Do you drink a commercial sports drink after a workout? There are quite a few on the grocery store shelves in too many flavors and colors to count. They certainly serve their purpose and there is plenty of research to indicate their usefulness in replenishing your body after a tough, sweaty workout.
Research also says that sports drinks are useful for workouts that last longer than an hour. You generally don’t need anything more than plain water for shorter workouts.
I prefer to avoid the added sugar and artificial flavors and colors of commercial drinks even when I do need more than just water.
Enter…the homemade sports drink!
You’re probably thinking “It’s just easier to buy them.” “I don’t have time to mix drinks.” I have a super simple recipe below that only has 3 ingredients and you probably already have 2 of them in your kitchen.
The benefits to making your own sports drink:
- Usually, it’s cheaper. Ok, sometimes you can hit great sales at grocery or big box stores but in the long run, I have found it cheaper to make my own.
- General health reasons. I personally try to avoid chemicals, added sugar and processed foods in general. Even though sports drinks are associated with exercise and health, they are still highly processed. By making your own you can avoid unwanted ingredients and allergens.
- Reliability. By making your own drink, you can tweak it to your exact preferences/needs and know what your getting every time.
- Less wasteful. You can mix when and how much you need in your own containers and not have to worry about the added waste of plastic bottles or the concern of questionable chemicals in the plastic.
So, to create my own drink, I wanted simple, common ingredients that didn’t need a lot of prep. I did an hour or so of research and created a recipe using watermelon, plain water or coconut water and a little salt. I told you it was simple!
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that watermelon juice helped reduce recovery heart rate and muscle soreness after 24 hours. A naturally occurring chemical in watermelon accelerates lactic acid removal. This means you can recover faster and perform better.
Plain water is always a good choice and I don’t think that needs anymore explaining!
Coconut water is the clear liquid from young, green coconuts and contains easily digested carbs and electrolytes. It has less sodium and calories and more potassium than most commercial sports drinks. Various studies have shown that coconut water helps hydrate just as well as plain water or sports drinks. Make sure, when buying that you get plain coconut water. It will defeat the point of making your own drink if you purchase products with added sugar or juice.
The Super Simple Recipe…
1 c. cubed, seeded watermelon
1/2 c. plain water
1/2 c. coconut water
pinch of sea salt
Blend all ingredients and enjoy!
A couple of notes about the recipe:
* cubed watermelon can be frozen for those times of year when it’s not readily available (I have not personally had good success with this but I’ve heard other people have!)
* you can adjust the ratio of plain water and coconut water to your own taste. Some people don’t like the taste of coconut water or can’t easily find it at the store.
* I add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice sometimes to cut some of the sweetness of ripe watermelon
If you have your own homemade concoctions, please share in the comments!