There Goes My Gatorade Sponsorship


By posting this, I realize that I’ve lost all hope of ever having my site sponsored by Gatorade (or Pepsico for that matter)…but I thought it made for an interesting story so I’m sharing it here today.


On one of the routes that I’ve been riding over here in Florida, I roll past the Kissimmee Gatorade manufacturing plant.  As I was cycling past it yesterday, a seriously nasty odor surrounded me.  Now, I have a pretty good gag reflex ….but the feeling that I was totally going to hurl came over me as I passed by the plant.  It only lasted for a few seconds as before too long I was out of the stink zone.  But for a brief moment I was faced with an overpowering “puke” smell all around me.  (Is there a nicer word for puke or hurl?  It’s the only words I could think to use).

I know a lot of cyclists drink Gatorade to replace sugars and electrolytes in their bodies during long rides, but I’ve never been a raving fan of their product….and that was long before the “smell” incident.  I’m not going to get into my review of it or why I don’t feel it’s the best option out there….but I will go on record as saying that I feel there are plenty of better choices for hydration, electrolytes, and carbs.  Other options that don’t use ingredients stanky enough to almost knock you off your bike.

My teammate, Kelli doesn’t quite feel the same way as I do.  It’s not her first choice, but she’s had a lot of clients who have done quite well using Gatorade. She’s a lot more experienced in the area of nutrition than I am, so I can’t argue with her opinion.  All I know is that when I’ve used it in the past, it’s given me an upset stomach and made me feel worse instead of better.  I know I might have opened myself up to some comment bashing by slamming Gatorade, but I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers.  Please note that this is just my personal opinion.

Do you drink Gatorade?  Why do (or don’t you) use it?  What are your experiences with it?

Enjoy Your Ride

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30 Responses to “ There Goes My Gatorade Sponsorship ”

  1. Ally on December 13, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Hi – hopped over here from Pamela’s site – Road to Joy.
    This is a subject I have a lot of interest in. There are several reasons why Gatorade is a no-go for me. First, they only recently started using sugar instead of HFCS in their drinks. (Personally, I have food sensitivity issues with cane suger, so even that doesn’t work for me, but I realize that’s just me.) My biggest issue is that they market their drinks heavily to kids who do not need them. The last thing our kids need is more sugar and more sodium in their diets. The average team athlete gets enough sodium in their diets that they do not need replacement. For cyclists, distance runners, etc, that DO need carb and electrolyte replacement (and while some of them need sodium replacement, many do not), there are simply better options out there. While they are surely not the only good choice, Heed by Hammer Nutrition is always my first choice. They have some really great educational articles about their products on their site, as well. And some great articles on mixing some of their products for a drink that works for your needs.

  2. Greg Heller on December 12, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I live and ride in Toronto. I have tried several different products; Gatorade powder, hammer gels and Heed. As one other person mentioned, the pre-mixed Gatorade is laced with corn fructose, which is the last thing that your body needs. However, last spring a fellow cyclist introduced me to the eLoad group of products. They were developed by a Toronto Sports Medicine doctor specifically for runners, cyclists and tri-athletes. For rides of 2 hours or more I use eLoad Heat Endurance which closely emulates what you lose through your sweat. I then add eLoad ‘Fly’ which is a pure carbohydrate. The combination of these two products is amazing. I no longer bonk or cramp and my energy levels are better. You can read all the data at this link–p136131/#Electrolytes

    • Loving the Bike on December 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm

      Thanks for letting me know about this product…I’d never heard of it before. I’ll go take a look right now.

