DIY Sports Drink - By Rob Griffin

Over time Rob has developed his own low cost, high performance sports drink which he wanted to share with his fellow members, give it a try.

Thanks Rob!

Fuelling is important when riding and one of the easiest ways to get fuel into the body whilst riding is via liquids. You will often find riders that go out with minimal liquids / calories on rides and it is no surprise that over the years you will see these people progress slower than those who fuel correctly. There are plenty of companies out there making specific sports drinks however they’re costly and an equivalent can be made at home for a fraction of the cost.
For example High 5 Energy Drink is a very popular product and has a 2:1 mix of complex and simple carbohydrates, a small amount of electrolyte and some added flavouring. This sells for £29.99 and gets you 50 servings (£0.60 per serving).
This can be recreated using Maltodextrin, Fructose and Electrolytes at home. At the time of writing this you can buy enough product to make 7.5kg of drink with the same capabilities for £24.42 giving you 170 servings (£0.14 per serving). You also get the added advantage of mixing whichever cordial you feel like to pick your flavour rather than being stuck with the same for the next 50 times.
When it comes to sports drinks science is showing that with this ratio of simple and complex carbohydrate the body can be trained to absorb as much as 90g per hour before getting gastric distress. With mixing your own sports drink at home you can gradually increase this carbohydrate volume (recommend starting at approximately 44g) as the more fuel you can put in the faster you have the potential to be!
If you ride on Zwift and have power available or have a power meter fitted to your bike it is very easy to work out what your calorie burn will be.
Energy (kcal) = Power (watts) x Time (hours) x 3.6
For example; 200watts average x 1 hour x 3.6 = 720kcal
To put that into perspective a gram of carbohydrate is 4kcal so at your best 90g per hour you would still only be consuming 360kcal. For those concerned about weight loss this would still put a 200w rider at a calorie deficit of 360kcal. 
In regards to electrolytes the standard serving is 240mg which is fine for someone who sweats lightly but if you are someone who gets salt staining on your helmet straps it is likely you need more than this. It is generally considered 1500mg is the maximum anyone should consume per hour and a sweat test should be performed before increasing this if unsure. Companies such as Precision Hydration offer facilities to test your sweat rate to find out.