By Craig Ballantyne. Energy. Everyone wants more of it. And it's as easy to get as heading down to the corner store...All we need to do is slam down a Red Bull. Or a Gatorade. Or a coffee. Or so the ads say.
But which of these is really the best energy drink? The answer, of course, is below...
Now when people talk about energy drinks, they are often simply referring to products that contain caffeine. After all, when someone is describing their energy levels, they are really talking about their level of mental alertness. So we'll limit our discussion today to that: what drink gives you the best and longest-lasting energy levels.
#5 - At the bottom of our list are those sugar and caffeine "energy drinks" such as Red Bull (and even cola).
The problem with many energy drinks is that they contain too much sugar and/or too much caffeine. So while the short-term effects are huge increases in energy (i.e. feeling wired or even jittery - even to the point of nausea), after an hour or two you'll crash and burn, and more than likely be ready for a nap - or as those marketing machines prefer, another "energy drink".
#4 - Sports Drinks: Give these guys credit, they've convinced the world that we need to refuel with what's essentially uncarbonated soda pop. Now unless you're performing an exercise of more than an hour, you don't need this liquid sugar.
#3 - Coffee: Having never had a coffee in my life, I'm not sure it's fair of me to pass judgement on this beverage. But I'll say this...a cup of coffee each day is not going to kill you.
But if you depend on the caffeine to give you your morning get-up-and-go, maybe you should do a little lifestyle review. Perhaps there are some things you can change to give yourself more energy without relying on a caffeine fix? And you're probably getting a lot more caffeine than you bargain for if you get your coffee from the well-known coffee shops.
#2 - Green Tea: True, this beverage does contain caffeine, but it does so in relatively smaller amounts than coffee.
In addition, you should be able to find naturally decaffeinated Green Teas (avoid Green Tea that has been decaffeinated via an "acetylation" process - this might also remove the healthy phytochemicals in the tea). And of course, go organic if you can.
NOTE: All teas are healthy. Green Tea may or may not be healthier than traditional teas.
Green Tea is a super close second place to our winner...and research suggests that several cups of the tea are necessary each day to receive the full health benefits.
#1 - Filtered Water: There's no way that water is going to lead to an energy crash. And it's important part of your nutrition plan. While I admit, it will never compare to a caffeine-based beverage for giving you that mental wake-up, in the big picture, water is the go-to drink.
Unfortunately, despite all the messages about H2O, I know a lot of clients still do not drink enough water.
I'm a big proponent of 12 glasses per day - I drink more than that and immediately notice sluggishness when I am unable to do so. I encourage you to monitor your water intake and determine your optimal level for alertness.
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit www.TurbulenceTraining.com