by Helen Easterly representing Moxie Cycling in Georgia, USA
We’re in the middle of summer here in Georgia and, like most places that means it’s hot. It also means that I find myself sweating more and needing more than just water in my bottles when I’m riding. A sweaty Helen means more electrolytes lost and it’s important that I replace them. Sports drinks are a must have this time of year!
It seems like there are a million different sports drinks out there which can make it difficult to decipher what’s best. Remember that your goal is to replace the electrolytes like sodium & potassium that are lost while you’re riding. My advice?
Read the Label.
Drinks with high fructose corn syrup or ingredients that you can’t pronounce probably aren’t the best or healthiest choices for a sports drink. Try to avoid traditional sports drinks that are often premixed and high in sugar. While a good balance of sugar and sodium is needed, too much sugar can often cause stomach discomfort. I tend to stay away from premixed drinks and buy powders or tablets that I can mix with water. They’re portable and easily mixed into water so even if I’m on a long ride and find myself in someone’s front yard using the hose; I’ve got what I need!
Ask the experts.
Bike shop employees are great resources if you’re not sure where to turn. They often carry some of the better options for you like, Skratch Labs (one of my favorites) and have tried them personally. They tend to have different flavors to try out, too! You can’t beat a personal recommendation from someone whose job is to be on their bike!
In a bind?
I’ve found myself in a pickle where I don’t have my portable powders during events and am stuck having to choose between PowerAde and water. In those cases, I do a little 50/50 mix so I have a little flavor and a little electrolyte replacement instead of plain water.
Remember that proper hydration is always key when you’re active. Stay away from products that have high amounts of sugar, but have enough of the important electrolytes you need. Don’t be afraid to try different products and different flavors. You may be surprised!
Happy riding, y’all!