Try a simple homemade sports drink to cut sugar

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It's important to stay hydrated with any activity. But do you need to buy a fancy sports drink? Our Sports Medicine expert—who’s a distance runner—has an alternative idea: make your own.

Timothy Miller, MD, director of the Endurance Medicine Program at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said sports drinks have more sugar than you need and can irritate your stomach if you down one after a long run, bike ride, swim or fitness competition.

At the very least, he recommends watering down sports drinks to half-strength.

Better yet, whip up a batch yourself.

Dr. Miller, an Ohio State team physician for track and field, shares the quick-and-easy recipe for a homemade sports drink:

Equal parts water and your favorite fruit juice, with a teaspoon or so of salt.

It’s that simple.

Here's how Dr. Miller says he handles his hydration for races or fitness competitions:

  • For an event that lasts about a half-hour, he drinks water or a diluted commercial sports drink such as Gatorade
  • When the event runs an hour or more, he typically brings his homemade sports drink.
  • For important events, he adds a twist: a little caffeine.

"One to two shots of espresso mixed with my homemade sports drink may not taste great, but it hydrates, replenishes and maximizes performance potential.”

Dr. Miller is a fan of another drink that has gotten attention for workout recovery.

Good ol’ chocolate milk.

That’s right, the drink from your childhood has a good ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat that your body needs after a major workout.

Ohio State’s Sports Nutrition experts have more recommendations for you about how and when to fuel your body, including guidance on portions and hydration.


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