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Effects of Water vs. Gatorade on Athlete Performance

The purpose of this experiment was to compare the effects of Gatorade
versus water on sprinting performance on NCAA Division III female athletes.The
results showed a statistical difference between the two groups, with a p-value of
.02, which was found using an independent samples t-test. The value of practical
difference given from Cohen’s d effect size was 0.4. This shows a small to medium
practical difference between the two groups.Gatorade presented faster sprint
times, which supports the hypothesis that Gatorade will have greater effects on
sprinting performance. These results also support the claims of Gatorade as a
There are multiple variables that were taken into consideration about
these results. The type of shoe worn (running shoe or cleats) could have
influenced the results, in that some of the participants were slowing down before
they reached the finish line so they do not slip on the wet grass. In efforts to
improve the study, we would check the conditions of the field in advance, create a
control group, and also test more than one day.In testing more than one day we
would have a group drink Gatorade and be tested, and the next time they were
tested they would drink water.All of this may improve the consistency of variables
in our data.
The main finding of the study was that Gatorade had better results for endurance
training versus water (p = 0.021,d= 0.403).In the consumption of Gatorade vs
water, the results indicate a stronger association between Gatorade and overall
sport performance.
Effects of Water vs. Gatorade on Athlete Performance
Denney Meigs, Michaela Osborne, Paige Smyth, Chris Bailey
Sport Performance Enhancement Education and Development (SPEED) Center
Department of Exercise Science
LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA
The authors would like to thank the LaGrange College athletes who
participated in this study and make this research possible.
There are many factors that influence performance levels. One of these
factors is the type of fluid intake in athletes.Water and Gatorade are two popular
fluids consumed when performing.During prolonged exercise athletes generally
take in water or sport drinks to help regulate body temperature, their
cardiovascular system, and increase performance levels (Coso, 2008). Water also
helps athletes maintain ahealthy heart rate during exercise, maintain blood
volume, stroke volume, and cardiac output (Danielson, 2006).
Because water keeps athletes hydrated it is most commonly consumed, but
since Gatorade contains sugar (glucose) it also gives athletes the energy they
need to perform.The glucose is broken down by the muscle cells and converted
to ATP (energy). Along with sugar, electrolytes are also nutrients that are critical to
maintain exercise intensity. Along with these nutrients, the amount and type of
carbohydrates in the sports drink are critical to performance (Singh, 2011).
Rehydration is also an important process for athletes in order to recover between
sessions and train for longer period of time (Singh, 2011). During the phase of
rehydration after exercise and before the next session, drinking fluids can cause
hyperhydration, which helps prevent the onset of dehydration during exercise
(Morris, 2015). While water and Gatorade are important in the rehydration
process, studies have also shown that sports drinks help reduce fatigue during
performance, and help athletes maintain ahigher level of intensity (Singh, 2011).
While previous studies have evaluated the influence of Gatorade and water, on
untrained males in the Singh study and all males in the Morris study, this has not
been evaluated in the female-only, NCAA DIII athlete population.Therefore, the
purpose of this experiment will be to compare the effects of Gatorade versus
water during sprinting performance on female collegiate athletes.
Thirteen-NCAA Division III female athletes participated in this study. Prior to
the activity the athletes were instructed to drink only water or Gatorade throughout
the testing day.Athletes in the water group were instructed to consume 12 ounces
of fluids by 11:00 am.Athletes in the Gatorade group were instructed to consume
12 ounces of fluids by 11:30 am.Then the athlete consumed 12 ounces of their
specified liquid every hour until testing time, at 5:00 pm for the water group, and
5:30 pm for the Gatorade group.They also performed a standardized one lap, and
dynamic warm-up that consisted of high knees, butt kicks, power skips, karaoke,
and leg kicks forward and backward. After the warm up the athletes were given
12ounces of their assigned fluid and consumed approximately half of the 12
Following the warm-up and resting period the athletes were lined up on the
end line of the LaGrange College soccer field.They were timed using a
stopwatch. The finishing times were recorded, and the athletes were given a 30
second break.Sprints were repeated an additional 9 times, for atotal of 10
sprints. Before statistical analysis, the trials were averaged for each group.An
independent t-test was used to find the statistical difference groups.Cohen’s d
effect size was used to determine practical difference between groups (Cohen,
The results of the study conclude that our participants that consumed Gatorade
had faster sprinting times than the participants that consumed water.The results
indicate a connection between the consumption of Gatorade and overall greater
endurance for athletes.In future training, exercises, and sporting events, coaches
and trainers might want to consider the intake of Gatorade before and during the
event. The use of Gatorade will allow for better performance in prolonged
endurance activities. This study provides justification that it may be beneficial to
consider the use of Gatorade instead of water in sports.
