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  • Writer's pictureStefanie Rock

Are energy drinks safe for teen athletes?

It's about that time of year again when I see energy drinks make their way into the hands of teens. Back to school and back to sports... plus juggling homework, friends, jobs, and chores means new pressures on time. And too often these hectic schedules also mean a decrease in sleep.

For many teens, reaching for an energy drink a the simple solution.

They're available virtually everywhere and there's no age requirement to purchase them, so they can't be that bad, right?

Not to mention flavors like Bangster Berry, Rainbow Unicorn, Blue Razz... seem directly marketed to our kids and teens.

Some energy drinks: Bang and Celsius, are even now "infused" with BCAA's or Creatine. Just what our athletes need!

Not so fast.

While energy drinks pose health risks for all kids and teens, there are even more risks for athletes...

  1. Caffeine. Although some cans may indicate the included amount of caffeine is equal to one or two cups of coffee (about 95 mg. in one cup), it doesn't count the caffeine affects of herbal ingredients like guarana, ginseng, yerba mate, and taurine which also not only increase heart rate but may also be on banned substances lists.

  2. Muscle Tremors. While caffeine will provide an increase in fast energy, the quick dramatic increase can also cause muscle tremors, twitches, spasms, and cramps... and a decrease in endurance, focus, and fine motor skills (not beneficial for any athlete).

  3. Increased heart rate. Although energy drinks increase the heart rate of all consumers, it poses additional risks for athletes experiencing increased heart rate from activity and dehydration. Extended use also increases risk of heart damage and seizure.

  4. Sleep interruption. Fatigue and energy drink usage often becomes a vicious cycle that disrupts quality sleep... the time when the body heals and recovers. Because quality sleep in compromised, risk of injury and time needed to heal both increase.

If an athlete is relying on energy drinks to "get through" practice, it's a great indication that one or several of their foundation pillars: nutrition, hydration, sleep, and stress management, is compromised.

Before reaching for that energy drink intended to support the company's bottom line... rather than your performance, let's chat about strengthening your foundation to really enhance your performance, focus, and recovery.

And about those BCAA and Creatine "infusions"... if your athlete already eats dairy, meat, eggs, chicken, seafood... they're already getting ALL 9 of the essential amino acids (not just the three in BCAAs or creatine).

Worried that your athlete's hectic schedule is compromising a solid foundation? Concerned they aren't meeting their nutritional needs to support their activity, growth, and best health?

Need family meal planning help that fits your active schedules?

Click here with questions or to schedule a call to see if Rock Performance is right for you.


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