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Sports Drinks, Smoothies, Isotonic Drinks, Electrolyte Drink Powders, Hydration Tablets and More: Drink Yourself Fit!

We would not be able to survive without carbohydrates and water, never mind be able to deliver the highest performance. Regardless of whether you are in your running gear, on your bike, swimming or hitting the fitness studio: Having the right energy provided by a sports drink is almost as important as training for your success. We all know recovery is the most important part of training. Indeed, it is crucial to keep energy, electrolyte and water stores in abundance – as well as to provide aching muscles with plenty of protein to repair themselves. Find out exactly what your body needs here! Read more

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Carbohydrate Drinks: Just the Right Amount of Energy

Regardless of whether your go-to is an energy drink, energy gel, isotonic drink, energy bar, electrolyte drink, carbohydrate sport drinks powder: the top priority of these products is to supply athletes with energy and liquid in as steady and sufficient manner as possible. Despite the fact sports drinks are predominantly used during training or competitions, it may also be beneficial to consume them a day or several hours prior to an important competition or intensive session. That means you can focus better on carb loading and be confident that you are well hydrated.

Osmolarity or Osmotic Concentration of Sports Drinks

Liquids with different compositions are absorbed by the body at different rates. In addition to your body’s own requirements, osmotic pressure plays the most decisive role in the rate of absorption. In simple terms, this physical phenomenon provides information on the number of particles (such as sugar, vitamins, minerals such as magnesium or potassium or also proteins) in a solution.

Drinks which have a similarly osmotic concentration as our blood (280-330 mosmol/l) are known as isotonic. They supply the body with plenty of energy in the fastest way. Hydration drinks with higher osmotic pressure (hypertonic) are absorbed less quickly, while drinks with lower osmolarity (hypotonic) are quickly absorbed for rehydration and are therefore an ideal choice for use during sports.

Isotonic Drinks: The Perfect Mix for High Performance

The term isotonic sports drink or isotonic drink is not protected or precisely defined in the UK. With this in mind, you will find that different compositions are available on the market. Without going more in depth into the sports-science diagnostics, it is best to try the drinks yourself and find the right mix for you.

Nevertheless, a few general statements can be made regarding the composition. Isotonic drinks often contain between 60-80 g of carbohydrates and 500-800 mg of sodium per litre. Furthermore, different sources of carbohydrate tend to be mixed together to increase consumption. Glucose and fructose in a ratio of 2:1 are particularly effective and rather popular at the moment. This enables up to 90 g instead of around 60 g to be absorbed per hour.

In addition to sodium, other variable electrolytes are often added and on a less frequent basis vitamins are mixed in. Drinks, sport drink powders or effervescent electrolyte tablets are optionally available with caffeine, taurine or guarana to give you an extra kick. Taken shortly before a competition, they are able to demonstrably enhance your performance. It is essential that these products are tested out during training to ensure your stomach can tolerate them. Moreover, this piece of advice is important for any fluids you wish to take during a competition. Especially as everyone reacts differently to different compositions. After all, alcohol-free beer is promoted as an isotonic drink, but you would find very few athletes wanting to drink it during a marathon or Ironman event.

In a nutshell, isotonic drinks have an osmotic concentration which resembles our blood. As such, in addition to electrolytes tablets and hydration drinks, lots of carbohydrates can be swiftly absorbed. They are therefore ideally suited to intensive workouts when plenty of energy is required or for fast regeneration.

Hypotonic Drinks: Swift and Effective Hydration

Hypotonic liquids have a lower osmotic concentration than our blood or isotonic drinks. These include, for example, water and mineral water or special hypotonic carbohydrate drinks powders. Thanks to their low osmolarity, special hydration drinks can be absorbed rather quickly into your bloodstream. They contain fewer carbohydrates, but are also kinder on your stomach. These kinds of hypotonic drinks are especially recommended on epic bike rides on glorious days or for those who suffer with sensitive tummies. Since they are able to top up the water and electrolyte balance extra quickly.

Protein Shakes: Regeneration, Strengthening & Improvement

If you eat a reasonably balanced diet, it is virtually impossible to have a protein deficiency. An increased protein intake may make sense in order to specifically build muscles or repair the muscular system faster following intensive training. Proteins are often associated with animal-based foods, in particular because they are used synonymously as proteins. All proteins are composed of “plant-based” amino acids and are accordingly absorbed by other animals through eating plant-based foods. There are eight amino acids, which cannot be synthesised by the human body itself.

You have the choice of various vegan protein drinks, ready-to-go protein drinks or whey and/or whey protein drinks powders. In addition to this, there are also energy drinks with carbohydrates and proteins in combination. As such, you can speed up your recovery even more following training or a competition and support your repair processes.

Carbohydrates, Electrolytes, Proteins: Before, During and after Activity

If you’ve got intensive training lined up or the next major competition is just around the corner, then it makes good sense to start drinking more water than normal in the course of the day and not just before you start. It may also be beneficial to carb load before your training or competition with carbohydrate drinks, juices or even natural smoothie gels. Carb loading will ensure that you optimally achieve your potential.

The exact amount depends on individual preferences and requirements. Nevertheless, it is not absolutely necessary to consume iso drinks or carbohydrates during strenuous exercise lasting less than an hour. Even water is not always needed, but it may be beneficial to drink it in hot temperatures to promote fast recovery.

In particularly challenging endurance competitions such as marathons, endurance races or long-distance triathlons, it is critical that you have the right supplies on board. A basic hydration guideline here is approximately one litre of liquid with sufficient carbohydrates and electrolytes per hour. This should preferably be taken in smaller amounts every 20 minutes. Depending on conditions and tolerance, which you should test sufficiently in training beforehand. As previously mentioned, you can absorb a maximum of around 90 g of carbohydrate per hour and should not expect anymore from your stomach.

One training sessions leads to the next. We all know recovery is the most important part of training. As with many clichés, there is a lot of truth in this. You will only be able to improve if your muscles, tendons, bones, joints and cardiovascular system are able to adjust following a training session. And your body will need to be supplied with all the important elements for this. This includes sufficient liquids straight after training or a competition. You can sweat-out up to three litres of sweat per hour during intensive sessions.

It is therefore also essential to replace the lost salts e.g. with electrolyte drinks. Your body naturally needs energy for all the repair processes and will benefit from isotonic or other carbohydrate drinks straight after your session. Proteins are an important element that help to develop muscles. They also help to heal the many tiny tears in your muscles, which tend to occur after intensive one-sided exertion, and alleviate muscle aches. Here too, the suitable consumption of protein shakes or drinks is dependent on how much you gain through your diet. And how well your stomach can cope with solids following training. Give it a whirl!

If your body is in need of more of the good stuff, then why not treat yourself to nourishing sport creams, powders & oils or particularly nutritious organic foods. In the Sports nutrition & body care category, you will find everything you need to be active and stay active!

Buying Sport Drinks – Our Top Recommendations

At BIKE24 you can buy a wide range of sport drinks, to make choosing a bit easier we some top recommendations for you:

  • Consume sport drinks a day or several hours prior to an important competition or intensive session.
  • Isotonic drinks supply the body with plenty of energy in the fastest way – best use before your workout.
  • Effervescent electrolyte tablets are a good addition to isotonic sport drinks.
  • Liquids with lower osmolarity are quickly absorbed for rehydration – hydration drinks are an ideal choice for use during sports.
  • Increase your protein intake in order to specifically build muscles or repair the muscular system faster following intensive training.
  • You have the choice of electrolyte tablets, sport drink powders and of course ready to go sport drinks from a wide range of manufacturers.