Cohen, J. “Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences.” 2nd Ed.
(1988). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Coso, Juan Del, et al."Anaerobic Performance When Rehydrating With Water Or
Commercially Available Sports Drinks During Prolonged Exercise In The
Heat." Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism 33.2 (2008): 290-298.
SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 8 Nov.2016.
Danielson, Ashley, et al."The physiological effects of water vs. Gatorade during
prolonged exercise." J Undergrad Kin Res 1.2 (2006): 15-22.
Ellingwood,Ken."Who Needs Sports Drinks?." Health (Time Inc.Health) 7.7
(1993): 90. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web.29 Nov.2016.
Morris, David M., et al. "Acute Sodium Ingestion Before Exercise Increases
Voluntary Water Consumption Resulting In Preexercise Hyperhydration And
Improvement In Exercise Performance In The Heat." International Journal Of
Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism 25.5 (2015): 456-462. SPORTDiscus with
Full Text. Web. 8 Nov.2016.
Singh, Amrinder, Sarika Chaudhary,and Jaspal Singh Sandhu. "Efficacy Of Pre
Exercise Carbohydrate Drink (Gatorade) On The Recovery Heart Rate, Blood
Lactate And Glucose Levels In Short Ter m Intensive Exercise." Serbian Journal
Of Sports Sciences 5.1 (2011): 29-34. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 8 Nov.
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Dehydration has been shown to hinder performance of sustained exercise in the heat. Consuming fluids prior to exercise can result in hyperhydration, delay the onset of dehydration during exercise and improve exercise performance. However, humans normally drink only in response to thirst, which does not result in hyperhydration. Thirst and voluntary fluid consumption have been shown to increase following oral ingestion or infusion of sodium into the bloodstream. We measured the effects of acute sodium ingestion on voluntary water consumption and retention during a two-hour hydration period prior to exercise. Subjects then performed a 60-min submaximal dehydration ride (DR) followed immediately by a 200 kJ performance time trial (PTT) in a warm (30° C) environment. Water consumption and retention during the hydration period was greater following sodium ingestion (1380 ± 580 mL consumed, 821 ± 367 mL retained) compared to placebo (815 ± 483 mL consumed, 244 ± 402 mL retained) and no treatment (782 ± 454 mL consumed, 148 ± 289 mL retained). Dehydration levels following the DR were significantly less after sodium ingestion (0.7 ± 0.6%) compared to placebo (1.3 ± 0.7%) and no treatment (1.6 ± 0.4%). Time to complete the PTT was significantly less following sodium consumption (773 ± 158 s) compared to placebo (851 ± 156 s) and no treatment (872 ± 190 s). These results suggest that voluntary hyperhydration can be induced by acute consumption of sodium and has a favorable effect on hydration status and performance during subsequent exercise in the heat.
The Physiological effects of water vs. Gatorade during prolonged exercise. J. Undergrad. Kin. Res. 2006; 1(1):15-22. The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological effects of water vs. Gatorade during prolonged exercise. Subjects consisted of 10 recreationally active females between the ages 19 and 22. Each participant was asked to perform two 90 minutes exercise sessions of inclined treadmill walking. One session consisted of drinking 32 ounces of Gatorade during exercise and the other drinking 32 ounces of water. There were significant differences (p< 0.05) in peak rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and weight change. The data suggests that drinking Gatorade during prolonged treadmill walking under heat stress elicits lower RPE values than drinking water, (Gatorade mean peak RPE = 4.0, water mean peak RPE = 4.9) p = .010. In addition, weight change also shows a significant difference (Gatorade mean weight change = .134 kg, Water mean weight change = -.363 kg) p = .018. The findings in our study are important to exercise physiology as it suggests lower physiological stress when consuming water vs. Gatorade during prolonged activity.
Anaerobic Performance When Rehydrating With Water Or Commercially Available Sports Drinks During Prolonged Exercise In The Heat
  • Juan Coso
  • Del
Coso, Juan Del, et al. "Anaerobic Performance When Rehydrating With Water Or Commercially Available Sports Drinks During Prolonged Exercise In The Heat." Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism 33.2 (2008): 290-298. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 8 Nov. 2016.
Who Needs Sports Drinks?
  • Ken Ellingwood
Ellingwood, Ken. "Who Needs Sports Drinks?." Health (Time Inc. Health) 7.7 (1993): 90. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.