Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix

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Manufacturer Description

Our 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.

Features

  • Actual fruit for flavor
  • A light and clean taste profile
  • All natural ingredients
  • No artificial “anything”
  • Optimal sodium for exercise
  • Less sugar and more electrolytes
  • Nutritional Facts (from Lemons and Limes flavor)
    • Serving size – 11 g (8 oz prepared)
    • Calories – 40
    • Fat – 0 g
    • Sodium – 120 mg
    • Potassium – 20 mg
    • Total Carbohydrates – 10 g
      • Sugars – 9 g
  • Protein – 0 g
  • Vitamin C – 15%
  • Calcium – 2%
  • Magnesium – 4%
  • Currently available in four flavors – lemons and limes, oranges, raspberries, and pineapple
  • Retail – $19.50 for 1 pound (about 40 servings)

YMMV Review

Skratch Labs is a relatively new company, at least to the public. I was once called the secret drink mix as it was used by different professionals in the cycling world. The company was started by Allen Lim and his experience with working on different teams in the Pro Peloton. He made these drink mixes from scratch as the ones readily available were laden with artificial ingredients. After plenty of testing in the real world and feedback from the professionals, Skratch Labs was born to bring this to the public.

With this drink mix, they have also created a cookbook to help you feed yourself better too. This is how I initially stumbled across the brand. I bought the cookbook and had been using for some time when I heard that the drink mix mentioned inside was going to be available. I bought a couple to test it out and was able to get some more from Skratch Labs after the OR show in August. While nutrition is a tough nut to crack for me, I am open to new products in order to find what will work.

4 Flavors in 1lb Bags - Click to See Larger
4 Flavors in 1lb Bags – Click to See Larger

Testing

I used Skratch Labs Hydration Mix on some of my training for and during the Leadman Bend Race. I used it on rides ranging from 30 to 100 miles and runs ranging from 5 to 13 miles. The temperatures during my training varied greatly as they always do in Bend, being between 40 and 100 degrees during my testing.

Design ★★★★☆

Ingredients (60%) ★★★★★

Storage (20%) ★★★☆☆

Sustainability (20%) ★★★☆☆

What is great about the Exercise Hydration Mix is that it has been made by natural ingredients. I really mean natural too, if it is orange flavored, they use real bits of orange to flavor it. A novel concept I know. This mix is what was once affectionately known as the “Secret Drink Mix.” That is because riders who were under sponsorship to drink other brands would secretly use this instead. Of course, their overall goal was to perform their best and to do that they needed to hydrate and fuel properly. If one drink leaves you feeling poor on the bike and another makes you feel much better, then of course you will want the best chance to succeed. This is just as important for amateur athletes as well. Most are not sponsored so there is no need to be secret, but I think all are looking for what works best for them.

My story is along those lines. I like the build up and challenge of long distance endurance races but have had issues with my stomach agreeing with my nutrition choices. For Ironman, they say it is the fourth discipline as it really has to be mastered like any other part of the race. Nutrition can make or break a race. Now nutrition generally means a lot more than just your drink of choice. Depending on the length of the activity and your calorie needs you may need more than just hydration. Ultimately, though you need to start here as it is first most important.

The Exercise Hydration Mix has been designed to optimize hydration and replace important electrolytes lost. This is not just reserved to sports, but really any activity where you are sweating. How it differs from your standard sports drink is that there is less sugar and more electrolytes. This sounds really simple but there is more. The mix has been made with all natural ingredients. Some say that if the furnace is hot enough it will burn anything, but others will say that depending on the fuel you use you get similar performance. With this idea in mind, none of the ingredients are artificial. This should allow your body to process them better and more efficiently. Even looking at the ingredient lists you can see and recognize almost everything. The only things that might not be recognized would be the mineral formulations themselves. As with any sports drink it is important not just to replace water loss but also the important electrolytes that support proper muscle, brain, and body functioning. The very fuels that help our cells function. While not having proper water intake can drastically hurt a race or training session, so can lack of electrolytes.

The Skratch Labs Exercise Drink Mix has optimal sodium for proper replenishment during exercise. The mix also has potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These four electrolytes make up the important minerals you lose and need to perform your best. The other part of any drink mix that is very important is taste. If you do not like it, you will not drink it and therefore, not rehydrate enough. The mixes are currently available in four flavors: lemons and limes, raspberries, oranges, and pineapples. These mixes have a light and clean taste profile that has been flavored by actual fruit. This fruit not only gives it the flavor but also the color, like I said there is nothing artificial even coloring.

