Is Gatorade Good For Bulking? Benefits & Drawbacks Explained

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You’ve probably heard mixed opinions about drinking Gatorade as a bodybuilder and are wondering if you’re missing out. This article breaks down the benefits, timing for optimal results, and three tips for adding it to your bodybuilding diet.

Key Takeaways

  • As a bodybuilder, you can drink Gatorade to add calories when bulking. You can also have Gatorade Zero (which has zero calories per bottle) when cutting to avoid spending your calorie ‘allowance’ on beverages.
  • Gatorade can support hydration by increasing fluid, sodium, and potassium intake. You can have it during workouts if you sweat a lot, and workouts last 90+ minutes.
  • Carb-rich Gatorades can be a fantastic addition to a pre- or post-workout meal or snack because they will provide extra energy (glucose) to improve your performance and help replenish lost glycogen.  But Gatorade isn’t mandatory to have good workouts.

Gatorade: Overview

Types of Gatorade: Nutritional Content

There are different types of Gatorade available on the market, each with a specific characteristic and intended benefit. 

Let’s take a brief look and see how they differ:

NameServing sizeCalories (kcal)Carbs (g)SodiumPotassium
Gatorade Thirst QuencherGatorade Thirst Quencher
12 oz802216050
G ZeroG Zero12 oz0016050
G2G212 oz30816045
Organic Thirst  QuencherOrganic Thirst Quencher16.9 oz1203023060
Gatorade JuicedGatorade Juiced12 oz40916050
Endurance FormulaEndurance Formula12 oz9022310140


Gatorade has 0 to 120 calories per serving, depending on the type.

This isn’t a lot, considering that a bodybuilder’s diet can range from 2500 to 3500+ calories, depending on size, activity level, and stage of training (cutting or bulking).

For those in a bulking phase, using the Gatorade with more calories (Thirst Quencher, Organic Thirst Quencher, and Gatorade Juiced) is an excellent option when you struggle to add extra calories to your diet.

Gatorades higher in calories are great while bulking because they can add calories, allowing you to achieve the necessary calorie surplus more easily.

On the other hand, you might want to go for a lower-calorie option like G Zero when cutting. 


Gatorade only has simple carbs with no protein or fat.

The main objective of Gatorade is to provide immediate energy for your training or activity session. It can also boost your daily carb content if you struggle to reach your target (especially if that’s 300-400+ grams).

Since simple carbs digest quickly, they provide an almost immediate boost in energy levels.

However, remember you still need some protein added to the mix. You can have them alongside Gatorade or afterward.  

Also, make sure to measure the Gatorade portion to know how many calories and carbs you are ingesting. 


Before we dig into Gatorade’s micronutrients, it is important to understand what electrolytes are and why they are useful. This is because Gatorade is rich in electrolytes.  

Electrolytes are minerals that help regulate nerve and muscle impulses

They also help maintain balanced fluid levels within the body, including a proper ratio of fluid inside and outside cells. 

This is crucial for various bodily processes, such as cell signaling (e.g., for muscle contractions) and nutrient absorption. 

There are five essential electrolytes in the body: sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium. Gatorade has two of these electrolytes: 

You might lose some of these electrolytes during a workout session through your sweat. The amount you lose depends on how much you sweat. 

Suppose the workout lasts more than 90 minutes. In that case, if you work out hard enough, or in a very humid or hot environment, you will lose more electrolytes.

Not replacing these electrolytes during or after training can lead to a temporary imbalance and some symptoms, such as muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and headaches.

Gatorade helps replenish the two electrolytes you’re most likely to lose through sweat: sodium and potassium.

That said, Gatorade is not the only intra-workout option. Here’s a quick tip from certified nutrition coach Amber Sayer:

“Examples of good endurance fueling alternatives to Gatorade include bananas, oranges, dried dates or figs, energy bars, applesauce squeeze packets, maple syrup, dried pineapple chunks, raisins of yogurt-covered raisins, fig newtons, and bites of peanut butter sandwiches.”

Do Bodybuilders Train Hard Enough To Use Gatorade?

Whether you need to consume Gatorade depends on the amount of electrolytes you lose during a training session. 

On average, you can lose between 200 and 1200 mg of sodium during a hard training session, depending on how much you sweat and if you work out longer than 90 minutes.

