Updated: Jul 25, 2022
It can be difficult to find a good energy drink for functional fitness athletes. You want one that will provide you with the necessary ingredients and nutrients, but at the same time avoid any unnecessary calories or sugars.
In this blog post, we will talk about what is in energy drinks, why caffeine is so important for athletes and gym goers, why energy drinks are a good way to consume caffeine and pre-workout, which kind of healthy energy drinks exist on the market today as well as some negative side effects that come from drinking too many caffeine filled beverages!
As a gym-goer and avid fitness fanatic, you probably already know that a good pre-workout supplement is essential for maximizing your workout sessions. The problem with many traditional energy drinks, however, is the high amount of sugar and calories they contain. For those following ketogenic diets or Atkins lifestyles this can make proper supplementation difficult - which leads to lower levels of performance overall! Preparing your nutrition using meal prepping is a good way to counteract this.
On top of that, there are a number of other factors that make traditional energy drinks a poor choice for functional fitness athletes. Sugar content, additives and chemicals make some of the drinks you'd find at your local store a bad choice for you.
However, there are a variety of options who love energy drinks but want something made especially for them and what they do: fitness!
In this blog post we'll be covering the key points as well as providing our overall review on energy drinks for functional fitness athletes!
Energy Drinks For Functional Fitness Athletes: What Is in Energy Drinks?
When it comes down to what makes an energy drink good or bad there are four major factors you should consider first.
Sugar & Carbohydrates - Many traditional energy drinks contain high amounts of sugars (some containing nearly two full tablespoons!). This can lead to blood sugar crashes and other negative side effects, especially if you've had a few in one sitting! However this also depends on what you want out of your energy drink; if you're looking for carbohydrates to fuel your workout then some traditional energy drinks will work fine.
Caffeine - Caffeine is naturally found in cola but it has become an addition to most energy drinks, including many of the healthier types. Caffeine is the most common stimulant in energy drinks and can help improve performance, endurance and concentration. This can help with mental clarity and focus which is essential when training hard or losing weight. However too much caffeine will have negative side effects so try sticking to around 100mg per serving if you're not used to caffeine and then not exceeding 200mg for everyone else, as too much caffeine will cause jitters or shakiness which is never good for functional fitness athletes!
Sodium & Electrolytes - These are essential for proper hydration, especially if you're doing high intensity workouts during long sessions on the treadmill or bike! Always look out for these ingredients on pack as they may also be called by their scientific names: Sodium Chloride / Potassium Bicarbonate etc. You'll find them listed under vitamins & minerals.
Other ingredients: There are many other ingredients that go into making energy drinks but it's best not to get bogged down by all of them. Some people like to cut out caffeine completely from their routine during certain times (for example if you're trying to sleep) so look for naturally decaf options instead. Many also contain Vitamin B12 which helps with proper muscle contraction & fatigue reduction, whilst others may have Amino Acids such as Taurine or Glucuronolactone which both help with the immune system, stress levels and fatigue.
These ingredients are all fantastic for your body but if you're working out regularly it's important to make sure that they don't have a negative impact on other areas of your life such as sleeping patterns etc. If this starts happening then just reduce them back a little until everything is normal again!
What are the best energy drinks on the market today?
There are a few options of energy drinks specifically made for functional fitness athletes and CrossFit enthusiasts out there today:
Nocco BCAA Energy Drink
Our top pick for the best energy drink for functional fitness athletes and CrossFit enthusiasts is Nocco the No Carbs Company. Launched in Europe over the last few years, NOCCO has jumped into the US market and has certainly made a splash. With a variety of flavours and a high caffeine content at 180mg of caffeine. Nocco also contains 50% DV of Biotin, Niacin, B6, and B12. Vegan & sweetened with Natural Flavours and Sucralose.
The best thing about Nocco is not only the flavour but the fact it has zero calories!
Read more about our full Nocco Drink Review.
Sugar free, 180mg Caffeine, 355ml cans
Reign Total Body Fuel Energy Drink
You may have seen this drink advertised by the Buttery Bros Youtube Channel but Reign Total Body Fuel is a great drink for Caffeine, BCAAs and Aminos too. With a larger volume (at 16 fl Oz / 475ml) than others drinks there is more drink but there is also way more Caffeine and nutritional benefits too. With around 300mg of caffeine Reign sure does pack a punch, preparing you for the PR workout!
Coming in a large variety of nostalgic and classic flavours, Reign is large becoming the go to pick for CrossFit athletes around the US and the World.
Nutritional Info for Reign Total Body Fuel
What does an energy drink do?
This depends entirely on what type you use and how much caffeine there is in it - obviously the higher caffeine content will give you more "bang" so try to find something healthy enough to take regularly before trying anything too crazy. The general consensus seems to be that one can gives about 100mg-180mg of caffeine while the other contains around 40mg-55mg of caffeine.
Most energy drinks contain a combination of ingredients such as B vitamins, sugar and caffeine so they all have slightly different purposes in terms of giving you more energy etc...but they don't really do anything special for your fitness apart from give you an extra boost when working out - this might be enough to push yourself that little bit harder or get through a session without needing a break!
Research has shown that those who consume caffeine perform better in exercise than those who don't which is why around 90% of athletes consume caffeine in some form.
The best thing about consuming caffeine via an energy drink rather than coffee is that you are unlikely to drink as much for the same effect. Caffeine in energy drinks is usually an ingredient added at a concentration of around 100-180mg per can, whereas coffee tends to have more caffeine than this and often has other ingredients which don't necessarily help your workout!
Are there any side effects to energy drinks?
There are some potential downsides if drinking too much caffeine which include; fast heart rate, jitters (shaking), nausea and even vomiting. Some people can experience these symptoms after just one cup so imagine what having several cups would do! This doesn't mean that they're always negative though as I mentioned above but it is something to bear in mind.
Due to high-profile cases where athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), energy drinks became associated with doping. Athletes who tested positive for banned substances were quick to point out they hadn’t consumed any illegal or illicit supplements but had simply drunk too many energy drinks before competition. Unfortunately since then there has been widespread confusion over what constitutes ‘normal consumption’ of these beverages, leading some people – rightly or wrongly – to fear that the consumption of energy drinks is a potential doping violation.
It’s important to note though, that while caffeine can help athletes get fitter and stronger it doesn't mean they should not be careful with their intake.