “energy drink,” is any beverage meant to rehydrate, boost energy, and replenish electrolytes lost in sweating. All sports drinks contain water, sugar, salt, carbohydrates (sugar), and potassium. Some drinks contain extra ingredients (like amino acids) to help build muscle mass. (1)

Side note: Beware of the hundreds of “energy” drinks on the market. Many of those drinks claim to be sports drinks, but actually contain more sugar and caffeine than is necessary for anyone trying to lose weight through a workout.

What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential to ensuring that your body’s cells are working properly. In the world of nutrition, we use the word “electrolyte” to refer to minerals dissolved in the body’s fluids, creating electrically charged ions. The electrolytes that are the most important in nutrition are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. (2)

Unless you’re exercising vigorously, you lose only a few electrolytes when you sweat. Normal electrolyte loss can be replaced by drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet. Yet when you have a really hard workout and sweat a lot, you may lose too many electrolytes. If you are doing moderate exercise in a very hot environment, you may also lose electrolytes that can’t be replaced by drinking water alone. This is where sports drinks come in.

Since sports drinks contain sugar, they can help replenish electrolytes lost during a workout, and can also give you a boost of energy. But that doesn’t mean you should guzzle them down before and after each exercise, because like we said above, one concern with sports drinks is that they deliver unneeded calories. Some contain 150 calories, the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar.(4)

Conclusion
Experts recommend drinking up to three cups of water for every pound of weight lost while working out. But that may be difficult for some people because they don’t like drinking large quantities of water at once. So if you’re one of these people, opting for an energy or sports drink is going to lead to better hydration.

But you don’t need a sports drink to recover from a workout. Drinking water along with edible sources, like energy bars or fruit, contain just as many carbohydrates as sports drinks. If you choose this option, you can drink plain water to hydrate.

Sources:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_drink
2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-are-electrolytes/
3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/sports-drinks-and-exercise.aspx
4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/trade-sports-drinks-for-water-201207305079

Importance of sleep after BootCampSF wakes those muscles up!

BootCampSF utilizes a wide variety of exercises resulting in a satisfying total body workout. This means you will need to take special care in training-recovery which includes getting a good night’s rest. Sleeping well after you exercise makes your muscles and tissues stronger and helps prevent fatigue and injury. Your muscles learn to adapt to training, but rest is actually when those adaptations are taking place. Plus, with adequate sleep, you’ll perform better as an athlete. And on the flip side, there is solid evidence that exercise helps you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.

To get more out of your sleep, try these tips:

Power Down the Electronics
The glow from electronics pass through your eyes and delay the release of melatonin which is the sleep inducing hormone.

Turn In a Little Earlier
Get as many hours of sleep before midnight as you can (there’s an empirical belief that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight).

Stretch Those Muscles
In addition to relaxing you, stretching releases built-up tension which is great before trying to get some shuteye. Stretching can help you fall asleep fast, as well as help prevent sore muscles in the morning.

Enjoy a Hot Shower
Taking a hot shower 90 minutes before bed can help you sleep better reports Men’s Fitness. After you’ve been in the hot water, your body temperature then cools down which is a signal to sleep.

Create a Sleep Routine
Get in a regular sleep-wake cycle. In other words, go to bed and wake up the same time every day. Then keep to it! When you change this pattern, even if you actually get more sleep, it can negatively affect the impact on recovery.

In Conclusion
World renowned sleep expert, Dr. Mark Rosekind, says, “There are lab studies that show that if you’re an eight-hour sleeper and you get six hours of sleep, that two-hour difference can impact your [athletic] performance so that it equates to how you would perform if you had a 0.05 blood-alcohol level.”

To get the most out of your BootCampSF workouts, the proper amount of recovery and sleep is imperative. Along with a balanced diet and our intense exercise program, getting the right amount of sleep may be the last ingredient to help you decrease body fat or increase muscle mass and strength. We suggest you strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

3 Core Moves to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Did you know that lower back pain is quite common? According to a study conducted by the UNC School of Medicine, more than 80% of Americans will suffer an episode of low back pain in some time in their lives. However, there’s no need for alarm – lower back pain can be relieved and prevented by strengthening the core muscles.

Core muscles are the support system for your spine and lower back, and if the muscles are weak, your posture may be misaligned causing too much pressure to be placed on the lower back. If there is weakness in the core, hops, gluten and/or hamstrings, the body is thrown off balance and the lower back may be forced to pick up the slack.

