It can be tough having to go from either school, sports practice, or competition straight to the weight room. While it is always best to leave 4-6 hours between sports and strength training to rest and refuel, it isn’t always possible. This is especially true for high school athletes who have little time after school to prepare for extra-curricular activities. Eating too close to sports or strength training can often backfire with cramping, nausea, and the worst case, vomiting everything you just ate! Preparing a “do-it-yourself (DIY)” sports drink either at the beginning of the day or immediately after school/practice before strength training can do a great deal for your performance and ensure that you have the most successful session possible. Liquid nutrition is emptied quickly from the stomach and is easily digested, making the DIY sports drink a great option for any athlete.
In general, you should build the habit of weighing yourself before and after practice/training. This will give you an idea of how much water and salt is lost in the form of sweat (if you weigh less after practice/training you can safely assume that it was only water weight). Depending on the activity, sometimes only a little bit of weight is lost. But sports practice can have some athletes losing upwards of ten pounds! This can be problematic because even a 1% loss of water in bodyweight can affect your coordination, reaction time, and other facets of sports performance.
To make matters worse, it is very easy to trick the body into believing that it has been sufficiently rehydrated. A glass of water after practice might do the job of making you “feel” hydrated again and take away your thirst even though the total amount of water lost is closer to four or five glasses. This leads to the snowball effect, where you are becoming continually dehydrated as the days turn into weeks. Furthermore, refueling on water is not enough because sweat also contains salt, and losing sodium can be just as detrimental to your performance as losing water. To make matters worse, losing salt will affect your ability to digest food.
So before you can make the perfect DIY sports drink, get an idea of how much water you tend to lose after practice. Every pound of water lost requires two to three cups of water to replace it, along with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Once you know how much water weight you typically lose, you can prepare your DIY sports drink ahead of time. Here’s what to do:
How To Make Your Own Sports Drink
1. Coconut Water + water:
As stated above, for every pound of water weight that is lost, replace it with 2-3 cups of water. If you are a larger athlete over 180lbs, I would say to make it 3 cups to stay on the safe side. If you know you are going to lose about seven pounds of water, that’s 14 to 21 cups depending on your size. If it’s 10 cups or less that you need to replace, use mostly coconut water. If it is more than 10 cups, use a mix of filtered water and coconut water.
Coconut water is great because it contains two to three different forms of carbohydrates, allowing it to replenish the energy stored in your muscles more efficiently. It also contains electrolytes which your brain uses to communicate with muscles; and it contains Vitamin C to help mitigate tissue damage and promote healing after training. The Thirsty Buddha is the brand I recommend most.
Add ¼ teaspoon of salt to the sports drink for every pound lost. You can use salts such as Pink Salts, Grey Salts, Crystal Salts, or Sea Salts. Venture over to www.naturescargo.ca to choose the best salt for you. However, do not use table salt! Table salt can negatively affect blood vessels and impact the thyroid gland, which is responsible for controlling how we use energy.
Use one scoop to help spare the breakdown of muscle tissue and promote muscle repair. EAAs are better than regular protein (whey, casein, or even vegan) when you are rushing to your post-practice or post-game workout because the body does not have to work as hard to digest them and can quickly digest them assimilate the amino acids into the protein it needs.
Add this for flavoring if you find that you don’t like the taste of the EAAs, although some of the flavored EAAs are good. You can also use other brands of drink mix, but this is a good one.
There you have it. Mix all of the above into one or more bottles (however many are required to hold the amount of water you need) or buy one big jug so that it all fits into one.
Any questions about creating your DIY sports drink? Reach out to me at the Contact page on my website at Beyperformance.com