Endurance nutrition expert Renee McGregor provides easy to prepare performance boosting food and drink recipes and tips. (Food and drink that you can prepare yourself… and yes, very easily!)

There are so many products on the market designed to improve your performance during training or competition, but it’s straightforward to prepare your very own. And the benefits are that you can tailor them to your personal taste preferences and save some money in the process.

The main components of any energy drink are designed to supplement glycogen stores and to replace lost salts so that consistent performance results. It’s well documented that when glycogen stores are full, there is sufficient energy to fuel moderate exercise for 90-120 minutes and maximal exercise for 30-60 minutes. So the faster/harder you are working, the quicker your glycogen stores will become depleted. In order to prevent the inevitable “hitting the wall” it’s beneficial to top up carbohydrate so that your glycogen stores are spared for longer. For training/competitions lasting up to 2 hours, the recommendation is to consume around 30-60g an hour of carbohydrate depending on the intensity you are training at, beyond this you may benefit from 60-90g.


Take 300ml of juice – this can be from concentrate. Choose a flavour you prefer. Dilute with 200ml water; this will ensure that the carbohydrate concentration is around 6%. Most standard shop bought energy drinks contains 5-7%. This concentration range seems to be optimal for absorption by the body. If drinks are hypertonic i.e. have carbohydrate concentrations of more than 7%, they can potentially cause stomach distress, especially in warm conditions.

Adding a quarter teaspoon of table salt to your drink will provide 25mmol of sodium per 500ml. This is because an endurance drink should replace salt loss. If these are high and not replaced, dehydration can result.

By adding salt to your drink, you can aid the absorption of fluid into the body. Most standard sports drinks contain around 10mmol of sodium per 500ml; the recommendations are 20-30mmol per hour and double this for ultra distance events. Our DIY sports drink – as noted – provides 25mmol.

It’s as simple of that! No need for artificial sweeteners or flavours, just diluted juice with some salt added. Additionally if you use orange juice, you’ll also reap the benefits of Vitamin C which has been shown to aid with preventing fatigue.