Exercising in the high desert of New Mexico is a dusty, dry affair. Even when you’re not sweating, the sun feels unfiltered and harsh, like it’s sucking moisture from inside your body. As someone who prioritizes sweaty aerobic activities every day in this climate, I try my best to stay hydrated. But if I don’t drink enough fluids, the aridity makes it challenging to catch up: no matter how much I chug, I’m often still thirsty.
I employ a rotating cast of beverages to achieve my hydration quotas: SodaStream sparkling water with lime, 100 percent juices cut with sparkling water, fruit smoothies with protein powder, and my favorite: Nuun Sport tablets ($25 for four tubes).
These magic disks are easy to use. Fill a pint glass with water, drop in a tablet, and in a few minutes the tab will completely dissolve, leaving you with a slightly sweet, effervescent beverage that I find endlessly refreshing. Dripping sweat post-run, I often stand holding the cup, watching the disintegrating tablet float to the surface of my cold filtered water in anticipation of that first, most satisfying hit.
Of Nuun Sport’s 13 flavors, I highly recommend citrus fruit, strawberry lemonade, and cherry limeade plus caffeine. In fact, this caffeine variety is my go-to (there are four flavors with caffeine, and dosage varies, so make sure to read the label). Most lunch breaks I return from a run or bike ride and plop one in some water. The combination of electrolytes, minerals, a single gram of sugar, and caffeine helps give me the boost I need to recover and finish out the day’s work.
The tablets are just as useful on weekends. For rides and runs over two hours, I fill a separate bottle with water and a Nuun tablet and use it as a pick-me-up on the trail. I’ve tried countless other during-exercise solutions and found that Nuun products are the lightest and most gentle on my stomach. That counts for a lot when you’re putting in hard efforts that last a half day or longer.
Nuun also offers instant powder packets, vitamin tablets, and subscription boxes, but for my money, the Sport tablets are the best, both in flavor and in satisfaction (some of the powder packets don’t totally dissolve and are grainy in the water). You may have to wait a few minutes for your drink to be ready, but I find that only builds my anticipation: that initial chug usually empties about half a pint. It’s that good.
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Lead Photo: George Marks/iStock (Man), Ben Stern/Unsplash (Runners), Graphic: Petra Zeiler