By Mike Lohre MS HFI
Step right up and get your container of Mike’s Magical Mix. It facilitates recovery after a workout, gets tough stains out of clothes, cures the common cold, and also makes a great hydration drink. Alright, that might be overstating the possible uses of Mike’s Mix, but in addition to a recovery formula I can also justifiably recommend it as a sports or hydration drink to be used during workouts.
During exercise it is important to consume liquids whenever possible. Dehydration and overheating are major factors in reducing the level of your performance during longer bouts of training. Obviously, as the ambient temperature increases, the need for consuming additional liquids to stay cool becomes vital. Although plain cold water absorbs more quickly than anything else, there’s still a significant advantage in consuming some high-glycemic carbohydrates dissolved in that water. Glycogen levels always decline during exercise. However, ingesting carbohydrates during exercise reduces the rate at which glycogen is lost by providing the muscles with an additional source of energy. It is important to remember that your glycogen levels before the start of exercise is the most important fuel determinant for performance. You can’t consume enough carbs on the run to make up for suboptimal levels of glycogen (so do not neglect to take Mike’s Mix as a recovery formula after your workout). However, during very long events (eg. an Ironman or alpine ascent) the need for consumed carbohydrate is critical for optimal performance as your glycogen supply is very near exhausted long before you cross the finish line. In a nutshell, the longer the event the more important it is to take in carbohydrate for fuel during the event.
Too many carbs?
Like anything in life there is too much of a good thing. Your carbohydrate solution should not exceed 10%. If you exceed this 10%, the rate of liquid absorption and consequently the absorption of carbohydrate dissolved in the solution falls significantly (under a 10% solution is absorbed almost as quickly as plain water). Although every sports drink manufacturer is aware of this concept, most still produce a product with sugar concentrations over 10%. They favor sweetness over science which assures more sales. If you’re serious about performance don’t buy hydration drinks based solely on taste. Make sure they are less than a 10% solution or they may be doing you more harm than good.
What should be in a sports drink? The legitimate sports drinks all contain predominately glucose, glucose polymers and a small amount of fructose. If this sounds familiar it should. Except for the fact that Mike’s Mix contains some additional protein this is the formula. Yup, pretty much what is useful to your muscles during exercises is also what they require after for recovery. What you should avoid in a sports drink is sugar and high fructose corn syrup. They taste sweet but their fructose content is too high. Fructose is not nearly as effective for providing energy to working muscles as glucose. A little fructose is beneficial for replenishing liver glycogen, but table sugar (sucrose) which is 50% fructose and high-fructose corn syrup which is around 60% fructose, is far too much. Again these substances taste sweet and adding them to a sports drink will increase sales, but if you are performance oriented there are much better alternatives.
How much carbohydrate?
Ideally you would like to be consuming around 80 grams of Mike’s Mix an hour. If your solution is 9% solute this means you need to be consuming around a quart of liquid every hour. This is a fair amount of liquid. The best way to consume it would be to carry a water bottle and sip it frequently.
I would suggest making your Mike’s Mix hydration drink by the gallon. For every gallon of water add 10 scoops of Mike’s Mix (approximately 320 grams of mix). Remember in hot weather this is only 4 hours worth of sports drink. Don’t expect your solution to taste fruity and sweet. Although the taste isn’t bad it is pretty watered down but you get accustomed to it in time (at least I did). Here is a fact that may make you smile. What does a gallon of Gatorade ™ or other commercial sports drink cost? Way too much, since you’re simply buying water, high fructose corn syrup and food coloring. Mike’s Mix will run you $3.50 a gallon and you will be making a superior product.
So enjoy and tell a friend about Mike’s Mix.