Saturday, August 8, 2009

Coconut Water on the Run Helps Prevents Leg Cramps!

Shortly after the Badwater Ultra Marathon, I posted about Pam Reed who was the 2nd-place women's finisher. The hydration drink of her choice was one I had never heard of—ZICO (pronounced “Zee-Koh”). The drink is billed as "Nature's Sports Drink" because it's pure coconut water. So, I researched Pam and ZICO and posted about both.

I was very curious about this new drink and was about to try some when a representative of ZICO contacted me about seeing the post on my blog. He offered to send me a case to try. Of course I accepted. ZICO is becoming a favorite among endurance athletes for training, as well as before, during and after long distance races, so I definitely wanted to check this stuff out.

Made with 100 percent pure coconut water, ZICO contains none of the added sugars and calories commonly associated with traditional sports drinks, plus it has low acidity. ZICO contains the five essential electrolytes that help to keep nerves firing, muscles moving and to help manage stress.

I'm a profuse sweater when I run, especially in the summer and because of this, hydration is a big problem. I often experience cramping in my calves from the depletion of my electrolytes. I was surprised to discover that Coconut juice has a huge amount of potassium (a key electrolyte) even more potassium than a banana and 15 times more than most sports drinks. This fact really caught my attention because potassium helps prevent cramping and promote recovery. Potassium also regulates blood pressure, cardiovascular health and helps you recover more quickly from exercise and stress. In addition to the potassium, ZICO naturally provides sodium, calcium, magnesium, and even a little protein.

Don't confuse coconut water with coconut milk. ZICO's coconut water doesn’t contain the fat of coconut milk. The coconut water comes from young coconuts before they develop the white meat that contains the fat and cholesterol in mature coconuts. ZICO contains no cholesterol

So, you're probably wondering how it worked for me. Well, so far....great! The first time I used ZICO, I was a little hesitant to carry it with me on a run as my main source of hydration because I tend to have a sensitive stomach. So, I drank an 11oz. container of ZICO about 30 minutes before my tempo run. I drank my regular hydration drink (Accelerade) during the run and then I rehydrated after my run with another ZICO. It worked very well. Didn't experience any stomach discomfort and I felt well hydrated before, during, and after.

I've run two more times since then, but during these runs, I used ZICO as my main source of hydration during as well as before and after. One of the runs was a long run (a 16-miler). Again, I had no adverse reactions and I felt very well hydrated. Best of all, I didn't experience any leg cramps during that long run. It was very humid and I sweated what seemed like a gallon of water. My shoes were sloshing! But the extra potassium in ZICO seemed to do the trick.

So, now you're wondering, "How much does this stuff cost?" Well, it is more expensive than buying a case of Gatorade at Cosco, but then again, it's all natural and (for me anyway) it's providing that extra ingredient (or at least more of it) that I need to prevent cramping. On the ZICO website you can buy a 12-pack of the natural-flavored ZICO for $23.99. That's about $1.99 a serving. That's a little more than you'd pay for a single serving of a name-brand hydration drink if you bought it at a convenience store (which I often end up doing). I was also pleasantly surprised to find ZICO at my local grocery store (Harris Teeter) and the local specialty food store (Whole Foods).

ZICO currently is available in three varieties—natural, mango and passion fruit-orange peel. ZICO says that even the flavored varieties are all-natural, as they contain flavor essences, meaning they come from the flower itself, not the fruit, so there's no additional sugar, calories, carbs or acidity. ZICO also comes in an easy-to-carry, eco-friendly TetraPak for on-the-go refreshment that retains the beverage’s authentic tropical flavor.

21 comments:

Thomas said...

I could sure use some ZICO and I love coconut water. I will be sure to stop by Whole Foods tomorrow to get some!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Thomas! Awesome! Let me know what you think after you've had some!

Amanda said...

I'm going to Whole Foods after work today so I think I'll grab some of this. Great review, can't wait to try it, especially with runs in this hot hot SC August.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Amanda! Cool! Let me know what you think!

Gabe said...

i drink this stuff after my runs (after my Endurox recovery drink). I'm not sure how good or bad it is, but it tastes good and I seem to get back to feeling 100% quicker when i drink it.

Teamarcia said...

Thanks for the review! My husband (he's all about the virtues of coconut lately) mentioned coconut water to me a while back. I'll definitely give it a try!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Gabe! Good to know it seems to be working for rehydration after your runs. Let me know what you think if you start using during some runs too.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Teamarcia! Maybe your hubby's on to something. He can be right once in a while. LOL! Let me know what you think if you test it out.

Morgan said...

As always, thanks for sharing the info. Def going to have to try this out!!!

B.o.B. said...

Very interesting review. I am always looking for more effective ways to hyrdrate. I have a super sensitive stomach so I wonder if this would work for me.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Morgan! Let me know how it works! Thanks!

RunnerDude said...

Hey B.o.B! I'm with you on the sensitive tummy on the run. But this didn't bother me. Let me know if you try it!

Christine said...

I am going to have to try this for sure. We have a nearby natural foods store so they will hopefully have it there! It is so hot and humid here in FL and I did experience cramps in my calf muscles on my last run. I knew I was dehydrated. Thanks so much for the review! Christine

RunnerDude said...

Hey Christine! Seems to do the trick for me! It was 100 degrees today here in NC and the humidity was just about as high! Let me know if you give Zico a try and how it works for you.

Daniel said...

I use to get those leg cramps for a while, and then I started drinking Zico about 2 years ago...goodbye leg cramps (the ones that wake you in the middle of the night). I'm a convert!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Daniel! That's awesome! There's hope for me!

cami said...

Another coconut water lover! I recently dedicated two posts to it (July 28 &29)

My absolute favorite drink evah!!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Cami! I'm a believer too! Ran out of it on my recent long run. Drink some of a friend's gatorade and then started having some stomach issues. I'll stick with the coconut water!

Anonymous said...

zico is now owned by COKE. I'd go with one of the other coconut water brands.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Anonymous! There are other brands of coconut water on the market. Doesn't matter which one you use, just make sure they're 100% coconut water and don't contain other added ingredients.

Anonymous said...

I drink coconut water when I'm running as well, but I tend to go for Vita Coco instead of Zico. I like the taste better and how there's six different flavors to choose from. Vita Coco for runners, hands down.