Sports Drink Made at Home



Sports drinks are drinks that include some form of sugar/carbohydrate and electrolytes. Popular commercial brands include Gatorade or Poweraid. These mixes provide the carbohydrates as a fuel source for muscles as well as the electrolytes to replenish losses from sweat and help to reduce risk of muscle cramps.

Electrolytes are just that, electrolytes and water. Electrolytes are substances that ionize when dissolved. The ones that we think of for athletic performance include potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium. They allow muscles to contract and relax and help the nervous system send signals for muscle activity.

With both sports drinks and electrolyte mixes, we are seeing ‘designer’ formulars flood the marker. Caffeine, vitamins, anti-oxidants, ‘energy boosters’, herbs are all examples of ingredients being added to provide increased sports benefit. Quantity, let alone the quality of these ingredients needs to be further examined on an individual basis.

General Recommendations

  • Find the recipe that suits your taste buds
  • Don’t be shy to mix and match some ingredients
  • Some fruit and vegetable flavours mix better with some and not others
  • Mix fluid with electrolytes and add sugar as needed


Water is always the main liquid. Adding fruit juices provides sugars, some vitamins and flavour! Feel free to mix and match.

  • Orange juice
  • Cranberry – beware of how much added sweetener is already mixed in
  • Lemonade – like with cranberry juices, beware of too many added sugars
  • Coconut water – high in potassium (like bananas). Too much causes diarrhea
  • Apple juice – high acidity can be harder on sensitive stomachs
  • Beet juice – or any left-over ‘veggie water’ from boiling veggies
  • Pickle juice – yup! Right from the jar
  • Green tea – chilled of course



Typical sources are fresh lemon or lime juice, sea salt, coconut water, pickle juice. As a general rule you want ¼ teaspoon of salt per 1L of fluid.



Juice added to fluid portion will supply some of the sugars. Dates and figs can be blended. Maple syrup, agave syrup, honey are easy to mix options. Avoid using white sugar or even brown sugar as they will cause unwanted spikes in blood sugars.


Here is a compilation of recipes you can try out.  I’ve tried to generally categorize the ingredients to help you understand their relevance and enable you to create a ‘custom formula’. Despite the category label, most of the ingredients provide more than what the label implies.


Brendan Frazier’s Sports Drink

The electrolytes

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon – about 1 tbp
  • Juice of 1/4 lime – about 1 tsp
  • sea salt to taste

The sugars

  • 3 dates (great for potassium, phosphorus, magnesium)
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar

Add mix

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups water

Instructions: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Recipe makes 500mL (16 oz), therefore you may want to double the recipe to fill your 1L water bottle.


Nancy Clark’s Homemade Sports Drink

The electrolytes

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (per 1L of liquid)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

The sugars

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (not concentrate) – also provides nutrients

The mix

  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3 1/2 cups cold water

Instructions: In the bottom of a pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water. Add the juice and the remaining water; chill.