Exercise Hydration Mix by Skratch Labs
Skratch Labs - Exercise Hydration Mix Oranges - 1 lb. (454g)
Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix Oranges is an all-natural sports drink. It replaces both the fluid and electrolytes you lose in sweat while providing just enough calories to help fuel working muscles. Flavored only with real fruit and containing no artificial colors or preservatives, their drink mix won't upset your stomach, leave a bad taste in your mouth, or challenge your IQ with tongue twisting chem-lab ingredients. It just works better. Maybe that's why, for years for athletes have been secretly replacing their sponsors' products with drink mix made from Skratch. You Sweat. They Hydrate.
Only real fruit for flavor
A light and clean taste profile
No artificial "anything"
Less calories and more electrolytes
Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix, also known as "Secret Drink Mix", was developed and tested in the field with athletes competing in races like the Tour de France. For years, athletes would secretly dump their sponsors' drinks to replace it with ours, earning the name SDM from the pros who used it. Those athletes will tell you that they felt better, performed better, and didn't experience the bloating and stomach issues that they did with other sports or electrolyte drinks. The secret was that our drink just worked better. And now that the secret is out, everyone can use this exercise drink mix to optimize hydration - whether cycling, running, skiing, clubbing, or heck, whenever you're sweating.
How and why was Skratch created?
Skratch originally began in 2008 when Dr. Allen Lim got tired of his athletes complaining about their sports drinks, because think about it: Would you wan't to listen to pro athletes complain all the time? Didn't think so.
At the time, Lim was working with the Garmin Professional Cycling team as their Director of Sport Science preparing them for the Tour de France. He noticed that many of his riders were watering down their sports drinks to make them more tolerable. Unfortunately, diluting a sports drink also dilutes the electrolytes in it and since the whole point of a sports drink is to replace everything you lose in sweat, the diluted drinks were not working for the riders.
Literally starting from scratch, Lim began making different formulations in his kitchen. After hundreds of recipes, he finally hit on something that all the riders loved. Skratch has everything you need to replace what you lose in sweat and, just as importantly, nothing you don't. Compared to almost any other sports drink on the market, Skratch has fewer calories, more electrolytes, and nothing but actual fruit for flavor.
Initially, Dr. Lim just made the mix for athletes he was coaching, but demand grew rapidly by word of mouth so much so that in February of 2012 Lim partnered with a group of close friends to officially launch Skratch Labs here in Boulder, Colorado.
The first ingredient is sugar- what's up with that?
They have been taught that sugar is bad for us. I know that because they keep getting asked this question about sugar. But if you lead an active lifestyle, sugar is pretty important.
In small amounts during exercise, sugar is absolutely one of the most important and ergogenic* substances out there. Not only is having some calories critical for maintaining blood glucose and exercise performance, a little bit of real sugar paired with sodium significantly enhances the rate of water absorption through the small intestine. This is why clinically based oral rehydration solutions developed by the World Health Organization contain sugar and glucose just like Skratch- it hydrates you better. Which is kind of a good quality to have in a product designed to do just that.
Sugar free may be great if you're sitting on your butt all day, but if you're working hard and sweating, a bit of sugar will improve your performance significantly.
*(Just in case you're anything like the guy transcribing these answers, "ergogenic" means: an external influence that can be determined to enhance performance in high-intensity exercises." And that's straight outta Wikipedia so you know it has to be true. I mean, it's not like anyone can just add any information they want, right?)
Ultimately, what's bad for us when we are sitting on the couch can be extremely performance enhancing when we are active. So if you're not sweating and working hard, don't use their Exercise Hydration Drink Mix- that word "Exercise" is in there for a reason. But if you are sweating you need to put back both the water and the electrolytes you're losing and can best do that with a drink that contains a little bit of sugar and plenty of sodium.
Can I just drink water?
Yes, of course. Water is fine if the activity is short, the temperature is moderate and sweat rates are low. But remember that sweat isn't just water, it's also made up of electrolytes, especially sodium. That means if you're just drinking water, you're not putting back everything you're losing.
In the heat, during prolonged exercise, at moderate to heavy sweat rates there is no situation where drinking water alone is better than a sports drink that contains a little bit of sugar and plenty of sodium like the Exercise Hydration Mix from Skratch Labs.
When we sweat we lose water, sodium and other electrolytes. Sodium is critical to the proper function of every cell in our body. When our body's sodium levels get too low, something called hyponatremia can occur. This leads to a host of problems like headaches, a drop in performance, muscle spasms, nausea, seizures and, in extreme cases, even death. One of the easiest ways to drop our sodium levels (bad) is to drink plain water when we are sweating heavily during exercise. Why? Water dilutes the blood because sodium is already being lost through sweat and performance will drop off significantly.
Ultimately, your sweat contains a lot of sodium, (200-400mg per 500ml). Using a drink that doesn't contain sodium while the body is losing sodium can be an extremely dangerous situation. Thus, a drink with a sodium content similar to what you lose in sweat along with a little bit of sugar to help transport water and help maintain blood sugar levels is always better than water alone during strenuous exercise in the heat. Make sense? You have to replace everything you're losing, not just the water.
Why do I cramp? How do I stop cramping?
Cramps can happen because of muscle fatigue, because of an electrolyte disturbance, and because of dehydration. There are plenty of models showing that all are potentially valid mechanisms for exercise-induced cramping. Sometimes it's just one of these factors. Often times, it's a combination of factors. Training better, drinking more, keeping electrolyte intakes high are all important to prevent cramping. There is also some evidence that tickling the back of one's throat with something like 4 to 6 ounces of pickle juice can induce an oropharyngeal reflex that can override the reflex which causes a cramp. I've never tried it, but it can't hurt.
