We're no sports scientists, but every one of us here at ManMade are athletes - runners, climbers, cyclists, lifters, and hikers. And what those hours on the road, gym, or trail have taught us is: you need energy to keep going, perform high-intensity intervals or bursts, and do the work to get yourself to your destination. And then get yourself home again.
That means that if you're exercising for more than 30-60 minutes, you need to consume more than just water.
Sports drinks are a great way to get both fluid replacement, carbohydrate replenishment, and extra electrolytes to combat those lost by sweat. For high-intensity or long-distance endurance training, you should shoot for 25-50 mg of carbohydrates per hour, and at least 24 oz of fluid, depending on how much you're sweating.
And you can buy commercial products for this, and they work...though sometimes too well. They often contain more sugar than you need, and don't provide a variety of carbohydrates (glucose, fructose). And...they're expensive.
So, we do what we do on ManMade, and make our own using ingredients you can find in any kitchen. Here's how to do it.
Materials and Tools
- Water bottle
- 100% fruit juice
- sea salt
- permanent marker
- assorted measuring tools (measuring cups, spoons, etc)
1. First, if you don't know it, determine the volume capacity of you water bottle. You can just fill it with water, 1/2 cup at a time, until it's full. Remember 1 cup = 8 oz. Most standard sports bottles (like those you don't wear on a runners belt) are either 20 or 24 ozs. Larger bottles uses for backpacking or outdoor recreation tend to have the volume measurements right on them.
Once you've figured out the size of your bottle, divide the oz/ml by three. So, for a 24 oz bottle, that's 8 oz, or one cup. Leave that amount of liquid in the bottle.
2. Hold your bottle up to the light, so you can see the liquid inside. Note the line, and mark it with a permanent marker. If you can't see through your bottle, and it's relatively cylindrical, you can measure the height and divide by three. Close enough for these purposes.
3. Now, the measuring part is done and your bottle is set up for every workout. So, begin by filling your bottle up to line with fruit juice - try something like cranberry, orange, grapefruit, white grape, etc. All of these are easily absorbed.
4. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt. Measure it once, and note what this amount looks like. After this, you can just grab a nice pinch and forgo the spoons. Sea salt is preferred over regular iodized table salt, because it contains minerals other than sodium that get sweated out as you work. But, of course, use what you have. If you do use fine grain table salt, dial back the amount just a bit, since its grains are a much smaller size.
5. Now, fill the bottle to the top with cold water. This creates a ratio with the magic formula of 2:1 water to juice, with a pinch of salt. Note that this doesn't mean 2:1 water to sugar, since the juice itself is also something like 95% water. This adds just the right amount of easy-to-absorb carbohydrates to keep fueling your high-intensity exercise.
6. Lastly, shake it all up to combine, and give it a sip. What's it taste like? Sports drink? A little sweet, a little sour, and a bit salty? Great! We've done our job.
You can, of course, experiment with different taste and flavor combinations to find one to fuel your session. If you find one you love, let us know in the comments below.
Now, get out there and move.