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How To Pick The Right Gel Or Sports Drink For You

  • By Lauren Antonucci
  • Published Oct 29, 2012
  • Updated Dec 17, 2012 at 4:30 PM UTC
Photo: Nils Nilsen

During workouts and races

What you need: Adequate fluids, carbohydrates and the key electrolyte sodium will fuel your muscles and help stave off muscle cramps and undue fatigue. Aim for at least 30–60g of carbohydrates per hour for longer events.

What to look for: I tell my half- and full Ironman athletes that first they must find a sports drink they like the taste of and tolerate well. Choose one with 50–70 calories and 110–200mg of sodium per 8 ounces. Next, add bars, gels, blocks and chews to fully meet your carbohydrate and calorie needs.

My favorites: Infinit Nutrition’s online customizable formula helps athletes meet their individual needs. Move the virtual sliders to adjust calories, flavor, sodium, protein and even caffeine content of your drink. It’s great for salty sweaters, those who like a light flavor and athletes who want amino acids for longer races. Honey Stinger Waffles contain 21g of carbs in a thin, sweet treat inspired by European stroopwafels. My athletes love them on the bike and report them as going down easily. For those with higher calorie needs (70.3 and full Ironman), a Bonk Breaker Bar provides 34g of carbs, 7g of protein and 140mg of sodium per gluten- and dairy-free bar.

RELATED: How To Fuel For Your First Race

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FILED UNDER: Nutrition / Performance Nutrition / Weight Loss

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