Every athlete knows that hydration is essential when exercising. Not only before and after sport but also during physical activity. Athletes also understand that the best way to hydrate is to drink water. However, for various reasons, we sometimes do not drink enough water and resort to isotonic drinks when we feel that we need energy in addition to a liquid.
Do you know what an isotonic drink is? In this article we tell you everything you need to know about this drink when you can drink it, how it can benefit you and if there are any homemade options.
What is an isotonic drink?
An isotonic drink is a liquid whose main characteristic is that it contains high levels of rehydration, as it is low in sodium and helps the body absorb water. Not to be confused with energy or stimulant drinks, isotonic drinks do not contain stimulant substances.
They usually contain sugar or glucose, sodium chloride, potassium and other minerals that help to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating. Thanks to all these ingredients, an isotonic drink helps to replenish the energy lost during physical exercise.
One of the most significant drawbacks of isotonic drinks is their high refined sugar. For this reason, we recommend that you use isotonic drinks sparingly or, better still, make your own.
Indeed, the presence of sugar is one of the reasons why many athletes choose to make their isotonic drinks.
What does an isotonic drink do for the body?
They provide water and electrolytes. Electrolytes are a group of minerals we lose in large quantities when we exercise intensely for more than an hour.
The most common minerals lost are sodium and chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium to a lesser extent. The components of isotonic drinks help absorb water, which is vital for the proper functioning of the body.
In addition to these essential ingredients, isotonic drink manufacturers may include amino acids, as some are also lost during exercise; slow-absorbing carbohydrates, which replenish glycogen stores; water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and B vitamins; and flavourings and colourings that serve only organoleptic functions.
When and how is it a good idea to drink an isotonic drink?
The most important thing to remember is that isotonic drinks should only be taken in the context of sports.
Apart from this, there is no specific rule regarding drinking an isotonic drink. It depends on several variables, for example, if it is very hot, if you do sport for longer or shorter periods, how fit you are.
However, some experts recommend drinking isotonic drinks when training beyond the 70-minute mark.
The recommendation is to drink this beverage in small sips, spaced out over time. In other words, do not drink large quantities in one sitting.
Ideally, one drink (about 150 ml) should be taken every 15 to 20 minutes.
Five tips on isotonic drinks
Now that we have answered the question of what is an isotonic drink, we would like to share with you some recommendations about isotonic drinks:
- Isotonic drinks are only recommended during long-lasting sports activities.
- Do not drink these drinks as if they were water, recreationally or outside of sport.
- Note that you can choose between different presentation formats and flavours, so choose the one that best suits your needs. For example, you can find them ready to drink in bottles or cans from brands such as Aquarius or Gatorade. You can also buy isotonic drinks in powder, gels and even concentrates. Of course, you can choose from a range of flavours, but the easiest to find are citrus drinks.
- If necessary, seek professional advice to help create the proper moisturising routine.
- When you train, take the opportunity to test. This way, you can determine the best isotonic drink for you. This way, when you compete, you will already have a routine of consumption that replenishes water, salts and energy without deficiencies or gastrointestinal problems.
How to make a homemade isotonic drink
What is a homemade isotonic drink? A healthy alternative to commercial beverages. At least one with fewer sugars, colourings and preservatives. You can make it with your favourite fruit, and in the quantities you need. Just remember that, as they have no preservatives, making them drink on the same day is best.
- 1 litre of mineral water
- the juice of two pieces of citrus fruit (lemon, orange, grapefruit or lime)
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon iodised salt
How do you prepare it?
It’s as easy as mixing all the ingredients in a bottle, and that’s it. You can use the opportunity to add a supplement, for example, with silicon and other nutrients, to your isotonic drink. For example:
- Dr Loïc le Ribault’s Original Organic Silicon G7 is considered a highly valued anti-ageing product for its joint and skin action.
- Orgono Articomplex, with trace elements specially selected for sportsmen and women, as their deficiency can cause injuries.
- Living Silica Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides is a new generation of collagen peptides with highly assimilated silicon that helps nourish and regenerate tissues, especially joints, bones and skin.
As we have seen, isotonic drinks can help us in specific situations. The best thing to do is to stay hydrated with water, but for individual training sessions or moments of physical activity when the demand is at its highest, having an isotonic drink at hand can be a great help. However, if you are not convinced by the ones on the market after knowing what an isotonic drink is, try making your own. By the way, enrich it with silicon, collagen or a multivitamin. You will get a complete isotonic drink adapted to your tastes and needs.