When I lived in Colorado, I learned the importance of staying hydrated due to the dry, mile-high elevation as I worked out, and now that I live in the desert dryness and heat in Las Vegas, I carried that need to stay hydrated with me.
But if you are watching your calories, you can't just choose any hydration drink. Pick the wrong one and you can end up downing the equivalent calories to a bottle of regular soda in the neighborhood of 200-300 calories!
Even a light form of a hydration drink like G2 still has 25 calories per 8 ounce serving (there are 2.5 servings per bottle, so that's still about 65 calories a bottle). That may seem trivial, but if you work out 5 days per week and drink a bottle each time, that's over 325 calories a week that could be put to a lot better use in my opinion.
For me, a hydration drink has to have zero calories. I used to drink Fruit 2O's hydration entry but it's now impossible to find anywhere, so I gave up. I would sometimes use the old Powerade Option low calorie hydration offering sometimes after that disappearance, but even though it was a big bottle, that was still 40 calories. Then Powerade Option vanished. I actually contacted Powerade to find out what happened. They were kind enough to write back with the news of the introduction of Powerade Zero. At first it was only available at convenience stores on a supplied list; now I am pleased to see that Powerade Zero is showing up in supermarkets at a discounted price as low as 50 cents on sale in my area supermarkets.
Powerade Zero comes in three flavors--Mixed Berry, Grape and Strawberry. To me, even though I am not big on strawberry flavor, that flavor was surprisingly the tastiest. The bottle is a little tough to hold at a wide-mouth 32 ounces, and you must slow down your speed to a crawl on a treadmill to take a sip. The other day I lost the cap over the second floor balcony of 24 Hour Fitness--yikes!
Yet there is something macho about being a girl walking into the free weights area holding a 32-ounce bottle of Powerade. And I appreciate the humor of Powerade's warning that "you may be swarmed by fans who want to witness the power of electrolytes, hydration and zero calories, good luck with that".
My only real issue with Powerade Zero is that while the jewel-like colors of red, purple and blue (actually classic Windex blue) are pretty, that's unnecesary food coloring in my body. I also do not like the fact that there is sucralose (Splenda) combined with acesulfame potassium--the sucralose is fine, but according to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, acesulfame potassium a.k.a "Ace K" is poorly tested as an artifical sweetner and generally should be avoided. I drink half a bottle per workout, so at least I am stretching the portions out, but I wish Powerade would take out the acesulfame potassium as it is so unnecessary.
Still you have to pick your battles, and zero calories plus hydration wins in my book.