Homemade sports drinks

Anyone tried making their own sports drink at home?
Any tips on what’s good and what to avoid?
Any liquid combos or powder mixes you have created?

I’m about to experiment with a mix of fruit juices:

  • OJ
  • Pineapple
  • Coconut water
  • honey or maple syrup
  • salt
  • filtered water

Hey Dan. I did some research on this a little while ago. I’m super cheap and I don’t love eating solids on the bike so I was going for maximum fuel at minimum cost.

I found a decent mix was 5 parts maltodexterin to 2 parts white sugar and a bit of salt. I put 70g in a bottle and try to drink a bottle an hour. It’s not too sweet and you can add in different flavours. It’s hydrating and serves 60g of glucose + 10g fructose per hour.

Only problem is the 25kg bag of maltodexterin sitting in the pantry :sweat_smile:


I tried maltodextrin a few times, it’s nice because it’s very bland but the stuff I bought clumps a bit unless I use a stick blender or hot water to dissolve it. It’s pretty hard to beat the cost of plain sugar and a pinch of salt.

One thing I’ve thought of trying is using fruit syrups, I’ve seen some different kinds in the eastern European section of Food Basic’s international aisle. I know I’ve bought them in the past at Glowgoski Eurofoods on highland too, probably any grocery store with Eastern European stuff should have some brands. They’re kind of like Ribena, but they come in a litre bottle and are only 4-5$, IIRC. They’re easy to dilute to whatever strength you want and they don’t have any fruit pulp or fibre in them. Next time I’m at the grocery store I’ll buy some… flavours like black currant and sour cherry are what I remember and they taste pretty good.

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Very interesting! Following

Tea (2 cups maybe) with honey (50 g)

I think Gaelen mentioned adding maple syrup and salt to water.

Watered down cranberry juice.

I haven’t but there are quite a few that use Maple syrup. I drove with Gaelen to NC a few years ago he had as much maple syrup as clothes. For fluids I generally use products like Charlie suggested, they certainly don’t provide as much energy but they work for me. If I’m in a hard training block like the mountains then I will use some horrible sports drink mix, just because the days take a toll.

I know you asked about drink but on the food side I try to avoid all stomach rotting energy gels. Racing aside I will avoid them at all costs. My go to was always banana bread, bananas, and motts fruit, similar calories with few side effects, you just need to start eating a little earlier

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I use maple syrup and sea salt. For a high intensity or long ride 1/8th cup per bottle with 1-2 pinches of sea salt depending on duration and temperature. For easy endurance a little bit less.

It’s the best, no stomach upset, inexpensive, easily available and works for rides of all durations. (I’ve done plenty of intense 160-200km rides using that and bananas only)


Here is another:

Ultimate energy booster and electrolyte replacer

Do you know that nagging, dragging feeling you get when you are about halfway through your 5-run, or partway through that spin class? The feeling like you can’t push your body one bit more?

Well, we have great news for you: this ultimate energy booster tonic will not only help motivate you to get moving, it will also help you go harder for longer no matter what physical activity you are doing.

This is because strenuous exercise leads to a buildup of lactic acid – which can cause muscle pain and fatigue. Baking soda has been found to boost performance in athletes due to its ability to neutralize lactic acid buildup.


– ½ teaspoon unprocessed sea salt
– ¼ teaspoon baking soda
– 7 cups coconut water
– ½ cup lemon juice
– ¼ cup raw honey


  1. Heat the coconut water on low and mix in baking soda until it is dissolved.
  2. Add other ingredients and pour mixture into glass jar.
  3. Shake well before use.
  4. This will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Coconut water: Although coconut water has a deceptively light consistency, it has higher levels of minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium and zinc than many fruits, including the famously healthy orange. Additionally, coconut water has high amounts of B-vitamins, such as niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and pyridoxine.

One of the best benefits of coconut water is that it is extremely high in potassium . As your body sweats during exercise or vigorous physical activity, your level of potassium drops. Coconut water has approximately 250 milligrams of potassium and 105 milligrams of sodium in every 100 milliliter serving.