The Exercise Drink Mix is available in bulk packaging as well as smaller single serving packets. This allows you to either keep a bunch in the cupboard at home or have more convenient packs that can be carried with you and used on the move. Of course using single serving packets does create more waste and does cost more per serving.

Since Skratch Labs is a newer company, there is not much out there about their corporate initiatives or practices in regard to sustainability. I am impressed that they use only natural ingredients for their mixes. They also fully support alternative forms of transportation and just getting out and being active, which is something I think most of us would agree with.

Single Packs - Click to See Larger
Single Packs – Click to See Larger

Performance ★★★½☆

Ease of Use (20%) ★★★½☆

Hydration (40%) ★★★★☆

Taste (40%) ★★★½☆

Now just because the drink mix has good ingredients and is all natural does not mean it will work. It seems like every nutritional item on the market comes with grandiose claims and almost always lets you down either a little or a lot. The other thing to note about any nutritional item is that it is very subjective. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. I tend to have a stomach that is a pain in the butt so not much has worked for me when I go long.

Using the Exercise Drink Mix for dozens of rides and runs I feel like I have been able to get a good feel for how it works for me. I have not been able to entirely pinpoint what works best for me, but I do know that this does not cause me any stomach distress. I still must admit that all the different data on how many calories you should consume and how many electrolytes you need for certain activities still confuse me. Even with that I can say that in instances where I only used the drink mix, I felt good. By itself, I generally used it up to two hours before I started adding food and that is where the real challenge begins and any distress I did feel while using the mix can be traced back to a poor food choice. At least for me.

What I did really like is the taste. I normally like stronger drinks and I was surprised I liked the lighter taste of this so much. The light taste made them much more palatable, especially on longer rides or when they warmed up. In hot weather, I had to carry so many bottles that it was inevitable that I would have some of my bottles warm up. Even warm the taste was descent. Don’t get me wrong, a cold bottle is much better, but at least I could drink these when warm. There are others that are barely drinkable when warm. All four flavors tasted good, but my favorite is the pineapple flavor. I know this is totally subjective, so I will not touch on it too much.

My primary testing was with the single-serving packets which obviously made it really easy to use. Not only did I not have to measure, but I could take those with me on training rides and races. I would not want to have them for all my uses as they are a bit wasteful for making bottles at home but being able to have them in a jersey pocket is great. Skratch Labs also sells some storage bottles for storing bulk mix at home with a little style.

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall, I really liked the Exercise Hydration Mix. Not only did I like the fact that it is all natural but also that it worked for me. The flavors are not too much and really taste like the actual fruit because that is what is used to provide the flavor. I do admit that nutrition still confuses me, especially when it comes to how many calories and electrolytes I need for a long race or training session. I will continue to work on that and what I can possibly use for my caloric needs, but I do think that the Exercise Drink Mix will be my hydration of choice for next year’s races. If you are like me and still looking for the best combination for you, I would definitely recommend giving the Exercise Drink Mix a try. Get some single-serving packets in each flavor and put it to the test for yourself, I do not think you will be disappointed. The mix retails for $19.50 for a pound or $1.95 for a single-serving packet. Of course, there are other options as well. I must say this is one of my favorites, but as always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • All natural ingredients
  • Flavored and colored by real fruit
  • Full electrolyte profile
  • Light taste that tastes good even when warm
  • Single serve packets are great for filling up on the go

Cons

  • Still confused about electrolytes & calorie needs, Skratch Labs take on this just adds another wrinkle into the many opinions on this (Note this is nothing against the actual mix)

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Adventures

  • Leadman Bend Epic 250 Triathlon

About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

2 Responses to “Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix”

  1. Scratch Labs is my personal favorite sports drink. Since I first tried it my workouts have truly improved. However, my local tri shop doesn’t carry their daily mix. Have you tried it? I’m really curious if it’s as good as this formula?

    In general, thank you for your honest reviews, as opposed to the “this is amazing” for everything you test.

    • Hello Riley,

      Thanks for visiting the site. Glad you liked it. Yeah the Skratch Labs Hydration Drink Mix is a great option. I have also tried the Everyday Mix, but only a couple times. Like the Hydration Mix, it tastes like lemons and limes which I really liked. It was also interesting that they put more electrolytes into the Everyday Mix, I would have suspected the opposite. As far as how it worked for me I did not have enough of it to give it a good test. I only had three servings so it is hard to make a good judgement. I liked the flavor much better than Nuun All Day, I can say that.
      Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy you liked the reviews. I try to give a true representation of the product. Of course it is subjective, but I am glad to hear when people like them.

      JJ

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