Silence. That's all Dr. Allen Lim heard when he knew he had arrived at a solution. No longer were his Garmin riders complaining of the headaches and bloated stomachs that had plagued them for so long. Lim had spent countless hours mixing formulas in buckets to create not a product, but a solution that was informally dubbed Secret Drink Mix, or SDM. Why a secret? Because word had spread through the peloton that Lim had perfected a hydration solution that was effective and delicious, and it led to many pros pouring out the electrolyte-heavy, overly sweetened beverages provided by their sponsors and replacing it with Lim's contraband. Fortunately for us, the secret is out, and Lim is offering this pro-developed and battle-tested solution to the world. It's now called the Exercise Hydration Mix, from Lim's Boulder, Colorado-based Skratch Labs.
Unlike many sports drinks, which are formulated around electrolyte or caloric replenishment during physical exertion, the Exercise Mix focuses on keeping your body's sodium levels carefully regulated. Lim discovered that the rampant headaches plaguing his pro riders were not induced by a lack of fluids, but rather, a lack of sodium -- a very typical symptom of dehydration. Essentially, your kidneys regulate fluid retention based on the body's concentration of sodium. When sodium concentration is high, your body is forced to hold on to that fluid to dilute it. But when your sodium levels get too low (ie: through sweat loss), the opposite happens and your kidneys must expel that fluid.
Lim's mix is designed to keep your body's sodium balance carefully regulated, maintaining hydration while also slowing diuresis. With diuresis slowed, you'll be able to pre-hydrate and drink more before a race without needing to make those three inopportune bathroom breaks right before your call-up. If these concepts around a sodium-based formula sound familiar, that's because they are -- Lim's drink mix contains nearly four times the amount of sodium in many convenience-store sports drinks, putting it on par with emergency-grade rehydration salt formulas like Pedialyte, and those used by the World Health Organization to combat severe dehydration.
The athletes that helped Lim develop the Exercise Mix weren't just complaining of headaches. They were also suffering from severe stomach bloating and flavor fatigue. The second half of Lim's solution was to ensure his drink was easy and pleasurable to consume day in and day out. To accomplish this, every ingredient from the Exercise Mix is naturally occurring or naturally sourced from real fruit, which ensures you're not putting anything in your body that's been chemically formulated or enhanced. In short, if it wasn't here on this earth before you were, Dr. Lim and his team refused to use it.
The ingredients are: sucrose, glucose, sodium citrate, potassium citrate, calcium citrate, magnesium citrate, freeze dried fruit, citric acid (a natural preservation agent from pure lime juice), and ascorbic acid. Notice the pronounced absence of the 'natural flavors' found in so many other sports drinks. Part of what makes the Exercise Mix so uniquely palatable even during prolonged periods of exercise and constant re-hydration is the lack of a savoring agent. Generally, chemically-derived flavoring agents like those ominous 'natural flavors' tend to remain on your palate, causing flavor fatigue, and in larger doses, wreak havoc on your gut.
The Exercise Mix uses real lemons, limes, oranges, and raspberries, which are freeze-dried and pounded into powder. This creates a refreshing, super-clean flavor that's easy on your stomach without a lingering aftertaste that wears out its welcome halfway into your race. It means you're not just getting a 'flavor' of lemon or orange, you're getting actual lemons and oranges in the mix. This is one of the many fundamental breakthroughs behind the Skratch Labs drink mixes. Whether you're staying hydrated during a 24-hour endurance race, or re-hydrating after a grueling criterium, they simply taste great.
Lim and his team created two drink mixes, optimizing each for different levels of physical exertion. This Exercise Hydration Mix has a slightly higher salt content, making it Skratch Labs' on-bike mix, best used for periods when your heart rate is up and you're sweating. Because this mix has a supremely high absorption rate and is not a natural diuretic, it's excellent as a preventative measure against dehydration while you ride, when you stop at an aid station, or immediately after your workout or race, because you can drink a larger volume of it at a time without painful bloating. This is due in part to the drink's exceptionally low levels of acidity, and lack of chemically-enhanced flavors.
The Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix is available in Lemon Lime, Orange, or Raspberry. Each one-pound package should provide approximately twenty (23 grams dry), 500ml servings.
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I live and ride in Okinawa, Japan, a tropical island with extremely high heat and humidity. I've been looking for an alternative to calorie-laden sports drinks that I typically can't drink enough of to stay hydrated. With Skratch Labs, I've been able to significantly increase my performance, particularly on long efforts and I recover better as well.
I am primarily a shorter distance runner. I have previously used Nuun, but I wanted something with carbs in it to help absorption. Plus I wanted something a bit more natural.
Skratch ticks all of these boxes - tastes great, and has the right ingredients. I primarily use it post workout/race, when I know I won't be able to eat for a period of time afterwards. In the past I have had issues with 'woozy head' after hard efforts (usually from lack of food), and skratch hydration has minimized this for me.
I bought the raspberry and the flavor is tasty without being overwhelming or sugary. Electrolyte combo is great for hydration and keeping you tuned up and in the game. In my humble opinion, this is the best sports drink to date. I wish the quantity available for purchase was larger than 1 pound.
