I don’t know where you practice – but I know where I practice and it’s inside a hot as f*ck warehouse here in San Diego, California. Where it happens to be the end of our “heat wave month” that seems to happen every year. Walking into our practice space you are literally hit in the face with the heat and humidity. I know a lot of us practice under similar circumstances or even worse – outside under the blaring sun at temperatures never meant for a full set of derby gear and pads.
With practice environments like these combined with an intense sport like derby, hydration is very important for not only performance, but safety. For me at a certain point water alone just wasn’t cutting it – I would drink up to literally a gallon of water in a two-hour practice and still feel thirsty. That’s when I realized that I needed to replace the electrolytes I was losing so that I wouldn’t feel thirsty and my performance wouldn’t suffer. So I started drinking Gatorade – about two of the 32 oz bottles each practice. And it worked – I felt hydrated and I was performing much better. But I hate the taste of just about all sports drinks and at $1.00 a pop, it gets expensive fast. So I went looking for a natural and cheap alternative.
Homemade DIY Sports Drink Recipe
I spent many hours researching this – and it all came down to the simplest of solutions in in the end! It’s 100% – natural, easy and best of all cheap! I like to call it Awesome Aid! 8 cups of Awesome Aid should be enough for a 1.5 to 2 hour practice. You may need a bit more during an endurance practice or on a particularly hot day.
||Filtered water or coconut water (amount depends on taste)
| 1 – 3 tsp.
||Liquid sugar source such as raw honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, etc. (depending on taste)
||Salt (don’t skip this – sodium is an electrolyte your body is losing that needs to be replaced)
Homemade DIY Sports Drink Instructions
- Cut or peel all of the skin off the orange. Section and put into a blender.
- Add sugar, salt and only about 3 cups of the water so that your blender won’t splash over.
- Blend up that that orange on high until it is completely pulverized and your sure everything is completely mixed.
- Optional Step – Use a sieve to strain out all the pulp if it grosses you out like it does for me. Or you can leave it and get a fiber boost!
- Pour your Awesome Aid into the rest of the water in a water bottle and shake. Done!
Awesome Aid Q&A & Tips
- Q: Can I substitute fruits? A: Yes, you can use any fruit that contains the needed electrolytes – sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphate are all electrolytes that should be replenished, among others. Fruits you can use include: Cucumbers, oranges, lemons, and limes. I looked into other fruits and vegetables but they don’t have high enough percentages of certain electrolytes as compared to those listed above.
- Q: Can I just use juice? A: Yes, but if you can avoid any juices that are “from concentrate”. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup juice for this recipe. I don’t use it because I think it taste funny made this way, and it usually ends up more calorie dense.
- Q: Can I make it ahead of time? A: Yes, if you are using juice you can mix everything up to a week ahead of time. If you’re using fresh fruit it’s recommended that you drink it within 24 hours, but it will store for up to 2 days. There may be some discoloration – but that doesn’t mean it’s lost nutrients. According to my research nutrient loss doesn’t happen until 3-6 days.
- You can use ginger water if you have any issues with nausea or other stomach problems during your work outs. Substitute 1 cup of water with ginger water – add 3-4 slices of fresh ginger (not dried) to a pan with 1 cup of filtered water. Boil for 5 minutes and then let sit for 5 minutes to steep – voila, ginger water!
- I personally store this in a large 74-oz., cooler-style, plastic water bottle. It works perfectly and you can pick them up for about $3-$5.00 at large markets such as Wal-Mart.
- Does the thought of orange flavored water not do it for you? Try searching “DIY or Homemade Sports Drink” in your search engine and look for other flavor alternatives. However I haven’t tried alternatives so I can’t vouch for them.
That’s it. I found that with this Awesome Aid concoction I need to drink about 30-50% less fluid than plain water alone. I am not thirsty or distracted by needing long water breaks, and I have even found that not only does my performance not decrease, but it has probably increased by 10%. I believe this is because I am now adequately hydrated and replacing what my body needed instead of just drowning my blood in water. I hope you’ll find the same, or better, results. Happy hydration!