Everyone knows they can die of dehydration. But how much can performance really suffer after just small losses of fluids?
The prevailing thought is that as little as a 2% loss of body fluids can significantly affect aerobic performance. There are over 28 published studies demonstrating decrements in performance that show dehydration in the range of 2 to 4% of total body weight can impair performance anywhere from 7 to 44% when measured as time to exhaustion, work done, or peak exercise performance. That all said, there's probably more at play here than just dehydration or a loss of body weight. In fact, simply being thirsty, regardless of change in body weight due to dehydration, can also impair performance. Furthermore, in practice, many athletes competing in real world conditions can maintain a high level of performance even with a significant loss of body fluid (up to 10% loss). In my own experience, if I could encourage athletes to drink enough to not lose more than 3% of their body weight, they were able to maintain a relatively high level of performance.
What's the scoop with the 'scoop'?
While they do their best to make sure there is a scoop included inside of every bag they sell sometimes they make mistakes. It's also not unheard of for a customer to lose their scoop. But don't worry, use your basic tablespoon to measure out 1.75TBS of Exercise Hydration Mix and add that to 16oz (500mL) of water. If you have a small scale, that will work as well if you remember that a single serving for 500ml equals 23grams.
How much Exercise Hydration Mix should I be drinking?
That is a tough question to answer because everyone is different. The right amount depends on not only the conditions (think temperature and humidity) and length and intensity (how long, how hard, how far) but also on the individual. One to two 500mL servings per hour is a good starting point and then experiment to see what works best for you. One way to check if you're drinking enough is to weigh yourself before and after a workout. If you're losing more than a 3% loss in total body weight, your performance is almost certainly suffering and you probably need to drink more.
Why doesn't Skratch dissolve 100% clear?
Because they use actual fruit for flavor instead of chemicals that taste like fruit. Any "floating stuff" you may see in your bottle is small bits of fruit pulp. Sometimes a trace amount of the electrolyte salts in Skratch may hang around the bottom of your bottle too, but just give it a little shake before taking a swig and drink up. They're good for you.
If you prefer a clear beverage try the Lemons and Limes. If you like a small amount of real fruit pulp/seed try the Raspberries or Pineapples.
How long will Skratch stay fresh? How do I need to store Skratch?
Because Skratch is all natural and they don't add any preservatives of any kind, their drink mix needs a little bit of TLC. Dry drink mix should be stored in a cool, dry place either in its zip top bag or in any other airtight glass or plastic container. Extreme heat and direct sunlight are like Kryptonite for Skratch, so don't keep it in your car or your tent in the middle of the Sahara. Once added to water, a good rule of thumb is to treat it like fruit juice. After mixing, it is ideal to drink it within the day and can be drunk warm without lessening its efficacy. If mixed and then kept in the fridge it will stay good for up to a week. You will know when you have let it hang around in your bottle too long, it will smell a little bit funky and your inner voice will tell you "don't drink that". Listen to your inner voice.
Does Skratch Labs contain Wheat/Gluten/Soy/Dairy?
No, Skratch Labs Exercise and Everyday mixes are free of wheat, gluten, soy and dairy.
Is Skratch Kosher?
The food plant in which Skratch is processed is Kosher approved by The Scroll K - Vaad Hakashurs of Denver.
About Skratch Labs
A few years ago, while working as a sport scientist and coach for a professional cycling team, I started making my own training food and sports drink from scratch for the cyclists I worked with because too many of the pre-packaged sports bars and drinks that were marketed or given to them were laden with artificial ingredients and literally making them sick to their stomach.
Instead of just accepting this as the norm, I decided to try a back to basics approach and began traveling around the world from hotel to hotel with a rice cooker and an electric frying pan so I could make the athletes I coached fresh food each morning at grueling events like the Tour de France.
I also started diluting their sports drinks to lower the sugar concentration while adding back extra salt and electrolytes to replace what was actually being lost in their sweat. Eventually, I started making a "secret drink mix" in my kitchen using a recipe with less sugar, more sodium, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors, with a simple and clean taste created by using real fruit.
Instead of making an "orange" drink, I made a drink with real oranges. Instead of making sweet syrupy bars, I made savory cakes with sushi rice. And it worked. The athletes stopped complaining about feeling sick, bloated, and nasty from the synthetic gut rot that normally plagued them. Most importantly, with better hydration and better fuel they started feeling and performing better.
But making drink mixes in my kitchen or assuming the role of a short order cook in cramped hotel rooms across the world only solved part of the problem. The bigger issue was teaching athletes fundamental life skills so that they could take better care of themselves all the time.
To start addressing some of those issues, I teamed up with Chef Biju Thomas and we wrote a cookbook called "The Feed Zone" to teach our riders how to cook fresh simple meals for themselves using real wholesome ingredients.
At the same time, word of our Secret Drink Mix was spreading fast and it was clear that the demand for our all natural drink mix and cookbook extended far beyond cyclists or endurance athletes. Racecar drivers, rock climbers, concerned parents, Peace Corps workers, and normal active individuals looking for healthy food and drink alternatives were buying our product and hungry for more knowledge and ideas.
To meet that demand, I've put together a team of close friends and we decided to let the secret out by opening a little shop in Boulder, Colorado called Skratch Labs. Our mission is simple - to develop and sell food and drink products based on real world science and practice that taste great, that are made from real ingredients, and that optimize performance for both sport and life. Most importantly, we intend to educate and to continue to learn and grow ourselves - to help our customers improve and thrive as they help us to do the same. We know we have a lot of work to do to fulfill this mission and we are the first to acknowledge that we are a work in progress - that things won't always be perfect. But there's no better time to start than now.