CARBOHYDRATE AND ELECTROLYTE REPLACEMENT DRINKS
When doing workouts under 60 minutes, it’s not necessary to drink a carbohydrate replacement drink, but it is still important to get in electrolytes, especially if conditions are hot or humid. For workouts lasting 60 minutes and longer, incorporate anywhere between 30–90 grams of carbohydrates per hour of exercise.
Herbalife 24 Hydrate
The 15-calorie packet has a total of 460mg of electrolytes, including 230mg of sodium. Ideal for short rides—postor pre-ride—any time you want electrolytes without a lot of calories. Comes in a box of 20 packets.
PRICE: $29.95 (20 packets)
Carb Source: Dextrose Calories: 15; Carbs: 4g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 230g; Potassium: 95g
Skratch Labs Everyday Hydration
Formulated by Dr. Allen Lim, nutritional guru for many top-American cyclists over the past decade. For any time you want a boost of electrolytes; Allen even claims it works wonders on a hangover. Choose between one 1- or 2- pound packs and packet sizes. Available in one all-natural flavor: Lemons and Limes.
PRICE: $19.50 (1 lb)
Carb Source: Sucrose Calories: 20; Carbs: 5g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 200mg; Potassium: 100mg
NUUN is an electrolyte tablet that dissolves in your water bottle to give you 172 grams of sodium and 50 grams of potassium per two-tablet, four-calorie serving. The tablets have a light flavor, which is easily palatable when riding.
PRICE: $24 (4 packs of 12 tabs)
Carb Source: Sorbitol Calories: 4; Carbs: 1g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 173mg; Potassium: 51mg
The Elixir uses a tablet form to provide a generous 340mg of sodium per 10-calorie serving. It also includes B vitamins and a caffeine option for the crit racers looking for an extra buzz. Available in three flavors, including caffeinated orange.
PRICE: $10 (12 tablets)
Carb Source: Sorbitol Calories: 10; Carbs: 1g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 340mg; Potassium: 125mg
CytoSport was one of the first pioneers of the exercise-drink industry, and with the latest Advanced Carbohydrate System, the product is one of the best ways to get the fastest absorption rate available. Comes in five flavors.
PRICE: $48.95 (4.5 lbs)
Carb Source: Maltodextrin, fructose, dextrose Calories: 90 (25g); Carbs: 22g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 120mg; Potassium: 60mg
Herbalife 24 Prolong
Developed by an elite cyclist and biochemist from UCLA. At 250 calories per serving, it has more calories than most, and with the addition of protein, it is a good option for those looking to drink all their calories during the ride.
PRICE: $44.95 (2.3 lbs)
Carb Source: Maltodextrin, fructose Calories: 250 (70g); Carbs: 58g; Protein: 5g; Sodium: 500mg; Potassium: 250mg
No artificial colors or sweeteners in this one, and it’s both gluten- and dairyfree. Fluid uses both simple and complex carbohydrates in addition to sodium citrate, which can have a lactic-acidbuffering effect. Available in three flavors.
PRICE: $22.95 (30 servings)
Carb Source: Maltodextrin, fructose Calories: 100 (27g); Carbs: 24g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 200mg; Potassium: 65mg
First Endurance EFS
Three sources of quickly absorbed carbohydrates keep your muscles fueled so they don’t have to use up their stored glycogen. Contains more electrolytes than most brands, as well as amino acids.
PRICE: $24.95 (24 servings)
Carb Source: Maltodextrin, sucrose, glucose Calories: 96 (32g); Carbs: 24g; Protein: 2000mg amino-acid-blend; Sodium: 300g; Potassium: 160mg
Skratch Labs Secret Drink Mix
Developed by Dr. Allen Lim while working with Garmin and other top pros. It has the least amount of ingredients to achieve the best absorption rate possible in order to keep you hydrated. Comes in 1-pound, 2-pound and packet sizes. Available in three all natural flavors.
PRICE: $19.50 (1 lb)
Carb Source: Sucrose, glucose Calories: 80 (23g); Carbs: 20g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 310mg; Potassium: 40
Clif Shot Electrolyte
Clif’s drink mix uses an organic blend of carbohydrates with a sizable amount of electrolytes per 80-calorie serving. Two flavor choices: Lemonade and Cran Razz.
PRICE: $22 (2 lbs)
Carb Source: Organic brown rice syrup, organic evaporated cane juice Calories: 80 (20g); Carbs: 19g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 200g; Potassium: 50g
PowerBar Ironman Perform
Part of PowerBar’s new Perform line, featuring the C2Max multi-carbohydrate fueling, which allows your body to absorb the most amount of calories possible during exercise.
