Best Energy Drink for Sports (all-stars)

a group of football players

Have you ever dreamt of being the next Leo Messi, Lebron James, Usain Bolt or Rafael Nadal in the sports world?

To be the brightest star in your sport, you’ve got to become the hardest worker in the room.

With training routines, strict diet plans, and loads of workout sessions, you’ll need an extra something to keep you striving towards your goal.

One of the go-to supplements in any sport is the humble energy drink.

In fact, they’re so popular in sports that energy drink companies have become proud sponsors in many different sports.

From football to basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer, and even video games, energy drink brands understand how important it is to be associated with success in each of these sports.

But, how much do these caffeinated beverages help athletes in getting to the top of their game?

And, with so many energy drinks in the market today, which one makes the most sense for all your athletic needs?

Interested to find out? Then, you’re in the right place.

Let’s get started…

How do you know which energy drink is best for you?

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Calories
  • Price

Caffeine

Coffee bean on a spoon
Caffeine builds your strength and endurance.

It’s rare to come across an energy drink without caffeine.

Caffeine helps you to endure those long hours of intense training sessions.

Thanks to its magic, you’ll feel energized and alert, especially when your coach doesn’t go easy on you.

The daily limit for caffeine is no more than 400mg per day as recommended by the FDA.

I find anywhere between 50-100mg of caffeine per serve to be the ideal amount for an active sportsman or sportswoman. But, that’s just my view.

Make sure to consult your dietitian before adding energy drinks to your diet.

When it comes to caffeine, less is more. Don’t think that you have to load up more than 100mg in a single-serve to get a huge energy boost.

In fact, overdosing on caffeine can lead to many health consequences – some serious, others mild.

You might develop anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, dizziness, and hot flushes.

And, you’ll experience fatigue when the effect from caffeine wears off. Isn’t that the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve in the first place?

Not to mention, the more serious damage that caffeine might do to your body.

If you ask me, energy drinks work better when they contain a sensible amount of caffeine. Big things do come in small packages.

What you need before a training session or, even a game, is enough of a boost to get you energized and focused to perform at your best.

Definitely not something that makes you restless, nauseous or unable to concentrate on the game plan.

Sugar

Like caffeine, sugar is great for an instant energy boost. It also tastes great.

But, as people say, all good things must come to an end. And sadly, the same goes for the energy-boosting effects of sugar on your body.

Sugar is a fast-burning carb. This means your body takes a shorter time to convert it to energy.

Sugar makes an excellent energy supply for athletes that undergo intense training daily. However, it may still be advisable for you to avoid it, as is the guidance for most people.

Check with your doctor or health professional for proper advice about how much sugar is appropriate for you as a sports athlete.

Studies have proven that a high intake of sugar isn’t good for you. It can increase your risk of diabetes, premature aging, and obesity.

And, the last thing you need as you prepare for your upcoming games is a sugar crash.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends you keep your daily intake of sugar to a maximum of 37.5g for men and 25g for women.

GenderRecommended daily intake of sugar according to AHA
Men150 kcal / 37.5g / 9 tsp
Women100 kcal / 25g / 6 tsp

Keep in mind that this is the total amount of sugar that you should be consuming all day from all sources. Some energy drinks contain more than this amount in a single can.

Your safest bet might be drinks with reasonable amounts of sugar, or better yet – none at all.

Sugar cubes around a cup of coffee
A sugar crash during a game is a nightmare!

Calories

If you’re an athlete, you probably have an active lifestyle, except during rehab or a long holiday.

You train long hours and push your body to the max, in order to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Strength and endurance play key roles to ensure you don’t wear yourself out.

A well-balanced calorie count provides you with sufficient energy and replaces what you burn each day.

While regular people need between 1500-2000 calories every day, an athlete needs more.

The number of calories required by an athlete may be 3000 or more, in some cases, even more than that.

In the end, your calorie requirement comes down to individual factors like your age, gender, weight, height, and the sports you play.

For a precise number, consult your personal trainer or dietitian.

Different energy drinks have different calorie counts.

Check out the sugar content in any drink. One that’s high in sugar tends to also be high in calories. And, vice versa.

If you’re following a strict low-calorie diet, it’s best to stay clear of drinks that add to your calorie count unnecessarily.

In fact, there are plenty of sugar-free energy drinks with little or no calories that you can get your hands on.

Price

Why pay more than you need to?

Expensive energy drinks aren’t necessarily superior to more affordable options, provided you know what you’re looking for.

You don’t need to sacrifice any quality, there are plenty of great-value energy drinks out there with a good mix of ingredients for very reasonable prices.

My absolute favorite energy drink for sport is REIZE, which ships right to your door for only about $1 per drink. That’s ridiculous value.

But more on that a little later…

Is Gatorade an energy drink?

No, Gatorade is not an energy drink.

It’s okay, I get why this may be confusing for you.

Gatorade is classified as a ‘sports drink’ and sold as an exercise enhancement drink.

Gatorade contains rehydrating electrolytes, something most energy drinks don’t have.

Also, energy drinks typically contain caffeine, whereas sports drinks like Gatorade generally don’t.

Back in 1965, the scientists at the University of Florida developed Gatorade to boost the performance of the Gators, their football team.

In 1967, for the first time in years, the Gators won the Orange Bowl.

Call it a coincidence, or it might have been influenced by other factors, like the new sports drink for the young athletes.

