For those of you not familiar with Katie, she is the most consistent elite cyclist North America has produced. She’s won so many National Championships and World Cups that we lost count long ago.
Katie and her husband Mark are known for thinking outside the box and paying attention to detail when dealing with training, equipment, and nutrition, so it’s always interesting to see what they are doing. We bribed her to let us share her simple, yet effective carbohydrate/electrolyte drink mix with you.
"I came up with this drink mix for a few reasons:
- I didn’t have an electrolyte drink mix that I liked.
- I wanted a mix with very few ingredients.
- I wanted to be able to adjust calories depending on how hard I was riding without lessening the amount of electrolytes in the mix.
On some days I’m riding in hot weather and need the electrolytes, but I’m not doing any intensity where I’m above my aerobic range and need to use glucose as an energy source; (I want to continue burning fat for energy and not switch into blood glucose and glycogen).
This maple syrup electrolyte mix is adjustable based on my training needs. Plus, maple syrup tastes good and has more nutrients in it than just plain table sugar. I mainly came up with it when I was trying to stay in ketosis and not add sugar/carbs to anything.
Once I started doing more intensity and realized I did need more carbs as fuel to feel strong during anaerobic efforts, I started adding the maple syrup to see how I felt. It seemed to work well. Here's my recipe:
- Mix with 16oz. filtered water
- 1 tbsp real maple syrup
- 1 scoop of Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder (55g sodium)
- 1 scoop Perfect Amino XP Amino Acid Powder
- Sea salt as needed for additional sodium
You’ll need a scale that measures in milligrams if you want to be precise with additional sodium. Sea salt is typically 40% sodium, so you’ll do a little math to calculate how much to add to get the desired sodium content. Also, typical cycling water bottles hold 22 or 26 ounces depending on their size and you’ll need to adjust this recipe accordingly. To make things easy, you can triple the recipe for use in three 22-ounce bottles.
We’ve made a couple of tweaks to make Katie’s recipe even more effective by replacing the amino acid powder with pure L-Leucine and using unsweetened iced tea in place of water for flavor.
We went with the branched-chain amino acid Leucine since we’ve found it does the best job preventing muscle breakdown during intense exercise. While straight Leucine powder is usually more expensive, it’s a better value as you’ll get more from it. Ajinomoto Fusil is the industry standard and the highest-quality Leucine powder we’ve found.
We haven’t found a commercial unsweetened iced tea that we feel good about recommending because they all contain preservatives and other additives. Therefore, we try to make it ourselves. It takes longer, but we get exactly what we want. If you use a commercial version for convenience, check its sodium content and adjust this overall recipe as needed. Don’t forget that you can always dilute your iced tea with filtered water to get the flavor strength you prefer.