What Is The History of Sports Drinks? (A Brief Look)


Universally hailed as the world’s first sports drink, Gatorade was developed by scientists from the University of Florida way back in 1965.

The story goes that many of the school’s football players were affected by the area’s extreme heat. That prompted the invention of a special solution to replace the salts and sugars that were lost during those hot and sweaty team practices.

The name of the drink was a nod to the University’s mascot – the Florida Gator. While Gatorade might taste pretty good to most of us today, apparently it started off as a less-than-appetizing drink. Several of the players were reportedly unable to stomach the original formula due to the terrible taste. [source]

Once the flavor improved, it didn’t take long before Gatorade became a wild success. Athletes far beyond the University of Florida were finally able to properly hydrate both during and after exercise.

This meant that they could safely workout longer than they previously could without succumbing to the effects of exhaustion and dehydration.

Before Gatorade’s invention, some endurance athletes would rely on drinking de-fizzed soda in the middle of long events like the marathon in order to get access to extra sugars.

While Gatorade might have been first, it is not the only option on the market today. At least hundreds, if not thousands of imitators have sprung up over the decades. All of them want to try and make a profit off the popularity of the sports drink industry and the billions of dollars that athletes spend each year.

At our house, we personally prefer the type of sports drink that comes from tablets that can be dissolved in plain water.

Beyond their good taste, we like them because they are easy to transport as well as environmentally friendly since they use far less plastic for their packaging.

A major part of nutrition will also be your fluid intake. You can’t rehydrate the day of a race if you’ve been dehydrated in the days leading up to it, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water beforehand.

You’ll also need to have plenty of water while doing the race, but it’s equally important to consume sugar and electrolytes.

If you are looking for an electrolyte source, we highly recommend Nuun tablets Energy (Amazon Link). Aside from the nice flavors offered, Nuun is among the few, if not the only electrolyte tablets that have caffeine in them. We have tested it for a while and just couldn’t find any better substitute.

Brad Birky

Brad Birky is an endurance athlete and trained chef who has qualified for and completed the Boston Marathon as well as multiple Ironman distance triathlons

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