How To Make Your Own Sports Drink

Even though a bought sports drink is convenient, apart from being an extra expense and sometimes running short of stock, it is useful to know how to make your own sports drink at a fraction of the cost.

The good news is that there is one that is scientifically proven to work just as well as, if not better than, your standard sports drink and that is nothing other than sugar water.

“In a sports drink study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers had 14 endurance-trained male cyclists drink either a sucrose (table sugar) drink or a glucose drink before and during a three-hour ride in a blind study. Two weeks later, they did it again, only this time switching beverages. Each time, the researchers used an imaging technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to monitor how much glycogen the riders had stored in their livers and muscles before and after riding. They also drew blood samples to check glucose and lactate levels and captured some exhaled-breath samples to measure their oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. Riders reported how they felt, including their energy levels, fatigue, and/or GI comfort or discomfort.

In the end, both drinks helped preserve liver glycogen levels, and muscle glycogen dropped no matter which drinks they used. However, overall carb-burning was higher with the sucrose beverage, and the riders reported feeling less fatigued and had fewer incidents of GI discomfort when they were drinking it during their long ride. So though both drinks worked, the sucrose sweetened one helped them feel and perform a bit better.”

Sucrose or sugar as we know it can provide the necessary carbohydrate during exercise to prevent a drop in blood glucose, which is really the reason you’re taking in this extra fuel for prolonged activity.

A mix of carbohydrates, like sucrose, which is actually two sugars—glucose plus fructose—may be more efficiently used by your muscles during exercise than a single source such as glucose.

Sugar water is not fancy but can be just as effective, and if you add a couple of shakes of salt you have a drink that’s comparable to a sports drink at a fraction of the cost.

So obviously the flavor of plain sugar water won’t be as tasty or interesting as your favorite sports drink, which isn’t a small deal because if you love the taste of something, you’re more likely to drink what you need to stay hydrated. There are also no electrolytes in the mix unless you add them. But that too can be done.

Actually the carbohydrate is the cheapest part of a sports drink because we pay for the bottle, added flavors, and any number of added ingredients. Sugar water is not fancy but can be as effective, and if you add a couple of shakes of salt you have a drink that’s comparable to a sports drink at a fraction of the cost.

Recipes – How To Make Your Own Sports Drink

how to make your own sports drink

These recipes below offer the easiest and quickest mixes. Just fill up your bottle with water, add the other ingredients, shake well, and go! Feel free to adjust the sweetness and saltiness to your liking or needs.

Tropical Sports Drink Blend

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup coconut water (good for extra potassium)
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Makes about one liter.

Basic Sports Drink

You can use this recipe on its own or as a base to get creative with your own concoction.

  • bottle of water
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Maple Sports Drink

When you are working out for more than an hour, enjoy this all-natural sports beverage to energize your workouts

  • 3 ¾ cups cold water
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Makes just over a liter.

Lime And Lemon Sports Drink

Try infusing water with any fruit flavor you prefer by slicing the fruit into a pitcher of water and letting it sit overnight,” she says. Citrus fruits such as lemons and limes provide a refreshing flavor boost for any season.

  • Bottle of lemon and lime infused water
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Honey Sports Drink

  • 3 ½ cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice

Makes about one liter.

These two recipes are a little more labor and time-intensive, but delicious.

Workout Punch

This tangy, sweet punch courtesy of Rodale’s Organic Life has just enough carbs to keep you fueled, while the water-sodium combination enhances hydration.

  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup orange juice (not concentrate)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 ½ cups cold water

1. Dissolve sugar and salt in the bottom of a pitcher of hot water.
2. Add juices and remaining water.
3. Chill for 30 minutes.

Makes about 32 ounces

Iced Green-Ginger-Mint Tea

This one is high in antioxidants and low in calories.

Mint has been added as it has been shown to provide mental energy during exercise. You can put in as much or little as you like.

  • 3 cups cold water
  • 3 bags of green tea
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and mashed
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • Dash of honey simple syrup (2 to 3 tablespoons honey mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons boiling water)

1. Add everything to your pitcher, pour in cold water, and let sit for a few hours. (Sun is great, but not necessary, while it steeps.)
2. Pour over ice or refrigerate until chilled.

Makes about 750ml

Now that you know how to make your own sports drink, you can get inventive and try other ingredients in the mix. There is no end to the variations that you can get.

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