Swish And Spit - Enhance Performance

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.

About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
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