Generally speaking, three types of lower back pain may be experienced, and may be temporary or ongoing. The first is a muscle spasm, which appears as pain that comes on suddenly. The muscles will feel ‘locked up’ so to speak, and it may be hard to move. Second is a shooting pain in the lower back and down one or both legs, indicating sciatica. There are no spasms associated with this type of pain, as a pinched nerve is normally to blame. Finally, a general aching across the entire lower back may be caused by arthritis, which is a form of inflammation, or weak muscles from a lack of activity.

One of the best low impact core strengthening exercises that can be practiced is the plank. There are many variations of the exercise, including a forearm plank, a plank done on the hands with the arms extended straight and a side plank variation. If you are new to the exercise, start with a :20 second hold and gradually increase by at least :5 seconds with each practice.

Back extensions are also an excellent way to target the core – specifically the lower back portion. The exercise may be completed on a back extension machine, but, if you’re like us, you prefer to work outside in the sunshine! We recommend lying on the ground on a mat or towel (or the grass, if you prefer) and reaching the arms and legs out as far as you can stretch. Slowly lift the arms and legs up and away from the body simultaneously and then lower back down. You’ll feel the entire back side activate to complete the exercise. These may also be referred to as the “superman” exercise.

Our third choice is the bridge, or hip raises. Lie on your back on the floor with knees bend and feet flat on the floor. Engaging the glutes and hamstrings, raise the hips up toward the sky, pausing for a few seconds before lowering back down. If you have tight hip flexors, this is an excellent stretch to practice.

And as always, keep moving! Getting a workout in at least a few times per week will help you easily increase your core strength and ease any lower back pain you may experience. Sign up for one of our classes and join the fun!

Get More Sunlight With Outdoor Fitness

American culture has gone through certain dramatic swings in our preference for sun exposure, from the obsession with lily-white skin in the 1800s to a tanning culture in the 1960s to a real awareness today of the dangers of getting too much UV light exposure. So should you get outside and let the sun see you, or not? We think the answer is a resounding yes, though we would advocate wearing your sunscreen. Here are some of the ways that our boot camp workout will boost your well-being by giving you some sun exposure.

Sunlight Gives You Vitamin D

Skin can’t conduct photosynthesis (wouldn’t that be cool?), but it can produce vitamin D just from being exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is present in very few foods and has many beneficial effects on our bodies. In particular, it promotes your ability to absorb calcium and build healthy bones. Vitamin D deficiency not only contributes to weak, soft, or brittle bones, it also comes with other health risks, including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, asthma, and cancer. Vitamin D fights disease, boosts weight loss, and reduces depression, making it a robust nutrient that you simply can’t do without.

Sunlight Boosts Your Alertness

Just like darkness triggers your body to release the hormone melatonin, which puts you to sleep, bright sunshine causes your body to release the hormone serotonin, which helps you to be alert, calm, and focused.

Sunlight Improves Your Mood

Bright sunlight has both a psychological and a physiological effect on your body. While sunlight striking your skin promotes Vitamin D production, sunlight striking your eye promotes your body to improve your mood. It’s strange but true that bright light can induce positive effects on your state of mind and mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that happens to people who don’t see enough bright, full-spectrum light, particularly in the winter when the days tend to be shorter and cloudier and people tend to stay indoors more.

The same hormone, serotonin, which we mentioned in the previous section, also acts as a natural antidepressant in the brain, boosting your mood and improving your emotional outlook. Add to that the beneficial, mood-boosting effects of the exercise itself, and you’ve got a double whammy when you do a boot camp workout outside.

Sunlight Is Good For Certain Skin Conditions

Don’t think that exposure to sunshine is pure skin cancer waiting to happen. While you certainly want to limit your sun exposure, avoid sunburns, and wear sunscreen while you’re outside, the sun actually has beneficial effects on your skin when you get a balanced amount of it. If you’re suffering from skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, or acne, sun exposure can do you a lot of good.

Boot Camp San Francisco Happens in the Early Morning

Before the sun is too high, you’ll get all the benefits of sun exposure without suffering and suffocating under the blazing hot sun while you work out. Join us for an early morning workout and benefit your body. Sign up today!

How Building Back Strength Can Improve Your Performance

If you are like most of our customers here at Boot Camp San Francisco, you’re dedicated to optimizing your fitness, well-being, and overall health. You’re committed to getting shredded, so you show up to your outdoor workout rain or shine, and you’re not going to just sit down and make excuses for why you can’t work out. Here at BCSF, we applaud that commitment, diligence, and dedication, and we look forward to joining forces with you in that quest for your best, fittest body. In this article, we’ll look at just one part of your body that your fitness exercises can focus on, your back.

Don’t Neglect Your Back!

