Originally Posted by Coach
Throughout the 1990's the American College of Sports Medicine, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, and Gatorade published peer reviewed literature that recommended that athletes drink as much as 40 ounces of water, or better yet a sports drink, for each hour they exercised, or "consume the maximum amount that can be tolerated".
...pure and simple over drinking promoted by Gatorade and the ACSM.
...Dr. Noakes' book "Waterlogged" is a brilliant and courageous accounting of this unbelievable story and a major contribution to training and sport science.
Pulled out a few snippets of your post to focus in on those points.
This is a gap where I think Crossfit is being somewhat intentionally ignorant. While the "crosstraining revolution" (decades old, NOT attributed to Crossfit) was a major advance in sports fitness, we're not the only players in the game, and we can learn things from our "specialized" comrades.
While I've been crosstraining for 20yrs, I also supplemented with running and cycling. About 5yrs ago, I dipped my toe into the realm of becoming "serious about endurance," so I studied and asked questions. This was one of those questions.
I grew up with coaches touting the "you're dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty" and "take in as much as your gut can stand" lines, and I felt like crap during long runs over 8miles, or bike rides over 30mi. One of my coaches suggested gatorade over water, another recommended salt tabs, both with the idea of replacing electrolytes. But then I finally realized, my coaches were only as good as the information they had in hand.
Controlled/limited water/carb intake during exercise is something that has been well known to endurance athletes for a long time. I can't say when it started, but I CAN say it was well established at least 5yrs ago when I started to "convert" over to endurance. As described in Dr. Noakes book, around 20oz per hour is the maximal absorption rate for men, half of the recommendation you cited as Gatorade's claims. If this post marks the introduction of this information to the Crossfit community, then boy, I gotta say, we're WAY behind. Maybe it's time we start paying more attention to how the other half lives?
Now, granted, comparing something learned a decade ago with something learned 30yrs ago isn't necessarily fair. Maybe 10yrs from now we'll find out that the proper number is 30oz instead of 20oz or 40oz, just like we learned more about cholesterol, eggs, carbs (adkins, paleo, zone, etc), and on and on. I'm not in that loop well enough to know whether "big soda" as you call it is refuting how much water should be consumed per hour or whether they've accepted the new discoveries. Frankly, I just spent an hour looking for any REAL science on the Gatorade.com website, and didn't really find any. While that's disheartening because they claim to be a science based product, on the other hand, they're not making claims through their site as if they are standing on the 40oz/hour recommendation.
What I DO think is misleading, if anyone remembers 5-10yrs ago, there used to be a silhouette of a guy on the gatorade bottle, pouring a drink into his mouth, and there were "K+" and "Mg+" hexagons pouring in. The idea is that Gatorade replenishes your depleted electrolytes with potassium and magnesium salts (with Mg being popular at that time due to the "sea salt" fad). Great news, as that would be safer than sodium salts, but the bad news is that if you look at the nutrition label, there wasn't actually any magnesium in it. Maybe it was just a marketing screw up (since marketing and graphics design folks aren't often the ones formulating products), maybe it was intentionally misleading, that I can't say.
Simplest answer is to know what you're drinking, and why you're drinking it. I don't have a beef with "big soda" because nobody asked Pepsi to provide a health food product, they asked for a drink that tastes good. I don't have a beef with McDonald's because nobody asked them to provide healthy double quarter pounders. Consumers drive product development and marketing strategies. People want more, whether it's more taste, bigger servings, more savings, more options, you name it. Nobody forced half of Americans to become overweight, they chose to eat that way. I'd argue that a VAST majority of the annual Gatorade consumption each year isn't by someone actively training, or fueling or recovering therefrom. People drink it for the taste, and for the image. That's their baggage, and they have to deal with the consequences, just like they have to deal with the consequences of drinking beer over dinner, or deal with the consequences of not getting enough fiber in their diet. Overdo it with Gatorade, you'll have issues, just like if you overdo it with beer.