  3. Kelli, RD on December 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Hello everyone – wow, what a popular post! I thought I’d chime in to give the facts as I know them. Really, whether you should use plain water or a sports drink that provides carbs, calories, and lytes depends on your goals as a cyclist. If you main goals are to go out enjoy a ride, maybe lose weight, etc., then plain water will work for most rides (unless it is hot/humid). In fact, I believe plain water is always appropriate for rides of 60 minutes or less as you won’t actually help yourself during the ride w/ fuel. However, if your goals are to get better with every ride, push yourself to new limits, as when you are training towards a cycling goal, you will absolutely ride better, feel better, and replensish yourself better with the RIGHT fueling plan for you…especially if the ride is >60 minutes and/or it is hot/humid. There are many, many options for a good fueling plan. They can solely include a drink (can kill 3 birds with one stone – fluid, carbs, lytes), or a sports drink + gels or solid fuel or water + a source of lytes + carbs for gels/solids. However, all fueling plans for the latter type of athlete should include fluid, easy-to-digest carbs, and lytes – that’s simply what your body and brain needs. I’m also a big fan of NUUN, when used with a separate carb source (again, depending on your goals). If you’re this latter type of athlete, training fuel is not the time to skimp. You’ll almost always still create a calorie deficit and not gain fat by fueling your ride with carbs – it’s very difficult to actually consume the amount you’re burning on a hard ride. Then, you can finish up with a smart recovery snack afterwards. It’s true, simple sugars (or even the longer-chain carbs like maltodextrin used in HEED)are generally not great sources of nutrition for you – neither is sodium – unless you happen to be using/burning it at a high rate as you are with intense cycling…in this case, it’s exactly the nutrition you need. Once you cover training fuel, you can go about eating clean, healthy foods at all other times of day, while you’re not actively cycling – without thinking you need to overeat to make up for the calories you burned during the ride(you’ve already covered those with your training fuel). In fact, most athletes fail to lose weight or even gain weight because they overeat after rides since they “owe” themselves extra servings! All this said, there a lot of different, good options for training fuel for lots of different cyclists. We’ll have more to come, with lots of specific recommendations in another post soon!

    • Loving the Bike on December 12, 2010 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks for adding in this great information to the post. Anyone dropping by will now be able to pick up some of your great wisdom and help them out with their riding.

      Yes, Kelli and I have some good stuff coming up in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled for our December 27th post.

  4. Mark on December 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Give this formula a try. It’s excellent for hydration. Doesn’t taste great at first, but I’ve aquired a taste for it:

  5. John Romeo Alpha on December 10, 2010 at 8:07 am

    There’s not a big reason to pay for your electrolytes. Mixing your own allows you to tune the mix to your own needs, too. Into my water bottle I put a spoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, a ground-up potassium supplement pill, and a squirt of lime juice. That’s all you need, really. The rest is food coloring, marketing, and profit.

    • Andrew on December 10, 2010 at 10:52 am

      But you’re still paying for those products right? Regardless, I’m comfortable with the work nuun has done for the following breakdown of electrolytes-
      active ingredients level (mg)
      Sodium (carbonates) 360.0
      Potassium (bicarbonate) 100.0
      Calcium (carbonate) 12.5
      Magnesium (sulfate) 25.0
      Vitamin C 37.5
      Vitamin B2 500mcg

      And I like the flavor sans the extra calories or carbs.

      • Darryl on December 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm

        As you know, I’m a major Nuun fan as well. John is totally correct in saying that a simple “home brew” can bring you the same results as many of the “store” brands…..but I also agree with you in that a product like Nuun can provide a little more in some areas. Plus, having something that tastes good is a nice bonus.

    • Darryl on December 10, 2010 at 9:06 pm

      I was going to include a recipe very similar to this one in the post, but was waiting for another time to do that. Thanks for sharing your recipe with everyone, and you are totally correct in saying that this is all you need. It might not have the same taste and packaging as the store bought stuff, but will have the same result. Thanks, again.

  6. Torsten on December 9, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Andrew has Pez dispenser for his NUUN tablets…eats them like candy;)

  7. DareToBecome on December 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I have never tried Nuun but it sounds as though I should check that out. I avoid gatorade because of the HFCS also. Even during my half-marathons I just use one honey stinger and plain water.

  8. Rachel T on December 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I use HEED. It’s flavored without being overly sweet. Love the stuff. My coach steers us away from sucrose and HFCS to drinks with maltrodextrin.

