Sports drinks and paddling

Not all sport drinks are created equal. There are formulas and ingredients that have been scientifically tested and proven to have performance benefits, while others are just smoke and mirrors with fancy marketing. Sport nutrition drinks are designed to be used before you train or compete (about 30 minutes to 1 hour before), during training or competition, and after you train or compete about 30 minutes to 1 hour after). For the rest of your day drink water. The goals of sport nutrition drinks are to keep your body hydrated with water and electrolytes, energized with calories and carbohydrates, and recover faster with a combination of carbohydrates and protein.

To perform your best, you need to prepare and train to the best of your abilities. Show up to training or a race well hydrated and well fueled.

How often should I drink during training or a race and how much?

  • Time: training or race of ≥ 70% mHR for more than 1 hour
  • Amount: drink about 1-2 ounces   ~ a medium sip
  • When: drink about every 15-20 minutes

Choose from the sport nutrition drink list for “during” training. Remember not to make any changes on race day. You do not know how your body will react to unfamiliar drinks. Stick to what you typically drink before and during your race. Practice with new drinks while you are training.

Caffeinated Sports Drinks Nutrition List

Gu Rocktane Energy Drink Mix


Serving Size: 1 packet
Calories: 240
Carbohydrates (g): 60
Sodium (mg): 320
Potassium (mg): 50
Caffeine (mg): 35

Ingredients: Maltodextrin, Fructose, Sodium Citrate, Taurine, Natural Flavor, Leucine, Citric Acid, Valine, Beta-Alanine, Potassium Citrate, Fruit and Vegetable Powder (As Color), Malic Acid, White Tea Leaf Extract (Contains Caffeine), Isoleucine

Flavors: Lemon lime, summit tea, tropical fruit

Hammar Nutrition Perpetuem


Serving Size: 2 scoops
Calories: 270
Carbohydrates (g): 54
Protein (g): 7
Fat (g): 2.5
Sodium (mg): 210
Potassium (mg): 0
Caffeine (mg): 35

Ingredients: Maltodextrin, Isolated Soy Protein, Energy Smart® (Grape Juice, Rice Dextrin), Soy Lecithin, Coffee, Natural Flavor, Trisodium Phosphate, Amino Acids (L-Carnosine, L-Carnitine Tartrate), Choline Bitartrate, Stevia, Chromium Polynicotinate, Caffeine

Contains: Soy

Flavors: Café latte, chocolate, orange- vanilla, strawberry-vanilla, unflavored

OX Endurance


Serving Size: 1 stick pack for 12 oz
Calories: 15
Carbohydrates (g): 4
Magnesium as asparatate (mg): 30
Zinc as monomethionone
and aspartate (mg):  2
Chromium as polynicotinate (mg): 0
Creatine HCl (mg):  500
L-arginine (mg): 500
BCAA blend (L-Leucine,
L-Isoleucine, L-Valine)(mg): 200
Citrulline Malate (mg): 100
Caffeine (mg): 200
Taurine (mg): 200

Other Ingredients: isomaltulose, citric acid, natural citrus flavor, sucralose, FD&C Blue#1

Tailwind Caffeinated Endurance Fuel


Serving Size: 2-3 scoops for 24 oz
Calories: 200
Carbohydrates (g): 25
Protein (g): 0
Fat (g): 0
Sodium (mg): 303
Potassium (mg): 88
Magnesium (mg): 14
Caffeine (mg): 35

Ingredients: Non-GMO Dextrose (Glucose), Non-GMO Sucrose, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sea Salt, Organic Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Caffeine

Flavors: Green tea buzz, raspberry buzz, tropical buzz

Non-GMO, Organic

Skratch Labs Hydration Drink Mix


Serving Size: 1 scoops for 12-16 oz
Calories: 80
Carbohydrates (g): 36
Protein (g): 0
Fat (g): 0
Sodium (mg): 380
Potassium (mg): 0

Ingredients: cane sugar, dextrose, sodium citrate, citric acid, matcha green tea, magnesium lactate, calcium citrate, potassium citrate, lemon oil, lemon juice, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

Flavors: Matcha Green Tea & Lemon

DF, GF, K, Non GMO, V


Are you interested in learning about non-caffeinated sports drinks? Read A Paddler’s Guide to Non-Caffeinated Sports Drinks.


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Audrey Lee

Audrey Lee is a performance coach, sport nutrition coach, group exercise instructor, Paddle Into Fitness Master Trainer, WPA certified SUP yoga instructor, and 200 hour certified YA yoga instructor. She has her PhD in Exercise Sport Science and her Master’s degree in nutrition. Her passion is integrating the mind-body connection into her coaching to help people find balance and reach their highest potential. She lives in Park City, Utah and loves the outdoors, playing in the mountains or on water.