ENERGY drinks and shots _ Happy Hour for Endurance Athletes!

Hi all! Recently the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published an article entitled, International society of sports nutrition position stand: energy drinks and energy shots (Jagim et al. 2023). Check it out if you want all the details about what your beverages contain… in the next few days, I will provide some short summaries.

To start… what do you drink before or during challenging endurance sessions or competitions?!? Grad your beverage choices and evaluate the specific ingredients.

Energy drinks (ED) are ready-to-drink functional beverages sold in 12-16 fluid ounce sizes while energy shots (ES) are a similar more concentrated ready-to-drink beverage (gel) sold in 2-5 fluid ounces.

These products are formulated to enhance and support exercise performance when you consume them during or just prior to exercise.

Energy drinks can enhance acute aerobic exercise performance, largely influenced by the amount of caffeine (> 200 mg or >3 mg∙kg) in the beverage.

  • consuming 10-60 minutes before exercise can improve lower body power production, mental focus, alertness, anaerobic performance, and/or endurance performance with doses >3 mg∙kg

  • potential additive benefits of other nutrients remains to be determined

  • foods and beverages containing naturally occurring caffeine do not need to label that the product contains caffeine

  • full ingredient disclosure (type and amount) is not required if labeled a supplement

populations with warnings:

  • adolescents (aged 12-18) should exercise caution and seek parental guidance when considering the consumption particularly in excessive amounts (> 400 mg)
  • not recommended for children (aged 2-12), those who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding and those who are sensitive to caffeine
  • individuals with diabetes or with preexisting cardiovascular, metabolic, hepatorenal, and/or neurologic disease who are taking medications that may be affected by high glycemic load foods, caffeine, and/or other stimulants should exercise caution and consult with their physician prior to consuming.

It is essential to note that the primary ergogenic nutrients that affect mental and/or physical performance based on scientific evidence appear to be caffeine and/or the carbohydrate percentage.


I use Citrulline Malate an hour before a hard workout and will be experimenting this year as I concentrate on TT’s. Caffeine gives me erratic heartbeats so I avoid this.

The basic energy drink: coffee. The rest is junk. There’s no science behind most of the drinks and many are a total waste of money. It’s like drinking Cike (yes, the brand) vice drinking orange juice vice drinking sugar water. Orange juice won.

Years ago in the German cycling magazine “Tour” there was a recipe for an energy drink, which varied in carbs depending on the temperature. It is essentially maltodextrin with a bit of salt and I add some Torani syrup for flavour. Cheap, simple and effective. For rides of less than 90 minutes or so, I use The Canadian Edge: water, lemon juice, salt, maple syrup!


Unless you add sugar and/or cream to your coffee, it provides negligible energy.

Stimulus, perhaps, but not energy.


Sounds pretty similar to the one I found in an old book: The Cyclist’s Food Guide: Fueling For The Distance:
Dissolve four spoons of sugar and a pinch of salt in a little bit of (hot) water. Add two or three freshly pressed oranges, dilute that with cold water (about 1:7) and off you go. Haven’t bought energy drinks since.


@coach.jinger.g Cafe Americano pre-event along with a little pre-event plain water hydration and then usually Scratch Lemon & Lime mixed with water during the event.

For longer events - like 6 hours - I might use the Scratch cluster dextrin product to start just to make sure I get enough calories up front and then solid food the rest of the way.

1 Like