Many people in our workouts are very conscious of their abs and core strength, and they are constantly including ab exercises, crunches, and planks to their workouts to make that happen. It’s great to have toned abs and a strong core, but if you stop there, you’ll be stopping short of the best results. So don’t neglect your back muscles in your fitness routine!

The Benefits of Back Strength Exercises

Strengthening your back brings with it a number of key benefits. Just because it’s behind you and you rarely see it doesn’t mean you won’t feel the benefits when you incorporate back exercises on a regular basis.

  • Enjoy better posture. If you have a weak back, you won’t have the support to prevent your shoulders from tending to become rounded and hunched forward. Proper back strength will also help you to keep your spine in the proper curvature and alignment. Stand taller, look more confident, and enjoy better overall balance when you have perfect posture.
  • Improve your core strength. It seems counter-intuitive that this could happen, but you can actually do too much core exercise if it’s not balanced with back exercise. When you do both, you’ll have an even more stable core along with the spinal support that your back is supposed to provide.
  • Reduce your chances of injury. Lower back pain is a debilitating and difficult thing to live with, and your back exercises are an important part of a regimen that helps to protect you from injury to your spine, or rehabilitate you from past injuries that have occurred.
  • Look sculpted from behind. Upper back exercises can help you train your traps, rhomboids, and latissimus dorsi. One of the factors that contributes to the classic tapered physique with broad shoulders and a narrow waist is having your back properly toned.

Great Back Exercises to Try

Having a toned and fit back is a matter of incorporating the right exercises into your fitness routine. These are just a small sampling of upper-back and lower-back exercises that you can try.

  • Pullups and chinups: There are many variations on the classic pullup and chinup, but in their most basic essence, in pullups, you grab the bar with an overhand grip, while in chinups you grab the bar with an underhand grip.
  • Lat Pulldowns: This is almost the opposite of a pullup in that you pull a bar down to you rather than pulling yourself up to the bar.
  • The Cobra: Lie facedown on the ground and lift your head, arms, and legs off the ground simultaneously. Hold, release, and repeat.
  • We hope you’ll join us for our outdoor workouts here at Boot Camp San Francisco, where you’ll enjoy fun and challenging whole-body workouts. Sign up today!

Indoor vs. Outdoor Fitness: Why You Should Try Boot Camp


If you have heard of boot camp workouts but have never given them a try, you may be wondering if outdoor workouts are for you. It’s a fact that most people live an increasingly indoor lifestyle, making outdoor fitness seem a bit foreign. We tend to avoid what is foreign and stick with what is familiar, but we’d like to encourage everyone not to let the great outdoors be a stranger. In this blog post, we will look at just a few of the advantages that outdoor fitness has over indoor fitness.

1. Increase your balance and proprioception

Proprioception is the understanding of where your body is in space. It’s how you can raise food to your mouth without looking, walk with your eyes closed, or avoid inadvertently whacking hard objects when you swing your hand. However, when we are indoors, we always walk on perfectly level surfaces and encounter perfectly-placed objects. Therefore, our brains don’t have to work as hard to make the micro-adjustments in our poise and balance when we navigate these safe, predictable objects. When you walk on sand or grass, your brain is constantly telling your feet and core muscles to making extra mini-adjustments to keep you from tripping, and these things improve your overall stability as well as boosting your proprioception.

2. Breathe phytoncides and negative ions

There’s a concept in Japan called “forest bathing” that has caught on in recent years and involves taking trips to the forest to be around the trees. Trees emit oils called phytoncides, and breathing in these particles has antimicrobial health benefits. And it has been well known for centuries that there are benefits from breathing in sea air. This air is charged with negative ions that actually help to increase our oxygen consumption.

3. Let the sun shine on you

While it’s true that too much sun exposure can have negative effects on our skin, a balanced amount of exposure to the sun builds Vitamin D and has a beneficial effect on skin disorders like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and fungal infections. Exposure to bright sunlight can also reduce your chances of having Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

4. Reduce your stress and sleep better

Going outside comes with many benefits, from reducing stress to sleeping better. The complexities of the outdoors affect us in ways we don’t even realize, in all our senses. We’ve already looked briefly at the benefits of the smell of the forest. Our hearing and sight play a role as well. The sounds of the sea and the wind in the trees is relaxing and soothing, and studies have even looked at the way the color green helps exercise to feel easier.

All these benefits of going outside point to the logic of making Boot Camp your regular workout. Why confine yourself to the sterile indoors when the great outdoors is waiting for you? Join us today at Boot Camp San Francisco and you’ll see why so many people are raving mad fans for this style of workout. We look forward to having you join us!