Raw honey: One of the substantial benefits of choosing raw organic honey from your area is that it contains immune stimulating properties from the area where the bees collected pollen. This means that it can actually help to desensitize you to local allergens, potentially lessening your allergy symptoms.

I bought bulk Maltodextrin from Toronto Brewing (incredibly cheap - on other Sean’s advice) and bulk Fructose from Full Circle Foods in DT Kitchener (they special ordered it - I think it was $30 for the bag). I do 60 grams Malto & 30 grams Fructose per bottle / hour. 1/3 of a bottle of boiling water prevents clumping.
Hard rides it’s spot on for me, and on Z2 stuff I’ll just drink 2/3 bottle or 60 grams / hour. I also add 1/8 teaspoon of salt or more per bottle, but I sweat a lot.
At first I flavoured the mix but now I just drink it plain.


I had good results just doing plain sugar over the winter. I didn’t have any problems from doing up to 100g an hour for hard rides… I do plan on trying higher amounts in the future. I also had good experiences using 300g dissolved into a bottle for longer rides, I’d just chase each squirt with some plain water. Best thing I did before using was to brush my teeth before the ride, kept that “fuzzy tooth” feeling at bay. I’m a big fan of having a few cans of pepsi on outdoor rides so I dunno why it took me so long to try sugar indoors.

I bought a bag of sodium citrate and use that instead of salt, it’s supposed to be easier on the gut than table salt. I didn’t really have any issues with using table salt though. It’s also handy in the kitchen for making cheese sauces, like mac & cheese, or homemade nacho cheese sauce.


I third, or fourth, the idea of using maple syrup and sea salt. It’s my go to most of the year.

I have experimented with something to add carbs to my bottles during the winter as it’s tricky to eat wearing mitts. I ended up using either mango or peach concentrate to fill 1/3 of a bottle, then maybe 1/3 oat milk, water and a pinch of sea salt. It worked okay, but I only did that a bit as an experiment one winter.

As Rob said, avoid all the gels and energy bars and go for more normal food. I like bananas, fig newtons and banana loaf; really any kind of loaf is great.


I like putting the extra nutrition in bottles too especially for really cold races. It’s hard trying to reach in your pocket and eat anything when you have gloves on and your hands are frozen doing 40-50kmh in a pack. Much easier to grab a bottle and get nutrition that way. Our races tend to be so short (under 120km) that two bottles with nutrition and some emergency back up food is often plenty.


Tea, regular or whatever flavour you like gives some caffeine then add honey. I weigh to match grams of carbs in a gel.
Cool to drinkable temp.


A little while back I put together this article for Bicycling about homemade energy drinks and energy shots: Homemade Electrolyte Drink & Gels for Cyclists | DIY Sports Drink
And here is another one I wrote on DIY drinks: Yes, You Can Make Your Own Sports Drink – Triathlete

P.S. The lactic acid theory of fatigue has largely been disproven by modern science. But the myth that lactic acid buildup is a primary contributor to muscle fatigue persists and just won’t go away.


As a before-ride drink I mix together:
-3 tbsp of beet crystal powder (this kind: Flora Red Beet Crystals 200g - Fiddleheads Health and Nutrition)
-3/4 cup apple juice or apple cider
-1/2 tsp salt

It could be psychosomatic but I often seem to have better and faster rides (with less ‘fade’ on long rides) after a pre-ride drink of beet juice. The science on this is here: Influence of Nitrate Supplementation on Endurance Cyclic Sports Performance: A Systematic Review - PubMed

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I haven’t personally tried this option, but “Posca” was the ‘sports drink’ consumed by the Romans back in ye olden times:

Apparently the use of vinegar in your drink has some serious benefits to it (akin to the mythical use of pickle juice to prevent cramping?).
Alternatively, I know some long distance riders who swear by kombucha (homemade or otherwise) for similar reasons.
I think both of these options are VERY dependent upon your taste for such things.

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Naturopathy treatment doctors will suggest you some extra ordinary food items for healthy life. These drinks sometimes without calculated amount can some times cause risk too.
Mixing of incredients are also important in a sports drink. So in my opinion try some of them after research.