Healthy hydration is important 365 days a year, but it’s definitely more top of mind in the summertime. When the sun is at its strongest and temperatures peak, everything from yard work to even quick walks to your car can leave you dripping with sweat.
If you’ve been staying on top of your water consumption this summer, kudos to you. You might want to know, though, that your body actually needs more than just plain old H2O to stay properly hydrated, especially if you’re sweating buckets. It also requires electrolytes, a number of electrically-charged minerals that regulate muscle and nerve function, in part by balancing the amount of water inside and outside your cells.
While old-school sports drink ads would have you think only professional athletes and marathon runners need electrolytes, they’re important for everyone, especially for people who exercise regularly or eat low-carb diets. There are plenty of ways to get more of these important minerals into your body, but drink mixes specially formulated to support hydration are probably the most convenient (and tasty!). Whether you’re a heavy-sweater looking to replenish after tough workouts or just want to feel your best throughout long, demanding days, these drink mixes will keep your hydration levels topped off all summer (and year!) long.
Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier
When you need to take the express lane to hydration station, Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier is the fuel that’ll get you there quick. This unique formula contains a precise ratio of sodium, potassium, and glucose that, when combined with water, have an osmotic effect in the body that gets hydration into your bloodstream without it having to pass through your entire digestive system first. Liquid I.V. has a fancy name for this: Cellular Transport Technology (CTT)®️. Sounds pretty cool, right?
The single-serving sticks contain more electrolytes than your average sports drink, as well as a hearty dose of vitamin C and a bunch of B vitamins (B3, B5, B6, and B12, to be exact) to support energy production and immunity. Most-loved flavors include the Golden Cherry and Passion Fruit, but you really can’t go wrong.
And just in case you’re alarmed by the sodium content here (each serving contains 500 milligrams), know that, despite its bad rep, the electrolyte is a must-have for proper fluid balance in the body—and is particularly important for heavy sweaters. Research actually shows you can lose anywhere between 360 and 1,620 milligrams of sodium in a single workout. As such, Liquid I.V. is a great option for highly active people.
Available in seven crave-able flavors, including fan favorites Glacier Grape and Strawberry Yuzu, Kaged Hydra-Charge is a solid option for any active person looking to boost their hydration. Made with freeze-dried coconut water powder (which is known as nature’s sports drink), it contains about 350 total milligrams of electrolytes such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
On top of that, it includes a gram of taurine, an amino acid that can support endurance, cellular function, and even longevity. Hydra-Charge also keeps athletes’ antioxidant needs top of mind, with an impressive blend of 29 fruits and vegetables to support immune function.
Sweetened with stevia and sucralose, Kaged’s hydration drink mix keeps sugar low (less than a gram per serving) so you can scoop it into your shaker cup without having to worry about your intake of the sweet stuff.
Force Factor Liquid Labs
Whether you want to stay hydrated while traveling, bounce back after a late night, or replenish during workouts or hot days outside, Force Factor’s Liquid Labs hydration sticks can help you rehydrate at a rapid pace. The formula uses a small amount of cane sugar (just two grams per serving) and five key electrolytes to speed up absorption so you reap the benefits of healthy hydration fast.
Each serving contains 200 milligrams of sodium from Himalayan pink salt, a sea mineral complex sourced from marine red algae, vitamin C, and a few B vitamins (including a heaping dose of B12 to support healthy energy).
Relying on just that cane sugar plus stevia and natural flavors to make each sip as tasty as it is hydrating, you can feel good about Liquid Labs’ short and sweet ingredients list.
And if you really need an extra boost, opt for Liquid Labs Energy sticks (the Mango Margarita slays), which tack ginseng, green tea extract, and taurine onto the base formula for just enough of an energizing lift.
Skratch Labs Hydration Sport Drink Mix
Endurance sport enthusiasts and sweaty bootcamp class regulars alike will ditch overly sweet, artificially-flavored, crazy-colored sports drinks for good after a single training session with Skratch in their water bottles. Formulated by an exercise physiologist and pro cycling coach, Skratch Labs Hydration Sport Drink Mix takes a scientific approach to hydration.
Read More: 7 Signs You’re Dehydrated
On the electrolyte front, it contains a ratio of the minerals that matches what you sweat out during exercise to ensure you replace exactly what you need, which is why you’ll find 380 milligrams of sodium in a serving of mix. When it comes to sugar, Skratch combines glucose and fructose in a ratio that supports electrolyte absorption and contains just enough sugar to help you perform at your best (19 grams total per serving). And, as for flavor, actual fruit gets the job done; the Lemon Lime flavor uses just lemon oil, lime oil, lemon juice, and lime juice.
If you want to throw a little caffeine into the mix, opt for the Raspberry Limeade flavor, which sneaks in a sweet little 50 milligrams of caffeine from green coffee bean extract per serving.
Nuun has been killing the hydration game for years now, so chances are you’ve at least seen their trademark tubes of effervescent tablets at some point or another. The brand, which is Certified Climate Neutral and a Certified B Corporation, just keeps on leveling up its offering, so now there are a number of ways you can stay hydrated with Nuun—from those classic tabs to new drink mix packets.
Made with five essential electrolytes (including 360 milligrams of sodium) and stevia plus natural flavors for taste, the classic Sport Hydration tablets are a versatile option for active people who want to stay ahead of their hydration game, especially when working out. Their slight fizz makes these dissolving tablets fun to use and enjoyable to drink—and the tube is easy to stash in a gym bag or even your pocket. Plus, since they’re super-low in sugar (just a gram per serving), Nuun’s tablets are easy for just about anyone to incorporate into their routine.
If you’re not a fan of the fizz, the new Sport Hydration Electrolyte Powder Mix offers Nuun’s go-to formula in convenient single-serving packets that are completely bubble-free. Try them in Pink Lemonade or Strawberry Kiwi.
Yet another option: Nuun’s Immunity Daily Hydration tablets, which add vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, and a blend of ginger, elderberry, echinacea, and turmeric to the usual electrolyte formula to deliver robust immune support in addition to hydration.
Bucked Up IV Electrolytes & Hydration
Bucked Up is on a mission to keep dehydration from messing with your gains, which it sabotages by ramping up cravings, contributing to brain fog, and knocking performance down a notch. (Not to mention, it’s pretty much impossible to look swole when your muscles are flat from lack of H2O.) That’s where its IV Electrolytes & Hydration powder comes in.
A hearty amount of sodium (500 milligrams) from Himalayan rock salt and potassium provide basic electrolyte support, while B vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc show up to the party to help in the energy and immunity departments. Ten grams of sugar (from cane sugar) help those important nutrients get to where they need to go (like your muscles!) so you can keep hustling through your gym session and your day.
Whether you grab the Lemon Lime, Grape Frost, or Orange Pineapple, you’ll score big-time flavor made with natural flavors and stevia, which means no funky artificial flavor aftertaste and peace of mind as you grind.