The Do-It-Yourself Sports Drink

Short on time between bouts of training, competition, or practice? Try this concoction of liquid nutrition to refuel and keep you performing at your best.

Alexander Nurse Bey
October 7, 2021

It can be tough when having to go from either school, sports practice, or competition straight to the weight room. While it is always best if you can leave 4-6 hours between sports and strength training so that you can refuel, wind down with a short nap, and fuel again, it isn’t always possible. This is especially true for high school athletes who have little time after school to prepare for physically challenging extra-curricular activity. Eating too close to sports or strength training can often backfire with cramping, nausea, and the worst case, vomiting everything you just ate! Preparing a “do-it-yourself (DIY)”sports drink either at the beginning of the day or immediately afterschool/practice before strength training can do a great deal for your performance, and ensure that you have the most successful session possible. Liquid nutrition is emptied quickly from the stomach and is easily digested, making the DIY sports drink a great option for any athlete.

The Method

In general, you should build the habit of weighing yourself before and after practice/training. This will give you an idea of how much water and salt is lost in the form of sweat (if you weigh less after practice/training you can safely assume that it was only water weight). Depending on the activity, sometimes only a little bit of weight is lost. But some athletes depending on their size and the sport or position they play may lose upwards of ten pounds! This can be problematic because even a 1% loss of water in bodyweight can have consequences on your coordination, reaction time, and other facets of sports performance.

To make matters worse, it is very easy to trick the body into believing that it has been sufficiently rehydrated even when the water weight lost is not completely replaced. A glass of water after practice might do the job of making you “feel” hydrated again and take away your thirst even though the total amount of water lost is closer to four or five glasses. This leads to the snowball effect, where we are becoming continually dehydrated as the days turn into weeks. Furthermore, refueling on water is not enough because sweat also contains salt, and losing sodium can be just as detrimental to your performance as losing water. It can also affect your ability to properly digest the food you eat.

So before you can make the perfect DIY sports drink, get an idea of how much water you tend to lose after practice. Every pound of water lost requires to two to three cups of water to replace it, along with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Now that you know how much water weight you typically lose, you can prepare your DIY sports drink ahead of time. Here’s what to do:

1. Coconut Water + Water: As stated above, for every pound of water weight that is lost, replace it with 2-3 cups of water. If you are a larger athlete over 190lbs, I would say to make it 3 cups to stay on the safe side. If you know you are going to lose about seven pounds of water, that’s either14 or 21 cups. Use a mix of filtered water and coconut water, roughly half and half. If you need less than ten cups of water to refuel (for example, maybe you only lose 3lbs of water) then use mostly coconut water.

Coconut water is great because it contains two to three different forms of carbohydrates, making it effective at replenishing the energy stored in your muscles; it contains electrolytes, which your brain uses to communicate with muscles; and it contains Vitamin C to help mitigate tissue damage and promote healing. The Thirsty Buddha is a great brand to use.

2. Salt: Add ¼ teaspoon for every pound lost. You can use salts such as Pink Salts, Grey Salts, Crystal Salts, or Sea Salts. Venture over to to choose the best salt for you. However, do not use table salt! Table salt can negatively affect the blood vessels and impact the thyroid gland which is responsible for controlling how efficiently we use energy.

3. Essential Amino Acids (EAAs): Use one scoop to help spare the breakdown of muscle tissue and promote muscle repair. EAAs are better than regular protein (such as whey, casein, or even vegan) when you are rushing to your post-practice or post-game workout because the body does not have to work as hard to break it down and can quickly assimilate the amino acids into the protein it needs.

4. Stur Drink Mix: Add this for flavouring if you find that the EAAs above taste awful! You can also use other brands, but this is a good one.

There you have it. Mix all of the above into one or more bottles(however many are required to hold the number of cups you need), or buy one big bottle so that it all fits into one.

Any questions about creating your DIY sports drink? Reach out to me at the Contact page.

Happy Training.

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