Athletes are always after the competitive edge. They are constantly researching how they can become better at their chosen activity. Much focus is given to sports drinks, for good reason.
One of the most common questions I get from high performance athletes is, “what should I drink?” Usually my answer is simply, water, but the exception is when athletes are active for an extended period of time.
If an athlete is sweating profusely and participating in an activity lasting more than one hour, they highly benefit from a beverage that replaces some of the lost electrolytes and provides carbohydrates.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a healthy sports beverage that does not contain refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and/or colourings. It astounds me that athletes would put these glowing drinks into their bodies (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade, etc). Have you ever seen anything edible in nature that is fluorescent green, yellow or blue?
If you don’t want to ingest glowing beverages that come in plastic bottles (which leech bisphenol-a and phthalates), there are healthy alternatives available.
The most popular natural beverage on the market is coconut water. It is the liquid extracted straight from the heart of the coconut. Nothing added or taken away. Coconut water contains a healthy dose of carbohydrates and electrolytes to replace those lost during exercise.
If you exercise frequently however, purchasing coconut water can get a little pricey.
Athletes Recovery Elixir
One of my favorite things to do is to make my own sports drink, and I recommend it to all high-intensity athletes I come across. I call it the “athletes recovery elixir.”
It contains three simple ingredients:
The base consists of 1 cup of clean water, preferably spring water or reverse osmosis.
Then I add 2.5 tsp of raw unpasteurized honey. This provides about 14 grams of carbohydrate per cup of water. Research has shown that this is the optimal ratio of carbohydrate to water for optimal absorption during activity. Most commercial sports drinks have this exact composition.
Raw honey is a healthy natural sweetener that provides a wide array of nutrients. In its raw form honey contains enzymes which support metabolism.
Finally, I add a pinch of sea salt for electrolyte content. Sea salt contains over 70 trace minerals, but is very high in sodium, which is lost during high intensity exercise.
Athletes Recovery Elixir Recipe
Try it! You’ll never want to buy another sports drink again.