Sports Nutrition Tip: Drink This, Not That

After spending the weekend celebrating the 4th of July, a holiday that drives unthinkable spikes in hot dog sales, I thought it’d be an appropriate time for another guest post from my friend Brian St. Pierre, who wrote the Nutrition Guide for my new program Ultimate Hockey Transformation.

As a quick reminder, you can get ~50% off almost all of my products until Friday using these links:

  1. Ultimate Hockey Training ($35.95 $19.95)
  2. Ultimate Hockey Transformation (Pro: $147 $77 Elite: $117 $57)
  3. Optimizing Movement ($97 $47)



Tip #7 – Drink Mostly Calorie-Free Beverages by Brian St. Pierre

Water is one of the most important aspects of exercise nutrition. In fact, your muscles are over 70% water!

If you don’t drink enough of it, and you end up even a little dehydrated, you will suffer. Your performance will decline, your health will diminish and your body composition will worsen.

Not drinking enough water will especially hurt your performance.

Lose anything more than 1% of your body water – which you can do exercising for just one hour in the heat – your endurance drops, strength and power disappear, and your heart starts racing during relatively easy activities.

This is why it is critical you drink enough. It strongly affects everything you may want to improve – how you look, how you feel, and how you perform. Being dehydrated prevents any of the other nutrition strategies I’ve covered from providing you as much benefit.

So, how much water should you drink?

As a hard-training athlete, you should aim for 12-16 cups (3-4 liters) every day.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Here is an easy 3-step process that I’ve borrowed from my colleague, Dr. John Berardi, for drinking enough:

Step 1: fill a 1-liter bottle and drink it during workouts and practices

Step 2: fill another 1 liter bottle and drink it right after workouts and practices

Step 3: each time you eat a meal, drink another 1-2 cups of water

Now, your beverage choices are not limited to just water. But you would be best served by consuming mostly calorie-free beverages, including water. I will go over some of the best ones. Even with these other options available to you, it would be best if water still made up at least half of your total fluid intake.

Black coffee

Coffee is a somewhat controversial beverage, but it really shouldn’t be.

Black Coffee

Some people metabolize caffeine poorly, or feel jittery from caffeine. If this is you, minimize your coffee consumption. But for everyone else, 1-3 cups of black coffee can provided a nice dose of health benefits:

  1. Improved athletic performance
  2. Decreased risk of some cancers
  3. Decreased risk of neurological diseases
  4. And more.


Tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. It is loaded with antioxidants and powerful nutrients. A few cups per day has been shown to:

  1. Calm nerves
  2. Decrease risk of some cancers
  3. Boost immune system function
  4. And more.

Drinks to minimize

With the focus on consuming mostly calorie-free beverages, that means there are other drinks you should aim to minimize. These drinks usually just provide lots of unnecessary sugar and calories, and don’t provide much value to the body.

These drinks include:

  1. soda
  2. energy drinks
  3. fruit juice
  4. alcohol

Note, that this doesn’t mean you should never drink these beverages. An occasional soda or juice is not a problem. It is what you do consistently that matters, not what you do on occasion.

Sports drinks

There can be a time and a place for sports drinks too (Biosteel, Gatorade, Powerade, etc.), such as during extended exercise, being active in intense heat, or during competition. But for general hydration purposes, water is your best choice.

In the end, it is critically important that you consume adequate amounts of fluid every day. If you’re working out or competing, and start feeling a little confused, get a headache, feel tired too quickly, get dizzy, get light-headed when standing up, or feel really moody, these are early warning signs; you need to start drinking water immediately.

-Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD, CSCS, CISSN, PN1

P.S. For more information on how to get a copy of Brian’s incredible hockey nutrition manual, click here: Ultimate Hockey Transformation

Brian is a Registered Dietitian and received his Bachelor’s in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Maine, where he also received his Master’s in Food Science and Human Nutrition. He is a Certified Sports Nutritionist as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Brian worked for three years at Cressey Performance as the head Sports Nutritionist and as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, working with hundreds of athletes and recreational exercisers of all types. During this time, he also authored the High Performance Handbook Nutrition Guide, Show and Go Nutrition Guide, Ultimate Hockey Nutrition and dozens of articles for publication.

Nowadays, he works closely with Dr. John Berardi as a full-time coach and a nutrition educator at Precision Nutrition. In particular, working closely with our elite athletes and fitness professionals. As part of the Precision Nutrition mission, he helps to deliver life-changing, research-driven nutrition coaching for everyone.

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!

Get Ultimate Hockey Transformation Now!

Year-round age-specific hockey training programs complete with a comprehensive instructional video database!

Ultimate Hockey Transformation Pro Package-small

Get access to your game-changing program now >> Ultimate Hockey Transformation

“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
– Mike Boyle, Head S&C Coach, US Women’s Olympic Team

“…if you want to be the best, Kevin is the one you have to train with”
– Brijesh Patel, Head S&C Coach, Quinnipiac University