(This means 90 active minutes. So if you spend 90 minutes at the gym but most of the time you spend it on your phone or doing something else, it doesn’t count).

So, if you sweat a lot (e.g., doing lots of high-rep and high-effort sets or training in a hot or humid gym) or routinely work out for 90+ minutes, consider having Gatorade.

Let’s Recap: When Should You Use Gatorade? 

when should you use gatorade

You might want to have Gatorade as a bodybuilder for several reasons:

  • You are in a bulking phase and need some quick carbs to help you fuel your training session, but you don’t want to eat anything because it makes your stomach feel heavy.
  • You are in a bulking phase, are training for more than 90 minutes, and need to include extra calories and carbs in your diet.
  • You are in a cutting phase, working out for more than 90 minutes (or having a double session per day), or you are working out in a hot or humid environment.  However, here you should include G-Zero as it has fewer calories but still offers the electrolyte benefits. 

3 Pros Of Drinking Gatorade For Bodybuilding

pros vs cons of drinking gatorade for bodybuilding

1. Proper Hydration

Dehydration occurs when your body is low on water and electrolytes. This means proper hydration is about replenishing both

So, while water is essential to life, it alone may not be enough to stay adequately hydrated. 

For instance, hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when sodium concentrations become too low (e.g., drinking lots of water without replenishing lost sodium).

Hyponatremia can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, and muscle weakness.

To avoid this, you might want to include a Gatorade occasionally if you have long training sessions or work out in a humid or hot environment. 

2. Helps You Add Calories

Finding different ways to add calories can be challenging for those in a bulking phase.

Often, when my clients struggle to include more carbs or calories, I recommend having 12 ounces of Gatorade during the workout. 

This helps increase caloric intake and provides an extra energy boost during training.  

The alternative (especially on rest days or if trying to limit sodium intake) can be having simple carbs like honey or fruits.

3. Prevents Muscle Cramps

Gatorade is an excellent aid for those suffering from muscle cramps due to low potassium levels.

As noted, Gatorade is an excellent potassium source. 

So, you may want to add it to your diet if you frequently get cramps and don’t eat potassium-rich foods like bananas, avocados, spinach, and potatoes.

1 Con of Drinking Gatorade For Bodybuilding

High In Carbs and Sodium

Some Gatorade varieties provide calories in the form of simple carbs, which may not be ideal during a cutting phase.

I recommend avoiding liquid calories (especially sports drinks because they aren’t satiating) and having more filling foods (like a whole apple or a green salad) to feel fuller between meals. 

If you want to have some Gatorade because you enjoy the taste or want to replenish lost electrolytes, go for a low-carb option like G Zero.

Also, while having sodium is essential for overall health, be careful with your intake. Too much of it can lead to water retention and increase blood pressure.

The American Heart Association recommends having no more than 2,300 mg daily, whereas the average person in the US consumes 3,500+ mg.

Is Gatorade Good For Muscle Growth?

Gatorade helps increase your calories and adds carbs to your diet. A caloric surplus is essential in a bulking phase and trying to build muscle

However, remember that it lacks protein, so you need to have a variety of protein sources to reach the minimum of 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight.

To help your muscles grow, you need to give the body an energy source to use instead of muscle mass for energy. 

Plus, you need some dietary fats to support hormonal function, absorb important nutrients (like vitamins A and E), and feel your best.

Tips For Incorporating Gatorade Into A Bodybuilding Diet

tips for incorporating gatorade into a bodybuilding diet

Mix It With Protein

If you are going to have Gatorade after training, you need to add a protein source for optimal recovery.

One option  I often recommend to my clients is to mix it up with a protein shake

For example, you can mix the vanilla protein shake with the lemon Gatorade if you like a creamy shake. It more or less tastes like lemon pie.

Create Gatorade Ice Cubes

Although some people prefer to drink Gatorade with room temperature water, you might want to have a refreshing drink on those hot summer days. 

To that end, you can create Gatorade ice cubes.

Mix some water and Gatorade and pour it into an ice tray. Store them in the freezer and use them to chill your water.

Increase the Solubility

A common complaint I hear from clients is that powdered Gatorade doesn’t dissolve so well in water. This happens when you mix it in cold water. 

To improve solubility (how well the powder dissolves in water), add it to room temperature water. Warmer water will improve mixability even more, and you can always chill the beverage in the fridge before drinking it.

Other Liquids For Bodybuilders


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About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.

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