Ever wonder if popular sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are all they're cracked up to be? Given the rise of overly processed, sugar-laden foods it's good to have a healthy suspicion about any food-based product you can pick up at a local 7/11. And, if you're currently training for a fitness, figure or bikini-competition, then you're probably paying particularly close attention to what you put in your body. Nutritionists have gone back and forth about the merits of sports drinks for years, with some touting the benefits of electrolytes while others argue that a simple bottle of water provides all the hydration you need. Recently, though, a professor of physiology and kinesiology has produced a whole new argument in support of the enhanced option. According to professor W. Larry Kenney, sports drinks are a better option for more intense workouts that last for 45 minutes or more because, unlike water, these beverages keep athletes going back for more until they're completely rehydrated. "If you drink plain water until you no longer feel thirsty, you've most likely not replenished all lost fluids," says Kenney, pointing out that some athletes can shed as much as three pounds of body weight via sweat in a workout. Sports drinks have come under fire because of their sodium content. But, as this blog documented in a recent post, ardent athletes have a very different relationship with this mineral than the general population. While most people consume far too much salt, body competition entrants and other active individuals need to take in more sodium because they lose so much of it through sweat. Remember, though an excess amount of sodium has been linked to high blood pressure and other health issues, your body needs it to maintain appropriate levels of liquid within your cells. So, if you're headed to the gym for an hour or two of intense bikini or figure competition training, don't think twice about grabbing a sports drink.