I love to experiment with all things swim-related, then review and asses because I always strive for improvement in the pool, even if the result is a small tweak. Luckily, I’m also my own-best guinea pig. Last week I was motivated to try a DIY [Do It Yourself] electrolyte drink. While I’ve used and loved Ultima (I highly recommend their “grape”) for the past several years, I wanted to see if making my own electrolyte drink would be healthier, easier, and/or cheaper.
There are lots of DIY electrolyte recipes and variations to choose from online. I selected the one below based on common-household ingredients and simplicity:
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 cups water
1/8 Tsp. salt
2 Tbls. honey
It took less than five minutes to whip up a batch, although the process was a bit messy (sticky honey, and I quickly discovered that it’s best to squeeze for juice over a bowl). It was quite zesty-energizing to smell while concocting, but this also made me wonder if the drink would hold up well (no way am I getting up any earlier than 4:45 a.m., even to prep proper hydration, so I stashed it in my Klean Kanteen in the fridge to “grab and go” in the morning.)
Right before heading to practice the next day, I popped it out of the fridge. A quick sniff and taste reassured me that my DIY electrolyte drink was still fresh and tasty. I did have to shake it up a bit though—some honey had settled on the bottom overnight.
Once in the water, it wasn’t long before I knew that his DIY electrolyte drink was a failure for me, however. It quenched my thirst well, but apparently my tummy can’t handle straight-up citrus—I was cramping before warm-up was over, a situation that lasted all 90 minutes of IM day…
Furthermore, Ultima offers a few other pros:
–More minerals my body needs during practice and after to recover faster (I polish off whatever remains in my Klean Kanteen on the way home to start re-hydrating)
–It’s easier and quicker to add a scoop of dry powder to my pre-filled water bottle right before leaving to swim. And this is in sync with my on-going “streamline” effort—fewer chores, especially at night.
–A dry powder is much more travel-meet friendly.
To sum, I’ll stick with what is already working well, Ultima. Ease and calm tummy are worth the cost. And, a timely reminder: Always test new products (food, drink, gear, etc.) in practice. Race day is not the time to deal with an adverse reaction or ill-fitting gear!