PRICE: $19.95 (52 servings)
Carb Source: Maltodextrin, fructose, dextrose Calories: 70 (18g); Carbs:17g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 190mg; Potassium: 10mg
BARS AND WAFFLES
These are supplements to an electrolyte-replacement drink. Although these products have sufficient carbohydrates, mostly from slower-burning complex carbohydrates, some may not have adequate amounts of electrolytes.
Honey Stinger Waffle
Inspired by Lance Armstrong’s favorite race food, Belgian waffles, these tasty treats are made of organic ingredients throughout, although they’re not a source of protein. Available in three flavors.
PRICE: $22.24 (16 waffles)
Calories: 160 (30g); Carbs: 21g; Protein: 0; Fat: 7g
If you want fresher bars than Bonk Breaker, you’ll have to make them yourself; they are baked fresh weekly. After one bite you’ll realize it makes a big difference in taste. These bars are moist and easy to eat, which is a big plus when riding hard. Gluten- and dairy-free. Comes in eight flavors, including the newly introduced Fig.
PRICE: $24.99 (12 bars)
Calories: 250 (62g), Carbs: 34g; Protein: 8g; Fat: 9g
Long known as the first “good-tasting bar,” Clif Bars have adequate carbs and proteins to meet nutritional needs during a longer ride. Made with organic ingredients and no fewer than 16 flavors to choose from with delicious special holiday flavors.
PRICE: $15 (12 bars)
Calories: 240 (68g); Carbs: 42g; Protein: 10g; Fat: 6g
Honey Stinger Energy Bar
Using honey as the primary source of carbohydrates, and soy-protein gives Honey Stinger Energy Bars a distinctive ingredient list. A good addition to a protein-free drink mix during a long ride.
PRICE: $25.35 (15 bars)
Calories: 190 (50g); Carbs: 27g; Protein: 10g; Fat: 5g
The original “exercise bar” now uses the same C2Max energy blend as their Performance drink mix. The bar is a good supplement for longer rides since it includes over 300mg of electrolytes and 8 grams of protein.
PRICE: $18.99 (12 bars)
Calories: 230 (65g); Carbs: 45g; Protein: 8g; Fat: 3.5g
GELS, BLOCKS AND BEANS
When the ride duration goes past a couple of hours, most riders prefer to get additional calories from solid or semisolid foods. When the intensity is high, gels and blocks are much easier to get down and quicker to digest than solidfood choices.
From the original purveyors of “gels,” Roctane uses dual carbohydrates for energy, in addition to a 1220mg aminoacid blend. Available in five flavors.
PRICE: $60 (24 gels)
Carb Source: Maltodextrin, fructose Calories: 100 (32g); Carbs: 20g; Protein: 1220mg amino-acid-blend; Sodium: 90mg; Potassium: 50mg
Honey Stinger Energy Chews
Four different fuel sources make the organic Chews a good choice for intense training. Six flavors to choose from, including the caffeinated Lime-Aid.
PRICE: $26.28 (12 chews)
Carb Source: Glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose Calories: 160 (50g); Carbs: 39g; Protein: 1g; Sodium: 80mg; Potassium: 40mg
Honey Stinger Gel
Honey tastes good, is natural and a great energy source—what’s not to like? These gels have B vitamins and electrolytes, and they come in five flavors, including GinSting with added caffeine.
PRICE: $30.96 (24 gels).
Carb Source: Honey Calories: 120 (37g); Carbs: 29g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 50mg; Potassium: 85mg
First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot
Each Liquid Shot flask has 400 calories of a carbohydrate blend, in addition to a 1000mg amino-acid blend. A great choice for a long, hard ride since you can ingest how much you want at a time from the flask. Comes in Vanilla and Wild Berry.
PRICE: $5.99 (1 flask)
Carb Source: Complex carbs, dextrose, sucrose Calories: 400 (130ml); Carbs: 100g; Protein: 1000mg aminoacid- blend; Sodium: 400mg; Potassium: 290mg
Cytomax Energy Drops
Using the Advanced Carbohydrate System, the Energy Drops’ multiple energy sources allow more glucose to reach your bloodstream, giving you more energy faster.
PRICE: $31.68 (16 packages)
Carb Source: Tapioca syrup, cane sugar, maltodextrin Calories: 90 (30g); Carbs: 22g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 65mg; Potassium: 30mg
Formulated with a thin consistency to make eating when riding hard a bit easier. Organic carbohydrate sources and natural flavor. Six flavors, in addition to a caffeinated Turbo formula.
PRICE: $29.99 (24 gels)
Carb Source: Organic maltodextrin, organic dried cane syrup Calories: 100 (34g); Carbs: 24g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 90mg; Potassium: 55mg
Each easy-to-chew Blok provides 33 calories, perfect for when the hammer’s down but you need extra calories. Comes in eight flavors, three of them with caffeine, and the famous Margarita flavor with triple the amount of sodium.