Between using a lot of different drink mixes that I thought were worth the strong taste, after using Skratch I realized what I was missing: Something that works WITH great taste. Allen Lim, the creator of Skratch, designed a product that contains minimal carbs and no protein in it like some of the drinks you've been drinking recently, but you just have to try it. I'm a believer in eating your calories instead of drinking them, especially after reading through some of Dr. Lim's books. You'll find this drink to be light on taste and not overpowering. It's something you can drink all day long if you prefer which I can't say the same for other sports drinks. You can't go wrong with any of the flavors. Lime and Raspberry are my go to's, and mixing them 50/50 makes for a secret mix that Dr. Lim claims is 50% faster than you.
I've never been a fan of heavy, syrupy sports drinks, but those have traditionally been the most readily available source of on the bike hydration aside from some high quality H20. Fortunately, I was turned on to Scratch labs about a year ago by some coworkers in my LBS, and have been loving it ever since. The all natural ingredients are simple, effective, and easy on the palate. I only wish they came in something bigger than a 1 pound bag.
i have been using the skratch labs drink mix for the last few months and love it. Its just the right combo of cabs and electrolytes to not upset your stomach while working out. It also has a very subtle taste that is refreshing. The raspberry is my favorite :)
I love Skratch labs. One time using their product was a revelation for me. I took it out on a 20 mile mountain bike ride and sipped on it through out the day. My pee was clear all day long. I've also used it after I come back from long rides and it hydrates me right up. I really like the pineapple flavor but be warned don't let it sit in your water bottle for a few days because it will ferment.
I like Skratch labs hydration mix when I'm on the bike, hiking a trail, out for a run, or digging jumps in my backyard. It is damn tasty. With that being said, some times you need a little 'somethin'-something' after a ride and Skratch labs not only hydrates but lifts your spirits when mixed with tequila. Get on it for your next team party, you'll thank me later when your are sipping on Skratch-aritas.
Great product, all flavors are great, mild, and not overpowering. This provides great active hydration during exercise or after a night of one too many hop sodas. Honestly, I will not go back to any sort of sugary hydration beverage after using Skratch.
I have tried alot of hydration drinks and I did put off Skratch for a long time b/c of price. I finally relented and I'm glad I did. I am the "camel" in my riding circle. I don't drink alot which always comes back to bite me. I wasn't sure if it was b/c the hydration mixes I tried in past tasted bad or what. I do know that when the drink gets hotter in the summer I tend to avoid drinking more. With Skratch that is not the case. I can still swig the entire bottle in 100 deg weather. The taste is muted; not sugary. No after taste. Light and digests well. That is another issues I had with other drinks...upset stomach. Not with Skratch. Digests easy. Also, you hear about only drink this with "our bars", etc. I have tried Skratch with all kinds of gels, bars, etc. None have caused any problems. Feel free to eat, drink what every you want with Skratch.
***update: I tried the hot version. Best advice - get near boiling water/very hot and mix well before your ride. Let cool while you get ready for ride and viola its great on a cold ride. Take cold at your own risk. Taste falls apart cold but thats not what its made for.
Before I was finished with with the package I was ready to go back to my previous hydration methods. Not to say that Skratch labs isn't an innovator in sport nutrition. The amount per $ and hassles just didn't outweigh any gains from this product (Not noticeable) . I assume the packaging, brand, and "science" that goes into this product is what raises its price. Not ready to go broke over drink mix yet. Note to R&D getting the mix out of the pouch, can barely get my hand in to scoop. As others say, the mix does not totally dilute which, raises some questions to a shaved legged neanderthal such as myself and the sealing mechanism is not for someone who's in a hurry to get on the road. Peace out Skratch Mix... See you when and if I hit the big leagues.
This stuff is not overpowering like many other options out there. It's is easy to drink, but most importantly it helps with hydration without causing cramps or emergency Duces. Tastes much better over ice. All flavors are great for cycling and back packing
So much better than the crap sports drinks out there. Love the Skratch stuff over those sticky and sweet drinks, and I like it better than NUUN (not that they are bad) because there isn't any fizzy-ness to it. I find it super easy to digest, a 1-lb package goes a long way. Lemon-lime is my fave; the raspberry one has too many particles that don't dissolve.
As the temperature starting raising this year I realized I needed to refocus my attention to hydration and decided to try this out. I've gone through 1 package of the Orange flavor and am very happy with this choice. I will now purchase the other flavors and see how the flavors compare. My only complaint is that the mix doesn't fully dissolve into the water, so it has a slightly grainy texture. This hasn't bothered me much, but I do like to bring some water with me as well to rinse my mouth out occasionally.
i'm new to road biking and experimented with gatorade, gu energy drink, and nuun. i thought they were all either too sweet, fizzy, or fake tasting. skratch labs is my favorite by a long shot. it's a mild taste, not too sweet, and never irritates my stomach. it's perfect and way better than water.
This mix is awesome. I started out drinking it while running and training for motorcycle racing and it worked so well that I ended up using it for the races themselves. It's light on the stomach too, which is an added bonus since most drinks cause issues during a two hour, flat out race and there was no crash afterwards either. The only issue I've had with the drink is that it didn't mix up completely with the water and the "grit" that was left had to be cleaned out of the hose on my hydration bladder, other than that it's a solid product that will be a permanent fixture of my training/racing life.
This stuff is legit... it doesn't have any of the garbage that most drink mixes have but it also has good flavor (unlike Acclimate or other products based on similar science). This stuff got me through my first 24 hour mountain bike race last weekend... I almost went through an entire bag and I'm still not sick of it!
I have been using this all fall and have yet to get the dreaded bloat. I live in climbing central, so I have had every chance overload on this stuff, but in the end my stomach has continued to smile. I am looking forward to using it on longer range road and mtn rides this spring.