Homemade Sports Drinks + Energy Gels (With Ingredients You Actually Recognize)

Training for race, be it a 10K or a marathon is an accomplishment in and of itself, but distance running and high endurance workouts are in a whole other category when it comes to challenging your body and mind—and often require a little extra boost in the nutrition department.

While they may be convenient, if you take a look at the ingredients of a typical "energy gel" or sports drink, it all looks pretty shady. From artificial colors and flavors, to scientific-sounding syrups and refined sugars. It's not typically something we'd consume, so why start now?

Instead, we've got three easy recipes for DIY versions of these marathon runner staples. Give them a try during or after your next training session.

Plant-Based Energy Gel

This energy gel can be used during high endurance running or workouts. Try having one energy gel after 12 miles and then another after 17 miles.

Makes 4

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Ingredients

  • 4 Medjool dates (soaked in warm water for an hour)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons almond or peanut butter
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 4 tablespoons water (from the water the dates were soaking in)
  • 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses

Preparation

1. Cover the dates in warm water in a bowl and soak for an hour. Set the water aside for later.
2. Use 4 tablespoons of the soaking water from the dates to blend with all the ingredients. Puree in a Nutribullet or blender until smooth.
3. Spoon into 4 sandwich bags and keep in the fridge or freezer.

Electrolyte Replacement Pomegranate-Orange Water

Electrolytes like potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium can get lost when you sweat—replenish with these fun drinks.

Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 quart filtered water
  • juice of 2 large oranges
  • ¾ cup pomegranate juice
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt

Preparation

Combine ingredients and stir well. Store in the fridge.

Electrolyte Replacement Cherry-Lime Water

Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 quart filtered water
  • juice of 3 limes
  • ¾ cup 100 percent tart cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt

Preparation

Combine ingredients and stir well. Store in the fridge.


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