Nutrition is important! It has been called the 4th discipline in triathlon (or is that transitions… I guess it just depends on what topic at hand is at the current moment). It really does play a huge roll how your race will turn out. Just ask Jonathan Brownlee…
— World Triathlon (@worldtriathlon) September 19, 2016
One of my mainstay in the nutrition department over the last few years has been the Skratch Labs hydration mix. I knew I liked the stuff, but I didn’t realize how important it was until my race at the OBX triathlon. I had run out and ordered some more, but it didn’t get to me in time for the race. In the hustle and bustle of getting ready for a vacation/ race, I didn’t get the chance to get some on my way out of town. No place locally had any, so I had to settle for swinging by Walmart and getting some Gatorade.
I knew from experience that the flavor and calories of Gatorade didn’t sit too well with me, so I mixed it a little lighter than the directions call for. About 8 miles into the bike I realized why I stayed away from the stuff… I started to get a bit of gas and even threw up a little at one point. I won’t go into any more detail than that. Let’s just leave it with the fact that I was very uncomfortable for the next 16 miles.
I learned my lesson. Nothing new on race day. Gatorade isn’t new… but I know it doesn’t work for me and since I hadn’t been using it in my training, it might as well have been. One thing I do know is that I think everyone should give Skratch a try. Here’s 4 reasons why:
- It’s simple
You can come at this from whatever direction you want. Non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, kosher, whatever. I don’t really care about all that. What I care about is that there isn’t much that goes into it. It may be hard to read the ingredients, but it really is just sugar, electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium), and flavoring from real fruit… which leads us to our next point…
- It’s real
This is the core of what Skratch Labs is all about. They only deal with real stuff. Just poke around their site and social media and you will see. The are huge advocates for eating real food while you exercise, and this philosophy goes into the hydration too. They use real fruit to flavor their mix. The packaging even has a warning that, yes, you will see little floaties in your drink that won’t fully dissolve. Those are pieces of dehydrated fruit. But don’t worry, you really don’t notice them when you are drinking it.
- It’s low calorie
Like I said, Skratch is all about eating real food. That mean eating real food while you exercise too. That means getting your calories from the stuff you eat, not the stuff you drink. I think that’s why Gatorade doesn’t sit well with me. The other plus of this being low calorie is that for shorter workouts where you don’t need anything to eat, you can still get your electrolytes without getting extra calories. You can’t do that with Gatorade.
- It’s easy on the stomach
Part of this is a byproduct of not trying to force carbs into your drink. The other part is that the team at Skratch really did their research when it comes to how your body absorbs water. The electrolytes are the perfect proportion to help your body absorb as much water as it can. This is really important because you really shouldn’t have to take any extra supplements. There is enough to think about in a race without complicating your nutrition with more stuff.
- It tastes great
This is one of the biggest points. If it doesn’t taste good, you won’t drink it… which can be bad on race day. Thankfully, Scratch tastes like real fruit… because it is made from real fruit! There are 5 different flavors to choose from including the hot version, apples and cinnamon. I’m sure you can find one that you like.
In the end, Skratch really ticks off all the boxes. It may not be as cheap as Gatorade, but you get what you pay for!
What do you use for your hydration? Why? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!