Endurance athletes need to focus on replenishing their body's stores during and after an intense workout. Your body needs sugar (simple carbohydrates) within 15-30 minutes of finishing exercise or throughout if participating in a prolonged activity. Sports drinks are the best way to rehydrate and quickly restore the minerals that are lost through sweat. Unfortunately, many mainstream drinks contain dangerous additives such as artificial sweeteners, colours, brominated vegetable oil, and other carcinogenic chemicals as well as more sugar and sodium than our bodies need. Alas, there's hope! You can make your own sports drinks with far fewer ingredients at home. Here are 3 easy recipes to replenish electrolytes with real foods and keep you hydrated in the process.
1. 500mL Unpasteurized Coconut Water & 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Coconut water is a wonderful source of many electrolytes including magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. However, it doesn't contain a sufficient balance of sodium to potassium for elite athletes, which is why sea salt should be added.
2. 1L Water, 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup or Honey, Juice of 1 Lemon & 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
This drink is an inexpensive alternative to coconut water and provides the same benefits. Lemons contain the most minerals out of any of the citrus fruit and maple syrup is the best form of sugar for your body during exercise.
3. 750mL Water, 250mL Fresh Pineapple or Berry Juice & 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Fructose, the sugar found in fruit, should be avoided pre and post workout because it rapidly lowers the anabolic hormones you've worked to increase during your training. When ingested during exercise, fructose is also less metabolically available compared to glucose. If you are going to consume fruits, focus on low fructose options like bananas, pineapple, raspberries, or strawberries vs. fruits high in fructose such as agave, mangos, and pears.