    • Darryl on December 10, 2010 at 9:12 pm

      I’ve heard a lot of great things about Hammer Heed, but haven’t tried it yet. My teammate, Kelli says good things about it as well. I really need to give it a shot so that I can voice my opinion.

      Thanks for your comment.

  9. Cycling For Beginners on December 9, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I use water for shorter rides and use the Gatorade powder for longer rides — usually mixed weaker than the pre-mixed stuff. Haven’t used NUUN before, but after reading these comments and checking out their website I’ll be trying that next.


    • Darryl on December 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      Yes, try it out and let me know what you think. Here is our review of Nuun:

    • Andrew on December 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      Where are you located Rob? I’d be happy to hook you up with a few samples of nuun.

      • Cycling For Beginners on December 9, 2010 at 5:57 pm

        Hi Andrew, thanks — I’m in the suburbs of Philly. DM me on Twitter and I’ll send you my complete address, if that works for you.


  10. Greg on December 9, 2010 at 7:45 am

    I like Gatorade, but mainly only the dry mix that I can prepare myself. That way, I can make whatever concentration I want, but it also is better for you.

    Most of the pre-made Gatorade flavors have high fructose corn syrup as a major ingredient, but the powder mix can’t. So go with the mix.

    • Darryl on December 9, 2010 at 9:35 am

      Very good advice, Greg. High fructose corn syrup is some nasty stuff and should be avoided as much as possible.

  11. Tim on December 9, 2010 at 7:21 am

    The last time I had gatorade during a large supported ride, it almost made me puke. The support people had mixed it real strong. I had to stop and dilute it with the water in my other bottle.

    NuuN is the stuff!

    • Darryl on December 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

      Looks like we have another Nuun fan…….thanks for your comment.

  12. Victor on December 9, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Gatorade is nasty stuff. I think that many endurance athletes take in too many calories with this type of drink. If you are riding for an hour and a half you really don’t need calories. Personally I like NUUN.
    Then get calories from some sort of bar..on longer rides

    BTW: The smell is probably burning citrus rinds for power generation. You would think that it would smell nice but it is a nasty smell. Better than coal though.

    • Darryl on December 9, 2010 at 9:38 am

      Could be….whatever the smell was, it sure was nasty. Sounds like you’ve got the same thoughts as me on cycling hydration.

  13. Torsten on December 9, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I’m not a big fan of Gatorade, I prefer Nuun instead.

  14. Clive Chapman on December 9, 2010 at 6:55 am

    You may not be aware, but I coach rugby to a pretty high level at a professional Rugby Club in England and have access to conditioning coaches and nutritionists.

    Their view of drinks like Gatorade and Lucozade Sport etc is that for everybody but the most elite athletes who do need that extra percentage point they’re ok.

    They recommend for normal mortals who excercise at a high level, good old H2O for hydration, good sleep and a balanced healthy diet. No rocket science at all.

    I tend to stay away from chemicals in foodstuffs anyway so I don’t drink them if I can help it!

    • Darryl on December 9, 2010 at 9:39 am

      Thanks Clive. Yes, I agree. I use good old plain water for the majority of my rides. I only pop in a Nuun for extra long rides and when I feel like I need an extra kick.

  15. Andrew on December 9, 2010 at 6:38 am

    I quite that stuff last year. Found NUUN which are electrolyte replacement tabs. Drop one in a bottle of water are you’re good to go. Great flavors & no calories or funny stuff. I swear by these & use them for every workout & recovery from *ahem* social activities as well.

    • Darryl on December 9, 2010 at 6:52 am

      Yeah, I’m a fan of Nuun as well. Thanks for your comments, Andrew. I’m looking forward to riding with you again soon.

      • Chris on December 11, 2010 at 7:16 pm

        I pop Nuun like they’re cough drops. I seriously go through a ton b/c I use it all of the time. I even mix & match flavors as well. I typically use 2 tablets per water bottle b/c I sweat a TON so I need the extra electrolytes. I’ve tried a bunch of other electrolytes as well and right now Nuun are my favorite.

        Great product and great people behind it as well.


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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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