The importance of hydration when exercising and Sport Drinks Cycling Recipe from an European and Asian Registered Dietitian

When we talk about nutrition the fluids are included and hydration it's important to assure the best performance mentally and physically, in this case by focusing more on the second one, we are going to discuss some ideas and formulas of sport drinks to make sure that fluids and minerals are correctly recovered, before we start with suggesting the formulas to choose from, let's make a recap of some practical tips when doing physical activity

-Varieties is important to not get bored of the routine and planning ahead new drinks to try every week or when the season is changing can help to stay focused and continue your exercise regime instead of getting bored after few weeks 

- Understanding your limits and your body, means also to adjust the dosages suggested in our drinks to avoid any hypoglycaemic side effect or to prefer the low fat or low sugar options if your target is to loose weight as well

- Making sure to drink little and often instead of too much in one go, to take pauses when necessary and build resistance 

- Recommended to leave any hot drink to cool down a little before adding whey protein to not denature the protein and amino acids chain

To understand better the energy consumption before during and after the exercise here a summary greatly explained by  Registered Dietitian based in Taiwan that collaborated for this post:

Pre ride: 

  • for basic calorie to maintain our blood glucose and for the next 30 mins exercise. 
  • The light source of protein and hydration, such as egg, one serve of rice ball or around 110ml fruit juice with 110ml water. 
  • A study also shows that BCAA 5g can reduce DOMs and muscle fatigue. (2006 American Society for Nutrition.)

During ride: Carbohydrates.

  • No need to eat extra carbohydrate if work out less than 30 mins. P’t who has diabetes should consult your doctor or dietitian. 
  • 1-2 hours: 30 grams/hr
  • 2-3 hours: 60 grams/hr
  • 3 or more hours: 90 grams/hr
  • Caffeine effect through the central nervous system to increase your exercise performance. Need 200 mg/time 

=>Cafe 6 g, water 250 ml, 0.6~0.7 g salt, sugar 7g sugar, whey protein 

Post-ride cycling recovery: 

  • to prevent you muscle sore, there is usually commercial formula, such as recovery bars, Whey protein(reduce fat intake), or Branched Train Amino Acid(may increase muscle) to support recovery. 
  • The ratio of carbohydrate and protein is around 2-4: 1
  • Almond consumption 75g/day are full of Vit E and Mg to reduce cramps. 

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Now here some Formulas made to satisfy the fluid and mineral requirements and at the same Time to have more choices depending on your taste:

Formula 1: Slow release, flexible for different seasons that can be used before or during exercise 


- Matcha powder plus water 

Slow release caffeine to help endurance and flexibility to have this drink hot or cold depending on the season and your own taste

- Coconut honey or agave syrup instead of plain sugar

To be used especially when having this drink before the training to slowly release energy a for longer time

Although honey or sugar could be mixed too, to achieve a drink that can be used during the training so not only prior the exercise

- Whey protein to add  (that will not change the taste too much)

Ingredients and Quantities:

  • Water: 250 ml try to use a filtered water or one low in minerals, it will help to improve the overall taste and appreciate more the matcha 

  • 2 Teaspoons of Matcha powder

  • 2 Teaspoons of Coconut honey or Agave syrup

  • 1 scoop of whey protein

A Pinch of salt

Formula 2: Modified Mocha


  • Coffee : to assure enough caffeine intake 

  • Dark chocolate (syrup or cocoa powder) this has been modified from the classic recipe to reduce the fat intake 

  • Plant based milk ( Almond or Oat milk) another ingredient to modify the original recipe to reduce the amount of fat and have the freedom to choose between the unsweetened version or the regular one 

  • Protein powder can be added without changing the final taste 

  • Salt and Sugar can be optional depending if you already used the sweetened version of milk and cocoa

  • Is possible to have a cold drink version by using Brewed coffee and chocolate syrup

Ingredients and Quantities:

  • Milk: 250 ml Plant based can be used like almond or oat version

  • 1 espresso pod or 18-20 gr of ground espresso (better to leave the drink to cool down a little before adding whey protein to not denature the protein and amino acids chain)

  • 1 or 2 tablespoon of chocolate (syrup or from cocoa powder)

  • 1 scoop of whey protein 

  • A pinch of salt

    Formula 2b: Modified cold Mocha

    Ingredients and Quantities:

    • Cold Milk: 250 ml Plant based can be used like almond or the oat version and again you can choose between the unsweetened or the regular one

    • 1 cup of brewed coffee with ice 

    • 1 or 2 tablespoon of chocolate syrup

    • A pinch of salt 

    Very similar procedure like the classic Mocha but definitely more refreshing and ideal during summer

    Formula 3: Easiest option, Modified Ovaltine drink


    • Ovaltine now is offering a low fat version that still guarantees all the vitamins and minerals based on the daily recommended dosages, the taste in unique and there is a chocolate flavour too 

    • The new version can be used with water instead of milk with an option to use plant based milk too

    • It is the quickest alternative especially as a post work-out option

    Ingredients and Quantities:

    • Ovaltine: 3 or 4 teaspoons (for a stronger  taste) per 250 ml of water

    • Agave syrup or coconut honey: 2 teaspoons per 250 ml (there is already sugar and sodium in the ovaltine so better to add some slow release/low GI ingredients)

    • Whey protein: 1 scoop

      Formula 4: A taste of Britain in your sport drink


      • Bovril, British ingredient that has a unique taste of Beef and is made out of meat and yeast extracts, another benefit is that includes minerals and group B vitamins 

      • Usually it is a hot drink so could be better to be used after workout

      • The unique taste give a chance to mix this with particular ingredients like black pepper if you like that

      • Is it important so still guarantee the right amount of carbs and protein by adding sugar and protein powder in this drink

        Ingredients and Quantities:

        • Bovril Just one tablespoon per each cup of 250 ml will be enough, so if we are talking about a longer session, 2 teaspoons will be fine to get a half a Liter 

        • Whey protein: 1 or 2 scoops 

        • Sugar or Brown sugar syrup: 2 teaspoons per 250 ml 

          Salt and Black pepper (optional):  a pinch and to adjust based on your taste

  • Formula 5: Low intensity exercise when you want to keep it simple


    • Green tea, different benefits that you might have heard already especially high in antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties 

    • A slice of lemon: to increase even more the amount of minerals and Vit C

    • Honey: a good match in this drink instead of white sugar

    • (Optional) ginger and mint to improve the taste depending on the person

      Ingredients and Quantities:

      • Green tea: one or two tea bag

      • 2 cups of water to obtain a 500 ml solution

      • A slice of lemon 

      • Honey: 2 or 3 spoons 

Optional (a small piece of ginger  and  mint)

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Post workout drinks to enjoy after you have already had the sport drinks:

Once you made sure to have replaced your minerals with the previous sport drinks suggested, is now important that we keep an eye to the hydration.

Could be a good idea to have some more alternatives than just water to make more pleasant and easy to increase your fluid intake and maintain a good hydration

  • Dandelion and Burdock: carbonated soft drink originally from the British isles with a unique herbal flavour, the drink is made from fermented dandelion and burdock which are believed to have beneficial effects on the liver

  • Ginger Beer: originally used to be an alcoholic drink but now is very easy to find the soft drink version 

  • Mulled Apple juice: a goof non alcoholic alternative to mulled wine during winter and especially Christmas time

  • Rhubarb Cordial: Very refreshing and easy to make during summer


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