Most of you know the names. Gatorade. Powerade.
Some of you know the other names. Hammer. Cliff.
These are THE big names in the world of endurance or “Sports Drinks.” Yes, they work by providing the body basically liquid, diluted carbohydrates, electrolytes and calories in general. Research has shown about 1/3 of what is consumed during an event or hard training actually gets absorbed during the time of the event or training period.
Knowing this, the big question is: “Are they actually needed?”
The short answer is “it depends how long you train.”
As a general rule, for training that is 15-60 minutes long, the answer is that they are probably not needed. The one exception would be is if you are training for an hour in high heat and high humidity, perspiring a great deal. In such cases, yes, they are a good idea. For the most part however, water will work just fine.
(On a side note: Colder water tends to get absorbed more quickly.)
For events or training that goes beyond the 60 minutes mark, it is much more imperative that you add one of your favorite sports drinks into the mix. Go with a brand name or create your own. It is not as difficult as it sounds. Here is an example:
Mix the following:
- 1 quart water
- baking soda (typically about 1/2 tsp.)
- salt (1/2 tsp)
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
Pour the sugar, salt and baking soda into a tall drinking glass and add just enough not boiling, but not warm, hot water to dissolve the substances. Stir very vigorously, until all is absorbed.
Add fresh orange, mango, pear juice or concentrate into the mix etc. Coconut juice is arguably the best. Experiment with different fruits, concentrates or combinations. Stir the mixture or place in blender with a bunch of ice cubes.
I also like to add some liquid trace minerals to the mix but be aware, they are rough tasting. If you do this, be SURE to add some natural flavoring to the mix. Once completed, following the tried and true formula: