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Make This Healthy DIY Electrolyte Drink For Proper Fueling

In my opinion, sports drinks should not even be called “sports drinks” anymore. They are really just sugary drinks that have the bonus of added electrolytes.

Now I am no stranger to high intensity workouts, so I can say from personal experience that these standard-length workouts don’t require any extra mid-workout fuel other than occasional sips of water. Yet, there are always people in my classes chugging 20 grams of processed sugar and thinking that they NEED this stuff to get stronger. You can’t blame them though–they have been drawn in by the bogus advertising from these companies that makes everyone think they will perform better with theses “aids.” And who doesn’t love the taste of strawberry-kiwi? It’s almost like getting permission to have a big, red slushy without feeling guilty.

After working with several clients who are hooked on this stuff, I knew there had to be a better way. Drinking these sugar-filled drinks were actually sabotaging their hard work, not aiding it.

Yes, there can be benefits to these drinks when used correctly. For example, if you are training for an Ironman or doing an ultra-marathon, these drinks are a fast, easy and efficient way to replace expended energy. But for the average athlete doing a 60-minute spin or HIIT class or going out for a run, for example, these drinks are doing more harm than good.

I always prefer to look to food to aid in training and boost performance. For many athletes, food is their best kept secret and not until recently have elite athletes started to publicly share their nutrition tips and recipes. I wish everyone took nutrition as seriously as they do their training!

This homemade Gatorade was inspired by the book Born to Run, written by Christopher McDougall. It is a great book about how the Aztecs fueled on chia seeds mixed with water all day long as they logged hundreds of miles a week. Chia seeds are a superfood loaded with protein, calcium, iron and fiber. They are also packed with healthy fats so you can get your daily dose of Omega-3 without eating fish everyday. They are tiny and powerful—more bang for your buck.

I was excited to come across EnduroPacks—a concentrated electrolyte spray that has 13 minerals including sodium and potassium. It is perfect to help you avoid cramping and replace lost sodium when working out. It doesn’t contain any added sugars or funky additives; it’s everything you want from Gatorade without the added sugar! I recommend adding a couple of sprays to your water or include it in this recipe!

I like to keep a big pitcher of this in my refrigerator, especially during the summer. I bring it with me to spin, swim workouts or even when I am just hitting the gym. It is super hydrating and versatile.

DIY Electrolyte Drink:

Ingredients
1 cup of water or coconut water (I like mixing the two)
1 ½ tablespoons chia seeds
Splash lime or lemon juice
5 sprays of EnduroPacks Electrolyte Spray (optional)
*Optional: add in 1/4 cup of 100 percent fruit juice (try: tart cherry, grapefruit, orange, watermelon)

Directions
Combine everything in a water bottle or pitcher. Mix and drink away.
NOTE: You can let it sit overnight and it with thicken as the chia seeds absorb the water and expand.

DIY Gatorade Version:
NOTE: I especially like this for people who can’t take in fuel during a long run or who are looking for something extra on a long bike ride.

Ingredients
1 cup coconut water
3-4 dates
1 tablespoon chia seeds
5 sprays of EnduroPacks Electrolyte Spray (optional)

Directions
Blend on high speed till everything is combined and smooth. Refrigerate and drink up!

Read More On Fueling:
One Runner’s Tips For Fueling Before, During And After Long Runs
Fueling On The Run

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Lottie Bildirici lives in New York. She blogs at www.runonveg.com and is a recipe developer and holistic health coach with a passion for running and eating clean while enjoying every bite. Creating recipes to recover faster and fuel your best workout, she believes food is medicine. Since we put a lot of stress on our body with running and working out, Bildirici believes in the importance of eating properly, so we don't stress our bodies more with improper fueling.