How to prepare your homemade isotonic sports drink?

In a previous post, you have discovered some benefits of sports drinks. You will now learn how to prepare your homemade isotonic drink

Let's dwell a little more on the interest of using it in the practice of physical activity. 

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The importance of fluid intake and energy

Physical performance during exercise depends a lot on good hydration and the constant renewal of substances that provide energy to our muscles. These are exactly the properties of energy drinks. 

A well hydrated body is also more enduring since it correctly eliminates the accumulation of lactic acids and nitrogen waste due to intense effort and regulates body temperature. 

Depending on the degree of dehydration, symptoms can range from rapid heartbeat and elevated body temperature to muscle cramps and loss of consciousness. Since physical activity aims to take care of your body, it would be a shame to neglect your needs during exercise and experience all these unpleasant symptoms. 

What is an isotonic drink?

The sports drink industry has developed recipes that are a great alternative to plain water for heavy physical activity. The majority of these drinks are flavored and contain:

  • Some water,
  • carbohydrates,
  • Minerals,
  • From electrolytes,
  • Vitamins and nutrients (optional).

Water and carbohydrates

These are the main ingredients in sports drinks.

The body's preferred fuel source is carbohydrates because of their efficient role in transferring energy to tired muscles. The added carbohydrates in energy drinks usually come from a mixture of polymer glucose, glucose and fructose. It's a great combination to improve digestion without tasting too sweet.

Research has shown that a drink with 4-8 % carbohydrates (4-8g/100ml) is more easily passed through the stomach and absorbed through the small intestine.

Carbonated drinks and industrial fruit juices are therefore not recommended in the composition of a homemade energy drink because of their high carbohydrate and fructose levels. You will understand the purpose of this remark a little later in the article.

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electrolytes

Electrolytes are mineral salts in circulation, in ionized form: sodium Na+, potassium K+, calcium Ca++, magnesium Mg++. Each has a specific physiological role that helps regulate nerve and muscle function, maintain acid-base balance, and help improve water and carbohydrate absorption in the gut.

Sports drinks typically contain 20-60mg of sodium per 100ml and may contain small amounts of other electrolytes. The amount of sodium could be increased for better efficiency but the consumer's palate would suffer.

Other ingredients

Some brands add protein, vitamins and flavorings. Their only proven effect is on the price since no scientific evidence demonstrates their impact on physical performance.

Why not a ready-made isotonic drink?

ready-made energy drink
Take the time to check the composition

This is of course a good idea if you don't feel like making your own. However, you have to be careful what you buy because not all products on the market are of the same level of quality. In addition, their composition will not always correspond to your real needs.

So take the time to take a look at the ingredient list of the bottles or cans you want to buy. Their content must meet the different criteria and nutrient levels that you have just discovered in the previous paragraph.

Simply find sports stores near you where you can carefully watch the composition of the drinks available for your physical activity or your competitions. The price should in no case be your main criterion of choice.

Control your consumption!

These drinks were developed to aid athletes, not to be consumed like water.

We must not hide the fact that excessive consumption of these, even for an athlete, can cause unpleasant side effects. It would be a shame to practice physical exercise to take care of yourself while gaining weight because of the carbohydrates ingested and not evacuated. 

These drinks fall into the category of acidic liquids. Category of which you must be wary for their aggressiveness on the enamel of the teeth.

When and how to drink?

The primary purpose of sports drinks is to provide optimal fluid and fuel intake during physical activity for an hour or more. Most brands recommend the quantity of 500 ml, the equivalent of a gourd.

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But the need to drink more or less isotonic drink will also depend on the intensity of the exercise, high or moderate, and mineral losses due to perspiration. It must be recognized that when it comes to sweating during exercise, we are not all equal. 

So, depending on your program and your sweating habits, it is possible to use an energy drink: 

  • Before the test, to ensure the availability of carbohydrates for the muscles and sodium to reduce the urge to urinate;
  • During exercise, to delay the effect of fatigue and give the body what it needs to function well; 
  • After the workout, for a good recovery if the undesirable effects of a prolonged and intense effort are felt. 

With practice, you will know when it is most beneficial for you to drink it and how much. 

What to remember about sports drinks?

Plain water remains the main and most important source of hydration for the body. Energy drinks are a great help but cannot be used as a substitute for plain water. 

Used appropriately, they provide the necessary supply of fluids, carbohydrates and electrolytes during the practice of physical activity. 

Overusing it can ultimately harm your health.

Kitchen side to prepare your solution

make your own isotonic drink

Although there is a wide variety of energy drinks on the market, some want to prepare their own drink to have full control over 2 things: 

  • Ingredients ;
  • The budget.

Thanks to this homemade drink, you say goodbye to artificial colors, sweeteners and other unwanted products often added in industrial drinks.

On the other hand, depending on the recipe you choose, you will not have all the electrolytes sometimes found in commercial ones. However, nothing prevents you from adding them or eating fruits, such as bananas for potassium, and dried fruits for their calcium and magnesium intake.

On the other hand, you will not have a problem for carbohydrates and sodium which are already in all the recipes.

How to prepare your homemade isotonic drink?

  • Water
  • Sugar (30-35g)
  • Salt (pinch)

The quantities of sugar indicated must be carefully observed for optimal efficiency.

Less than 30 g would not be enough to compensate for the drop in blood sugar. With more than 70 g, the absorption of liquids, transporting what the blood and the muscles need would be too slow. 

You have there the proportions of a so-called isotonic drink, that is to say which contains concentrations of salt and sugar equivalent to those of your body. 

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5 different sports drink recipes

To help you, here are different preparations that are easy to make at home.

Fresh fruit juice

Fruit juice as the basis of his homemade isotonic drink

You can replace the sugar with your favorite fresh fruit juice. Fresh because the fruit(s) are real, not because your juice carton comes out of the fridge.

  • 20 to 30 cl of fruit juice
  • A pinch of salt
  • 30 to 20 cl of water

This option is more efficient. Not because it delights your palate more, but thanks to the fact that it contains 2 sugars (carbohydrates): glucose and fructose. They are used more efficiently by the muscles than a single source of carbohydrate intake.

 Honey

If you prefer to sweeten your homemade isotonic drink with honey, which is a very good idea, the quantity is 3 tablespoons (always for ½ liter of drink).

coconut water

To the preparation you choose, you can add half a cup of coconut water (in this case reduce the amount of water or fruit juice to respect the quantities of a ½ liter drink).

Coconut water will provide a dose of potassium that your body will appreciate. 

Lemon and Ginger

For a slightly more spicy drink, plan the time to prepare this mixture

Put a few thin slices of ginger in a cup of boiling water and let stand for 5 to 15 minutes depending on the desired taste. Remove the ginger, add the juice of a squeezed lemon and the sugar or honey. Add this mixture to your salt water, once cooled.

Coffee or tea

For those who want to rediscover the taste of their coffee or their favorite morning tea, you can totally make yourself a cup of one of these natural boosters and add it to the base recipe.

Homemade Isotonic Drink – Conclusion

The options are endless, as are everyone's tastes. 

With water remaining the main ingredient, once the correct carb/sodium ratios are met you can add any flavor that suits your palate, and won't upset your stomach or intestines.

The goal is to help you get the maximum benefit possible from your sporting activity, right?

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