Best Athlete-Endorsed Sports & Energy Drinks Slideshow
It's no secret — coconut water is having a major moment right now. So it only seems fitting that one of baseball's biggest stars, A-Rod, was recently announced as the latest brand ambassador for Vita Coco, the best selling coconut water in the country. The all-natural hydrating drink boasts a laundry list of pros over leading sports drinks: less sodium, less sugar, fewer calories, more potassium, five essential electrolytes, and your complete daily dose of vitamin C.
Another big athlete fan? Professional surfer Kelly Slater. According to Vita Coco's website, the champion wave rider drinks the beverage on a daily basis.
There's no denying that people were shocked at the news that Denver Broncos star Tim Tebow had turned down an endorsement deal from Gatorade — which was invented at his alma matter, University of Florida — in favor of one from FRS Healthy Energy. Described as a "healthy alternative to traditional energy drinks," FRS is the only drink on the market to use quercetin (a naturally occurring antioxidant originally used to give energy to cancer patients) as its main ingredient. It's also formulated with green tea extracts and has B complex vitamins, as well as vitamins C and E.
LA Lakers' Derek Fisher is also a fan, as well as famed cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has been credited as the first person to put the product on the map.
FRS Healthy Energy
The godfather of sports drinks, Gatorade does not want for athlete endorsements. Derek Jeter, Dwyane Wade, Peyton Manning — all claim to have "it in them." The main draw of this venerable drink is to replenish fluids and electrolytes — namely sodium and potassium (of which there are 110 milligrams and 30 milligrams, respectively, per eight ounce serving). It is particularly effective for individuals engaging in an hour or more of strenuous physical activity. The brand even recently attempted to jump on the natural foods bandwagon by introducing a "natural" series that is made without high fructose corn syrup.
This zero calorie, sugar-free, vitamin-fortified beverage is the official energy drink of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and counts mixed martial artists Wanderlei Silva, Dan Hardy, and Mark Hominick among its brand ambassadors. What's more, in 2010, it was featured in the best-selling book Drink This, Not That! as one of the selected "Drink This" beverages in the energy category.
You can't help but laugh at the irony that a drink that comes in flavors like "Chocolate Malt" and "Cake Batter" actually sponsors professional athletes. Repped by motocross stars like Justin Brayton and Davi Millsaps, the lactose-free protein-enhanced beverage is a well-known go-to for athletes looking to bulk up with limited fat gain. Muscle Milk uses a combination of whey and casein proteins (there are 16 grams of protein per serving in a 17 ounce container) which can be useful for endurance athletes engaged in strenuous workouts. That said, be aware that it's fairly high in carbohydrates and calories (though there is a low-cal "light" variety), and half of the fat content per serving is made up of saturated fats.
In the pool of big name athlete-endorsed energy drinks — Amp Energy sponsors Dale Earnhardt, Jr., professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek reps Monster — Red Bull appears to have a slight edge. If you're going to go this route, by comparison it has slightly less sugar (there's also a sugar-free variety), more water, calcium, and potassium, as well as increased number of vitamins. Of course, with a high-caffeine drink like this you have to understand how best to use it, namely for a quick boost of energy. In short: It's not to be guzzled en masse.