Football players during a game
Not the actual players – Gatorade may have led the Gators to their Orange Bowl win in 1967!

Are energy drinks and sports drinks the same?

No, energy drinks and sports drinks are not the same.

If I got a dollar for every time I heard this question…

It’s common to get the two types of drinks confused. Both are popular beverages in the sports industry, but they contain different ingredients and serve different purposes.

Let me make things clear for you.

Energy drinks like Red Bull and Bang are most suitable to give you a pick-me-up when you need an extra boost to perform at your best, or when you feel a bit tired.

You can think of them as lifestyle drinks but with functions.

So, they are there to boost energy and increase alertness. They also provide refreshment and taste good, which is a big part of the reason that so many people like them.

Energy drinks are often high in caffeine and other energy-boosting ingredients. Plus, there are varying amounts of sugar in different brands of energy drinks.

Plenty of energy drinks are sugar-free.

Sports drinks, on the other hand, are beverages that are made specifically for exercise and sports purposes. Popular brands include Gatorade and Powerade.

These drinks often contain some sugar and electrolytes to increase energy supply to muscles and reduce workout stress.

The drinks also replace the lost sodium and electrolyte minerals from sweating.

So, you could say they work best for rehydration of the body during and after training or game.

Are sports drinks better than water?

Yes, sports drinks are better than water in certain situations.

To be clear, in most situations, water is the best choice. However, on occasion, sports drinks may actually do a better job of replenishing what you’ve lost and helping you to rehydrate at the same time.

While both share the same purpose: to cure dehydration, research has proven that sports drinks are better than water, after long, intense, sweaty training sessions.

A woman drinking water from a bottle in a locker room
Keep yourself properly hydrated after every session!

Here are some signs that you may be dehydrated:

  • thirst
  • fatigue
  • high pulse rate
  • muscle cramps

For most people, they’ll reach for a more natural drink to get rehydrated. But, sports drinks are made of additional ingredients that water cannot provide on its own.

Some of these ingredients are:

Now, don’t get it wrong. Water should be your first choice, but there are times when your body needs more than what water can offer.

If you’ve been through intense workouts that lasted more than 45 minutes, sports drinks might be better to replenish the lost sodium in your body.

A quick reminder: sports drinks contain sugar. Sometimes they contain lots of sugar.

So, if you’re on a strict low-calorie diet, make sure to go for one with less sugar.

If you’re not going through intense workouts and just want to quench your thirst post-workout, water is probably the better option.

What drinks are good for hydration?

Here are some drinks that are good for hydration.

Check this out!

When you sweat during workouts, training or games, your body loses electrolytes.

Electrolytes are minerals that aid muscle contraction, hydration, pH balance, and nerve functions.

These drinks are rich in electrolytes and will do wonders to replenish your lost electrolytes.

Best Energy Drink for Sports

There are a lot of good options out there, but the following drinks are presented in no particular order. I think they are all decent choices for sports.

XS Energy Drink

XS Energy Drink is a good choice for both sportsmen and women. It contains only 80mg of caffeine, which is a good amount.

When it comes to caffeine, anywhere between 50-100mg is sensible in my opinion.

There’s 10 calories in XS and it’s sugar-free. That’s an ideal amount if you’re observing a strict diet.

XS Energy Drink
XS contains a good blend of caffeine and has no sugar.

In fact, XS lets you have more choices in terms of flavors and caffeine content.

It comes in 18 exciting flavors, incuding 2 caffeine-free ones. You can mix things up in your diet plan, so that you won’t get bored.

My main issue with XS is that it’s not very affordable. Actually, it’s usually quite expensive.

Mio Energy Water Enhancer

Mio is a liquid concentrate that you mix into water or sparkling water.

The best part of Mio is that you get to control the amount of the enhancer you put into the water.

Every squeeze amounts to 60mg of caffeine and that’s all there is to it – simple.

There’s no calories or sugar in Mio.

Mio Water Enhancer flavors
A nice variety of flavors to explore!

Mio boasts two different product lines- the regular energy enhancer and the coffee flavors.

There are three types of Mio to enhance normal water. You’ve got the Water Enhancer, Mio Energy, and Mio Vitamins.

REIZE (10 out of 10)

REIZE has all your athletic needs covered in one drink. It’s a convenient powdered energy drink that you can mix with water or a beverage of your choice – really convenient to take with you anywhere you need it.

There’s 50mg of caffeine and only 11 calories per serving. That makes it ideal if you’re on a strict meal plan.

Also, drinking REIZE won’t result in a sugar crash afterwards as it’s sugar-free.

REIZE is also rich in taurine, ginseng, and B vitamins. So, you’ll be getting the nutrients you need for an enhanced athletic performance.

REIZE Energy drink sachet and mixed drink
REIZE makes a great sports companion for life.

REIZE is a convenient and versatile beverage that will be a nice addition to your sports training or competing.

As far as value for money goes, REIZE is very hard to beat. It ships right to your door for only about $1 per drink, that’s with shipping already included.

Incredibly good value.

Give REIZE a try today and you might also find it to be the best energy drink for sports by far.

Last Updated on

Marty Spargo

I started my own energy drink brand in 2014 and am passionate about educating people about energy drinks so that they can properly understand the ingredients, benefits and risks without being influenced by the marketing messages put out by some brands. You can read my full bio here.

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