Make your own sports drinks – cheap and tasty DIY solutions

By Alastair McDermott | November 9th, 2006

I remember reading about a DIY sports drink a couple of years back and it caught my interest because I was going through a lot of powdered Gatorade which is next to impossible to find in Ireland, or spending too much money on Lucozade Sport or equivalent sports energy drinks. Athletes drink a lot in training and I wanted to make my own sports drinks to save money and also because I can tailor the ingredients better to my needs.

The important ingredients of a sports drink are:

  • water keep the body hydrated,
  • salts to both
    • aid in that hydration (salt makes the solution isotonic) and to
    • replace some (but not all) of the lost salts from sweat, and
  • carbohydrates (sugars) for energy.

It’s pretty easy to figure out a simple recipe if you want to make your own sports drink. Mess with the amounts to make it taste ok but don’t over do the sugar or salt:

  • 70% water
  • 30% orange juice
  • small amount of sugar to your energy and taste needs
  • pinch of salt (sodium is good, great if you can get some with potassium also)

That’s it. Simple, eh? Covers the basics, is dead cheap and tastes just fine. So that’s a bit basic, what else can you make?

One I’ve heard of cyclists using a lot years ago is flat coke, they shake it up to remove the gas which can interfere with digestion. I don’t know if they add salt but would make sense. This explains why a lot of pro-cyclists have bad teeth :)

Here’s another energy drink do it yourself receipe from Mike Greary:

1. Make a big iced tea mixture using green tea, white tea, and yerba mate tea. I like to add a little fruit flavor, so I’ll use 1 tea bag of a raspberry or blueberry hibiscus tea, and then use 2-3 green and/or white tea bags, and 2-3 yerba mate tea bags, and make a gallon container of iced tea. I just use a small amount of stevia to lightly sweeten the batch of tea.

2. I buy a container of organic coconut water from a health food store, or buy fresh coconuts to obtain the coconut water from the inside.

3. For my healthy energy drink, I mix a half of a glass of the white/green/yerba mate iced tea mixture and fill the rest of the glass with the coconut water.

This is actually a delicious and truly healthy energy drink instead of the chemical-laden crappy energy drinks that everybody is getting suckered into buying these days.

Here’s another DIY energy drink recipe which I saw over at Yaniverse – (s)he calls “EnerT”. The ingredients for 1000ml:

  • 2 Tea Bags
  • 6 level teaspoon sugar (24 grams)
  • A pinch of salt (0.5 grams)
  • 2 oz lemon juice (about 55 grams)
  • 30 oz boiling water

I opted for tea as caffeine has a beneficial workout benefit, and tea provides a low-level caffeine, striking my personally preferred balanced between ‘waking’ and ‘wired’. Any level of sugars under 8% is acceptable, but I find Gatorade to be overly caloric for those of us trying to balance increased workout performance with weight loss/maintenance.

Good point on the caffeine, and the sugar content is interesting too, I didn’t realise Gatorade was so high in calories.

Further reading:

Comments

I’ve been making my own sports drink, though using Glucose powder rather than plain sugar. I was just about to write a post on my blog about it actually! Strange coincidence.

F— lucozade and gatorade, they’re nothing but a ripoff for people with more money than sense, DIY cheapozade is the cheap and cheerful way forward!

Yeah. You know that pro cyclists, of all athletes, have absolutely the worst teeth? Far and away, all down to the sugar :)

I wrote this post because (out of the blue) my sister mailed me the link to Yann’s post there.

By brandon goldman on December 14th, 2006 at 11:12 pm

I had a lot of problems trying to find good tasting sports drinks because they are so sweet and taste like crap (in my opinion). I just bought this ZYM (gozym.com) drink which tastes real good and does the trick. They say to drop a tablet for every 20oz but it tastes good with about 32 0z. It ends up costing you about 60 cents for a 32 oz drink.

I am lazy so you don’t have to take any time mixing stuff!

brandon

Hey brandon, sounds interesting, I’ll check it out. I agree 100% on the oversweetness, it’s a killer!

Use Dextro Powder instead of sugar,its still cheap and
better than raw sugar.

What an awesome idea! Think my husband will notice if I switch up his Gatorade?

powerade zero may cost as little as .68 cents and has ZERO calories and comes in a litre bottle…it isn’t free like cheapade lol…but it doesn’t kill the workout either..even Gatorade’s G2 has caloric value.

By the male homemaker on October 2nd, 2008 at 5:17 am

For years I’ve been mixing 4 parts to 1, filtered tap water with a citrus acid/tartrazine based Lime concentrate, then add a pinch of salt.
This is cheap, healthy and extremely refreshing on hot days. The best things is my kids who swim competively love this drink and use it during work outs and races.

We’ve also used mixed into this concoction on extremely hot days when the kids compete, the cheap packs of dehydration powders they are easy to find in pharmacies.

This is a low in Calories, cheap, a bit sour but great tasting, healthy and cheap.

i’m getting shitloads of traffic from this page. strange. obviously you’re getting shitloads of traffic from elsewhere, and people are clicking through to me.

You need magnesium and potassium, although I’ll grant you that Gatorade has no magnesium.

This recipe is really good. All natural. I am using other energy drink that is very natural too.

By Answer Dude on December 4th, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Want to make an energy drink like monster, rockstar, or red bull? All you need to do is add liquid caffeine mix to sparkling Apple Cider (carbonated). You will hardly be able to tell the difference. Seriously, the taste, look, fizz, and energy, will blow you away.

You can purchase the inexpensive Energy Mix (Google: Semi-Sweetened Mix). The thing to remember is that powder caffeine will not work. It will not dissolve in cold beverages. And, even in hot beverages it will only dissolve slightly.

Another great advantage to making your own energy drink is that you control how much caffeine you want to add. Add a little or a lot – it depends on how much of an energy boost you want – you decide!

Why dont’ you just take ephedrine, caffeine & aspirin….that’ll wake u up…

price for one dose: $0.84
energy for 6 hours…

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