Monday, October 19, 2015

DYI Sports Drinks: The Ultimate "How To"

Have you ever wanted to know how to make your own sports drinks? Well it’s not all that hard, only requires 5 ingredients and can be made at a fraction of the price!
In this blog post you will learn how to make your own sports drink powder that will taste SO good you won’t be able to tell the difference between ‘store bought’ and your ‘homemade’ version. Better yet, all of the following ingredients can be purchased at your local grocery store. I promise!
Hannah Reese (my fav goddaughter) and I set out to develop a sports drink mix that could be created in bulk for you to try on your next long training run. With Hannah’s keen palate and her kitchen ‘know-how’ I think we pulled it off. My role… I was more or less the taste tester! 
BTW, Hannah also created a very popular pre-workout snack bar in an earlier post called ‘The Hungry Runner‘ that still gets lots of views.

Ok, on to the recipe!

Sports Drink Powder
Yield: 2 gallons prepared Prep time: 5 minutes  
·         3 cups granulated sugar
·         2 teaspoons table salt
·         1 teaspoon NoSalt Sodium free salt or 100% potassium salt
·         2 tablespoons citric acid OR 4 packets Kool-Aid unsweetened drink mix of choice (1 packet makes 2 quarts)

Measure the above ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir ingredients together. Place mixture in an air tight container and store at room temperature.
Use the table below to prepare the desired amount of sports drink for your next workout.

Real talk – The reason behind the ingredients and where to find to them in the store  
Granulated sugar
Location: Baking Aisle
Optimal sports drinks contain different types of sugars allowing the body to use various avenues for carbohydrate absorption. Table sugar or sucrose is composed of 50% glucose and 50% fructose making it a perfect choice as a sweetener and carbohydrate replacement. Fructose offers a great flavor profile and utilizes a different absorption route while glucose is utilized immediately for energy. As mentioned in the hydration 101 series, a carbohydrate concentration of 6-8% solution is ideal to prevent gastric distress. This particular recipes comes in right at 7.5% and can be increased or decreased depending on your flavor profile, GI tolerance, and liquid to carbohydrate ratio.     
Table Salt
Location: Baking Aisle
Table salt contains sodium and chloride the primary electrolytes lost in sweat. While electrolytes may not be needed physiologically for events less than four hours, salt has other benefits. For shorter durations the addition of salt can help increase thirst and therefore increase fluid intake.           
 NoSalt sodium free salt or 100% potassium salt
Location:  Baking Aisle next to the spices and other light salt products.
Similar to salt, potassium replacement is generally indicated in prolonged exercise. The best method for maintaining adequate levels of potassium on a daily basis is through fruit and vegetable consumption. Add this ingredient for exercise bouts longer than four hours or to ensure adequate daily intake for those doing shorter durations.       
Citric Acid
Location:  Canning section of the grocery store or in the baking aisle
Citric acid is a natural compound largely found in citrus fruits. This ingredient adds a sour flavor creating a lemon-lime taste and acts as a preservative.       
 Kool-Aid Unsweetened Drink Mix
Location: Beverage Aisle
Remember those days as a kid when you couldn’t wait to come inside out of the blistering heat and have a long draught of your favorite Kool-Aid. Well now you have excuse to bring it back! Pick your favorite flavor to create the same tasting sports drink! Be sure to grab the unsweetened flavors as the traditional drink mix may create an undesirable flavor and additional carbohydrates.    
The Final Product...

Hannah Blue Mountain Blast
A 1/4 cup provides 180 calories, which is perfect for your 20 oz bottle. If you are out on the trail put some of the powder in a zip-lock bag and carry it with you!

About the Author:
JJ Mayo is an endurance athlete, a registered dietitian, and a sports science professor at the University of Central Arkansas. His blog, Fuel For Endurance, helps endurance athletes achieve better race results through optimal nutrition. He also just released a sports nutrition CEU course at