High carbohydrate (CHO) energy drinks are designed to help increase the duration and intensity of your workout, but did you know that you don’t have to ingest it in order to feel the benefit?
Recent research suggests that swallowing your chosen sports drink may not be essential (Chambers, 2009). Instead you can rinse your mouth, spit the drink out and still run/cycle/swim faster, for longer!
CHO supplementation has been tried and tested for decades and it is accepted that sports drinks of this nature help delay fatigue and improve performance in endurance events lasting 90+ minutes.
Now it has been found that just tasting the drink can positively influence mood and perceived rate of exertion, to the point of improving performance on a level equal to actually swallowing the drink. This study is built around the ‘central governor hypothesis’ which states it is our brain which limits athletic performance and not our muscles or cardiovascular system.
So far, the research has found that the swish and spit method will enhance performance in endurance events of 60 minutes or less in duration. If you want to give it a try, follow these tips:
1. It is recommended that you swish and spit your carbohydrate drink every 10 minutes in order to feel the benefits.
2. You must hold the liquid in your mouth for at least 5 seconds without swallowing any of it.
3. You must not eat in the 2 hours before trying this method.
It may be particularly useful if you suffer from muscle cramp or stitch.
Chambers ES, Bridge MW, Jones DA, Carbohydrate Sensing in the Human Mouth: Effects on Exercise Performance & Brain Activity, Journal of Physiology, 2009, 587(8): 1779-94.
European Journal of Sports Science, 2008, 8, 77-85.
ISSN Exercise & Sport Nutrition Review, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2010.