Aqua-ruminations

As the entire internet may have heard, I ran out of Nuun recently.  Sad, sad, day.  I mean, an irritable, confused, weak, and pallid day.  I’ve never seemed to have any trouble with hydration, until last week.  I have been drinking Nuun for years, because it tastes good, and makes me feel good.  I never realized, though, how crucial it actually is to my training.  In one relatively easy training day, sans-Nuun, I was reduced to an irritable, confused, and hyponatremic shell of a bicycle rider.

I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  I thought I was cracked from all the hard training.  But it became clear after I drank the better part of a bottle of soy sauce with dinner (it tasted SO good).  Once the salt made it to my brain, I realized I had been hyponatremic.

Since I was out of Nuun, I looked to other options.  Gatorade with added salt (regular Gatorade has almost no electrolytes by itself) was a temporary crutch, but the taste is terrible and the sugar is gross when you’re not on the bike.  Lemon water with salt (about 1/4 tsp per liter for roughly the right osmolarity) tasted a little bit better, and at least wasn’t going to rot my teeth out of my head.

The next day I headed to the local bike shop buy some Nuun, but they only carried Zym.  I had seen it around and was curious to try it out.  Well, it did the job, but wasn’t the same.  First off, the retail price is about double that of Nuun (($10 for a tube of 10 vs. $6.50 for tube of 12).  The taste was a lot like my homemade lemon juice / salt combination — it actually tasted salty.  Zym also left a sandy residue in the bottom of the container after fizzing (are those electrolytes or vitamins that I was supposed to drink?).

The primary contenders. (photo: Rudy)

The primary contenders.

Later I found some PowerBar Electrolyte mix packets in my closet — these weren’t great either.  I think they flopped in the market, since you can’t find them on the PowerBar website anymore.  It tastes even worse than Zym. It’s sour, covered up with a lot of — you guessed it — sugar.  Gross.  Sugar is the first ingredient.  The price is comparable to Zym.

Neither one is as good as Nuun.  With a great, balanced, and mild taste, and lots of different flavors to choose from, Nuun definitely wins the taste—and price– contest.

As a final test, I put Nuun and Zym head-to-head.  Literally.

Cage match. (photo: Rudy)

One tab of each into the same bottle.  I think I heard the Zym crying for mercy.

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~ by awerbuch on April 1, 2010.

2 Responses to “Aqua-ruminations”

  1. I just started using Nuun. Yesterday was my first run using the stuff and I felt pretty damn good considering the heat of the day. I’ve tried a few of the flavors now: ran with tri-berry, also tried some orange ginger and banananuun before and after the run, and now some lemon-lime this morning. All of them great. Next up is citrus fruit… saving that for tomorrow’s brick workout.

  2. I think Nuun offers significant benefit when used before a workout or race. I tend to just drink it all the time, especially in the 12 hours before a workout, or the days leading up to a big race. It boosts my plasma volume and has me well hydrated when I start the ride. Starting off with so much “water in the bank” makes staying hydrated super easy during the ride or race.

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