Sports & Wellness

Coconut Water for Workout?

by Michelle Ylaya 

People these days are becoming more and more health conscious. They are always looking for better ways to boost workout performance, improve their diet, and enhance recovery between training sessions. Whether it’s a new routine, training program, or nutritional supplement, your safest bet is to find out what works best.

Energy drinks and other sports drinks are no exception. In fact, this has become “essential” when working out. Today, there are so many sport drinks available for every situation: pre-workout, in-workout, and post-workout.

Yes, some of these drinks can help rehydrate and improve work performance during your workout. They may be effective, especially the artificially –flavored carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks. But, what if you can find an alternative that are more natural?


In a study conducted by the International Society of Sports Nutrition, they compared natural coconut water to conventional sports drink on measures of hydration and physical performance. To do this, they gathered 12 healthy men with fitness program experience. Each has to perform an hour treadmill cardio workout on several occasions, separated by 5 days. The goal was to dehydrate them.  

The following were given:

Group A – bottled water
Group B – pure coconut water
Group C – coconut water from concentrate
Group D – carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink

They based the amount of fluid on body mass lost during the 1 hour workouts. They administered the fluids in random, single blind subject, and cross-over design. In addition, they also recorded the status and treadmill performance during recovery periods. Other details include subjective measures of thirst, freshness level, level of weariness, measure of thirst, and stomach feeling.

You may find these results interesting:

  1. Participants lost around 3.5 pounds during the workout, but regained it during rehydration using the 4 fluids.
  2. No differences were found when coconut water or concentrated coconut water was compared to sport drink in any case.
  3. No significant difference found with the fluids they used from the sport drinks regarding exercise performance.

However, 3 of the participants felt more bloated and experienced mild stomach discomfort from having coconut water and concentrated coconut water.

The study therefore concluded that all fluids/drinks used were effective in rehydrating the body. So, if you want to switch to “natural” coconut water for your post workout rehydrator, make sure your stomach can handle it. If not, you can just stick to plain water.


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