June 18, 2024

For years, athletes have counted on Gatorade Endurance being available at the aid stations to help fuel our Ironman efforts. However, this sports drink is being replaced by a new product called Mortal Hydration. This shift will likely require all of us to reevaluate our fueling strategies for these races.

According to Ironman: “To allow athletes time to adjust to the new product offering, Mortal Hydration will be an on-course option added to previous electrolyte options, with a full exclusive roll out of the product on course beginning with July events. Sample packs will also be available for purchase in the official Ironman Merchandise store.”

So, until July you’ll be able to get Mortal Hydration on course at Ironman events, but you’ll also be able to access “previous electrolyte options” – presumably Gatorade Endurance.

Gatorade is out, Mortal Hydration is in for North American Ironman and 70.3 races

While any change can be disruptive, this nutrition switch presents some changes athletes will need to address for their training and racing.

Gatorade Endurance provided a blend of carbohydrates for energy (around 45 g per bottle), electrolytes like sodium and potassium for fluid balance and calories to delay fatigue. This nutritional profile was well-suited for the extreme endurance demands of an Ironman. Mortal Hydration offers a comprehensive profile of essential electrolytes, but doesn’t have as many calories and carbohydrates per serving as found in Gatorade Endurance.

Hydration is the name of the game in an Ironman

Gatorade Endurance

Let’s first examine what was included in a 180-calorie bottle of Gatorade Endurance:

  • Calories: 180
  • Carbohydrates: ~45 g
  • Sodium: ~340 mg
  • Potassium: ~180 mg

After many years of racing Ironman, like many athletes, most of us have dialed in our nutrition plans around the specific ratios in Gatorade’s sports drink and have been using it on the course.

Mortal Hydration

  • Calories: 45
  • Carbohydrate: 10 g
  • Sodium: 450 mg
  • Potassium: 150 mg
  • Calcium: 20 mg
  • Magnesium: 25 mg

It is important to note that there are some differences in the way the various electrolytes are delivered, too.

“Mortal uses a sodium citrate not a sodium chloride like the previous product,” says Mortal Hydration founder Becca Schepps. “We also use a magnesium citrate unlike the previous product. It is well-documented and tested that citrates are easier on the gut and help increase the absorption of fluid. For this reason we also do not use maltodextrin like the previous product. Maltodextrin is another ingredient that when consumed can cause intense GI distress.”

In terms of carbohydrate needs, according to Schepps “it is vital to remember that when carbohydrates are not consumed with adequate electrolytes this can amplify dehydration.” There are less carbohydrates in Mortal Hydration, Schepps says, “to enhance absorption of electrolytes for sweat replenishment.”

Stevia, a natural sweetener, isn’t used in Mortal Hydration to make it a “diet” drink, but rather to encourage athletes to keep sipping the drink because of the sweetness.

OK, so Mortal Hydration is likely to help with electrolytes and hydration, but how can athletes overcome the decrease in carbohydrates and calories they were getting in Gatorade Endurance?

Nutrition needs vary from athlete to athlete, of course, but according to research done by the company, “athletes will need 1 additional Maurten160 gel for every 4 bottles of Gatorade Endurance they previously consumed.” One bottle of Mortal Hydration and 2 Maurten 160 gels per hour provides about 90 g of carbs.

Sports nutritionist tips for hot weather hydration

Race prep

We all know that training with the nutrition products you’ll be racing with is critical. If you decide that you’re more comfortable with an alternate sports drink, you can load up your bike with your preferred sports drink, supplement with Mortal Hydration when needed, but use aid station water to mix more of your preferred drink as needed. Special needs stations can be used to restock your drink supplies, too.

If you are getting ready for a North American Ironman event this year, you’ll definitely want to stock up on some Mortal Hydration to try in practice, and come up with a fuelling plan to take care of the rest of your carbohydrate and caloric needs.

The bottom line is that proper sports nutrition and hydration are absolutely crucial for peak performance in any endurance race. Having a detailed personal fueling plan that matches your body’s specific needs for carbs, sodium, fluids, etc. is something we should all prioritize.

Angela Naeth is a professional triathlete, gravel cyclist and coach. She holds a Masters degree in Physical Therapy and Exercise Science, as well as a Bachelors degree in Health Science. Naeth has an extensive background in endurance sports and uses her expertise to help athletes of all levels reach their full potential. To learn more, visit her website at www.angelanaethcoaching.com.


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