How to Choose Sports and Energy Drinks

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three runners drinking energy drinks at the top of a staircase

Blended with electrolytes, carbohydrate energy, vitamins and minerals, sports/energy drinks help keep you hydrated and enhance your performance.

Shop REI's selection of sports/energy drinks.


Consider What a Sports/Energy Drink Should Do

  1. Stimulate rapid fluid absorption and quench your thirst.
  2. Ensure rapid rehydration.
  3. Provide carbohydrate energy to working muscles.
  4. Decrease or prevent muscle soreness, cramps and fatigue.
  5. Replenish electrolytes.

All sports/energy drinks carried at REI meet the above considerations. Be aware, however, that doctors recommend that you drink at least 8 glasses of water per day in addition to sports/energy drinks.


Choose Drinks Based on Their Nutritional Content

Taste is obviously an important factor when choosing a drink. But since taste is so subjective, we'll stick to explaining the relative nutrition offered by each drink. When comparing drinks online, look for calories, carbohydrate percentages, sodium and potassium percentages.


Most sports/energy drinks contain 45-160 calories per serving.


Sports/energy drinks should offer significant amounts of carbohydrates (the more the better), as they are your main energy source.


(listed ingredient as sodium chloride, citrate or bicarbonate) The above listed ingredients, which are components of electrolytes, are essential in metabolizing carbohydrates and allowing the proper functioning of muscles. They also help to keep your body hydrated. The more you sweat during activity, the more you need higher levels of sodium.


(listed ingredient as monopotassium phosphate, l-lactate, or dipotassium phosphate)

Also considered to be components of electrolytes, the above listed ingredients are equally essential in metabolizing carbohydrates for the proper functioning of muscles and to keep your body hydrated. The more you sweat during activity, the more you need higher levels of potassium.


Choose Your Favorite Flavor

Energy drinks are now more popular than ever before, which means you can choose from a great many flavors. Choices include lemon-lime, fruit punch, orange, berry, citrus or tropical. So, rehydrate, rejuvenate and enjoy!

Shop REI's selection of sports/energy drinks.