PRICE: $35.75 (18 packages)
Carb Source: Organic dried cane syrup, organic brown rice syrup and solids Calories: 100 (30g); Carbs: 24g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 70mg; Potassium: 20mg
Chomps use a blend of amino acids as well as simple and complex carbohydrates. Four flavors to choose from, including one with caffeine.
PRICE: $35.20 (16 packages)
Carb Source: Tapioca syrup, cane sugar, maltodextrin Calories: 90 (30g); Carbs: 23g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 50mg; Potassium: 40mg
Jelly Belly Sport Beans
Jelly Belly has taken our favorite jelly beans and reformulated them with electrolytes and B and C vitamins. Available in four flavors, plus two Extreme flavors with caffeine. The Jelly Belly professional cycling team assisted with development.
PRICE: $29.95 (24 packages)
Carb Source: Evaporated cane juice, tapioca syrup Calories: 100 (28g); Carbs: 25g; Protein: 0; Sodium: 80mg; Potassium: 40mg
RECOVERY DRINKS, BARS, BALLS AND OTHER PERFORMANCE BOOSTERS
There’s little debate over the ideal building blocks of a recovery product; ratios may vary, but carbohydrates and protein are always the priority. If you choose a recovery bar over a drink, be sure you’re consuming adequate fluids, preferably something with electrolytes, since hydration is a crucial component of the post-ride recovery process.
CytoSport Muscle Milk
Despite the name, Muscle Milk is actually a lactose-free product. Designed to simulate the qualities a human mother’s milk has, it offers a much higher amount of protein and fat than most recovery drinks. Although a great source of fast-burning protein and fats, additional carbohydrates may be necessary for glycogen replenishment after a long ride.
PRICE: $48.49 (32 servings)
Calories: 150 (35g); Carbs: 9g; Protein: 16g; Fat: 6g
Herbalife 24 Rebuild Endurance
Rebuild Endurance uses a 3:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio with whey isolate and glutamine to boost the immune system. Carnitine is also added to help prevent muscle breakdown and soreness.
PRICE: $59.95 (20 servings)
Calories: 160 (44.5g); Carbs: 27g; Protein: 10g; Fat: 1g
Using fast-absorbing, high-quality whey-protein isolate, Fluid Recovery not only has your muscles covered, but the addition of glutamine boosts your immune system and reduces muscle inflammation. The three flavors are all free of artificial ingredients and are gluten- and lactose-free.
PRICE: $29.99 (16 servings)
Calories: 128 (39g); Carbs: 25g; Protein: 7g; Fat: 0
First Endurance Ultragen
Ultragen uses high glycemic carbs for the best possible muscle uptake after exercise, as well as a blend of three different easily digestable proteins.
PRICE: $44.95 (15 servings)
Calories: 320 (91g); Carbs: 60g; Protein: 20g; Fat: 0
Clif Shot Roks
An interesting concept for a recovery food, the Roks are encrusted balls of protein that let you eat one— or all 10—depending on your caloric needs. Carbohydrate-to-protein ratio to-protein ratio with whey isolate and glutamine to boost the immune system. Carnitine is also added to help prevent muscle breakdown and soreness. is close to 2:1. They come in three different flavors.
PRICE: $24 (10 packages)
Calories: 270 (70g); Carbs: 38g; Protein: 20g; Fat: 4.5g
Bonk Breaker Protein
With a 2:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, the Bonk Breaker bar is on the high end for protein, but slather an extra layer of jelly on the Peanut Butter and Jelly bar for some added carbs and you have quite a treat.
PRICE: $27.50 (12 bars)
Calories: 240 (62g); Carbs: 25g; Protein: 15g; Fat: 9g
These products can at times be a boost to performance, but they alone will not meet your nutritional needs.
SaltStick and Caps
A novel idea for getting additional electrolytes when necessary. Salt Stick is inserted into the handlebar and serves as a dispenser for the electrolyte caps. Ideal for a long workout on a hot or humid day when additional electrolytes might be necessary. Each serving contains 215mg of sodium and 63mg of potassium. The dispenser and electrolyte caps were developed by a PhD chemist and former professional triathlete.
PRICE: $19.95 (mini dispenser),
$19.95 (100 Electrolyte Caps)
Giving your body an exogenous dose of lactate actually reduces overproduction of lactate under high intensity, raising your lactate threshold. One pill for every 50 pounds of body weight is the recommended usage, and it can be used on every ride without diminishing returns.
PRICE: $26.95 (120 pills)
This mainstream energy shot can be found at any convenience store, but more recently also in the feedbags of the Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro team. It uses a cocktail of B vitamins, amino acids and caffeine to give a boost (they say the equivalent of one cup of coffee). With only four calories, it will not really contribute to the caloric demands during a workout. Available in five flavors.
PRICE: $14.99 (6 bottles)