Think fast: When you hear the words “exercise” and “hydration,” what drink comes to mind first?
If you didn’t immediately think of, well, water, your answer was most likely Gatorade. While it’s far from the only sports drink on the market, it’s definitely the most dominant.
But highlighter-colored beverages aren’t the only products the brand offers in an attempt to keep you hydrated during your workouts. Gatorade’s newest innovations for 2022 include a fully revamped app integrated with the brand’s popular Sweat Patches and an all-new smart water bottle. I tried them out to see what they could tell me about my own hydration.
The Gatorade Sweat Patches
The Gatorade Gx Sweat Patches ($25 for two) are single-use patches designed to monitor your sweat rate, fluid loss, and sodium loss. For the best results, you’re supposed to adhere the patch to the inside of your left forearm before doing a workout of 30 minutes or more, in an environment that’s between 47 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Your sweat will soak the patch, triggering the non-toxic food dye to weave through the canals, ultimately indicating your sweat and sodium levels. At the end of your workout, you scan the patch in the Gx App, which then creates a sweat profile for that particular activity.
While it sounds very cool, I find it hard to say how accurate it is, especially since my forearms don’t really sweat (at least not noticeably so). Nevertheless, I wore the patch to an Orangetheory class, where, mind you, I sweat a lot, and in the app, it reported that my sweat rate was 21 to 24 ounces per hour, which is low compared to other athletes. Meanwhile, my sodium concentration is 11 to 25 milligrams per ounce.
Once my sweat profile for Orangetheory was established, I was able to click into it to plan for future workouts. The app takes into consideration the duration of the workout and your previous sweat data to prepare a personalized fuel and hydration plan. For me, it outlined when and how much to drink, as well as how many carbs to eat, milligrams of caffeine to consume, and which supplements to take before, during, and after my workout. It even shares snack ideas so that you can easily achieve your carb goal without having to research food labels. And as far as supplements goes, it recommends specific brands but also calls out the key ingredients to look for should you want to find something else that fits the bill.
All this to say, sweat profiles (and the Sweat Patch that makes them possible), unlocks a lot of training potential, especially for new everyday athletes (like moi!) looking to learn how to hydrate and eat for top performance. Are they 100 percent accurate? It’s hard to say, but they are heavily researched and backed by experts, so I’d say the data they put forth is definitely worth considering.
The Smart Water Bottle
The Gatorade Gx Smart Water Bottle ($92) looks just like the OG Gx Water Bottle: It’s made of flexible, squeezable plastic and is compatible with Gx pods (concentrated flavor packs that are sold separately). The big difference? The top is outfitted with high-tech hydration tracking that monitors your sips and refills, encourages consumption via solid and blinking lights, and that’s fully integrated into the Gx App.
As someone who aims to drink 100 ounces of water a day, I need all the reminders I can get. Once cleaned and fully charged, I synced the bottle to the Gx app and set my hydration goal.
The bottle tracks how much you’re drinking through a sensor in the lid. In the instructions, it says to tilt the bottle and then set it on a flat surface after each refill or sip, which triggers the bottle to sync and update your numbers. While I did that, over a week of testing it out, I found that the numbers didn’t add up. For example, the first day I used the bottle, I had finished an entire 30-ounce fill and my app was reporting that I’d only drank 21 ounces. Assuming it just needed time to update, I went ahead and refilled the bottle and kept drinking. After 60 ounces, I checked the app again, only to find that it said I’d had 48.
When I went online and perused the bottle’s FAQs, I learned that I wasn’t alone in this result and that for the most accurate reading, the bottle needs to be left on a flat surface for 30 to 60 seconds to fully register. Considering I left it sitting for at least a few minutes (and often up to 20 or more) between sips, I can’t say why the bottle wasn’t tracking properly, which is a bummer.
Even if it doesn’t calculate the exact amount I’m drinking, the fact that it lights up periodically to encourage sips is certainly helpful. The lid shows ticks along the circumference of the rim to indicate your overall goal. Each tick lights up solidly or blinks—the solid lights indicate how far you are along in your hydration goal for the day, while the blinking lights show where you should be by that time. Some days, I’m well ahead of my goal, while other days I’ve fallen behind. Either way, it’s making me more aware of my consumption, which is certainly a step in the right direction.
In the free Gatorade Gx app, you’ll find fuel and training programs by top athletes like soccer stars Mallory Hugh and Lionel Messi and tennis great Serena Williams. There are nine expert-created programs, focusing on things like running and strength training. Each ranges from eight to 20 weeks with three to five workouts per week.
You can click into the full schedule and then into the day’s workout, where you’ll find pre-workout, during workout, and recovery recommendations, along with a preview of the workouts themselves. Once you start a program, it takes into consideration your weight and dietary restrictions to provide more exact recommendations. Each day, the home screen shows updates on your progress and what’s coming up in your training.
The best part? These highly-detailed programs are entirely free to Gatorade Gx users. So if you’ve been hoping to train for a half-marathon or marathon, to get a stronger core, or to become all around more athletic, what’re you waiting for?