Homemade Energy Drinks

Recipes for various energy powders/drinks, and the savings over buying the branded products
23rd March 2009.
Jim Ley, Jibbering.com
part of Sports.

Energy Drinks

As a source of calories whilst exercising there are a large number of energy drinks available, however they are generally pretty expensive, for what are cheap basic ingredients. First up are various basic recipes of mine and Maryka's and below that are copies of various commercial products to demonstrate the differences in prices.

The majority of ingredients are priced from either MyProtein.co.uk (please use my referal code MP107371 to get 5% off and earn me some points.) or from Tesco supermarket, and were correct as of the date above. The prices of the branded product was from their own website, or store.

MaltodextrinMyProtein 1kg £2.99Rapid Energy
Soy ProteinMyProtein 1kg £13.99Protein
FructoseMyProtein 1kg £5.99Slower Energy
Electrolyte PowderMyProtein 100g £3.49Electrolytes to replace salts
CaffeineMyProtein 100g £3.29Reduce Central Nervous System Fatigue
Choline BitartateMyProtein 100g £3.49Required to "fire" muscles, insufficient choline can reduce muscle activation
Aspartame (Nutrasweet / Candarel)Supermarket 70g £0.97Sweetener. Personally I think this is a very bad idea to add to an energy drink, it's added because people believe energy drinks should be sweet, and maltodextrin which is the best energy source is not very sweet. However, there are various possible negatives with the sweeteners, including stomach distress which suggest it would be best avoided.

My Recipes

Basic Electrolyte Sports Drink Mix


This has a very neutral taste, ever so slightly sweet, but basically just bland. To flavour it, you can use squash (look for one with no added flavourings/sweetners etc.) which will add some fructose to the drink, which is not a bad thing and commonly in many sports drinks. The exact amount of squash to use will really depend on how strongly flavoured you want it, slightly less than you would have in a regular drink is probably a good starting place, and taste it when out exercising, what you like when at home, and when you're sitting on a bike for hours is often different. I generally use a shot of my home made Gel per 750ml bottle.

If you are not using your drink for electrolytes (which might be sensible given that food intake and water / salt intake is not likely to be completely balanced, it will depend on ambient temperature and more) you can just use the maltodextrin to make a drink.

Endurance Sports Drink Mix


Research has shown that for longer activities, some protein increases performance, so this mix (inspired by Hammer's Perpetuem but without the fat) taps into this. It also adds Caffeine and Choline to the mix, you need to be careful with the caffeine as the amount required is very small, very accurate scales are needed.

Various other amino acids and micronutrients can be added, and I would encourage everyone to experiment! The Choline may be a complete placebo for me, but I have had my only points in a cycle race when using it, it's the only time I've felt strong in the sprint.

The science behind different ratios and amounts of carbohydrates/protein and the micronutrients is not very conclusive, and is likely to vary amoung individuals anyway. Testing products for yourself is the only way to see what works for you.

Copies of commercial recipes

If you are a particular fan a commercial product, I've started collecting copies of recipes here which make a similar product.

SiS PSP 22 unflavoured


Torq unflavoured


Torq orange


The orange flavour here can be an orange cordial or "squash", try a no-added sugar, and consider reducing the fructose to make up for the sugar in the orange itself. Or alternatively there are powdered orange flavourings available online at an increased cost, but simpler as the orange is then a powder like the rest rather than a liquid.