It’s hard to beat a cup of coffee to get things going in the morning and a nice cold beer, a glass of fine wine, or a finger or two of bourbon to wind things down again in the evening. During the course of a normal day, water is usually your best bet. Before a long run, a steep hike, a serious HIIT session, or whenever there’s work to be done but you feel yourself flagging, go ahead and grab an energy drink. (And drink it, too, because these caffeine-rich, ginseng-laced, vitamin-packed beverages have little benefit if simply held in the hand.)
Consumed in relative moderation, energy drinks are a great way to give your body the added edge needed to push harder during workouts and longer physically and to stay focused and on task mentally. Just don’t confuse an energy drink with a sports drink, because while tasty and exhilarating, they are not hydrating and can’t replace water or a sports drink. (And probably best not to mix them with alcohol, not that that’s going to stop anyone.)
Here are 10 energy drinks worth the sips.
Red Bull Blue Edition Blueberry Energy Drink
Red Bull is the OG of the energy drink game, having been founded way back when in 1987. They have by far the largest market share of the category, and for good reason. Or reasons, really. First, most of their drinks taste pretty good, like this blueberry flavored take on their standard caffeine, taurine, and vitamin-packed recipe. Also notable is how involved Red Bull is with myriad sports: The company sponsors athletes and events all over the world.
Monster Rehab Tea + Lemonade + Energy Iced Tea
This sweet, low-calorie drink from Monster is one of the few energy drinks that actually will hydrate you (or re-hydrate you, as the case may be — it was designed to help recovery after a hard night out). But as it packs more caffeine than all but the strongest cups of coffee, stick to one can and then hit the water as you rebuild your stamina for the day. And for the coming night.
CELSIUS Raspberry Acai Green Tea Fitness Drink
This energy drink may be as notable for what it doesn’t have as what it does: It’s devoid of sugar, preservatives, and carbonation, and it only packs 10 calories. It delivers a solid 200 mg of caffeine and 100% of multiple vitamins, so CelciusS is potent and about as healthy as an energy drink gets.
Rockstar Sugar Free Energy Drink
As the name suggests, this energy drink is free of sugar, and thus free of calories, too. And no carbs, FYI. It does have 160 mg of caffeine and doses of taurine, ginseng, guarana (which is a natural stimulant, if you were wondering) and some vitamins, but there are also quite a few artificial ingredients, so moderate your intake.
3D Energy Drink
3D Energy Drink is a brand with several different flavors and an ingredient blend boasting caffeine, guarana extract, taurine, and other ingredients found in many energy drinks these days. So what sets it apart? Primarily the fact that many people note its flavors as among the best in the category. Also it’s pretty moderately priced.
NOS High Performance Energy Drink
NOS delivers all the stimulants you expect (nay, demand!) from an energy drink along with the vitamins (like B-12 and B-6) your body will appreciate, but it’s the L-theanine that is notable here. L-theanine is an amino acid that can help you stay less jittery and more focused even with that caffeine boost.
Kill Cliff Ignite Smashing Citrus Energy Drink
This energy drink (and other variations from the brand) is bursting with flavor yet modest in calories, with just 25 per 12-ounce can. It’s politely packed with 160 milligrams of caffeine and loaded with electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and other things you lose when you are sweating but need to perform (and live). Also the company is an official partner of the Navy SEAL Foundation and has donated nearly a million dollars to support “those who have got our backs.”
5-Hour ENERGY SHOT
As the name suggests, the formula found in a single 1.93-ounce bottle of 5-Hour Energy is supposed to give you a bump for abut five hours. And as these little bottles are so small and portable, you can have one on hand for any time you need that bump.
Bizzy Cold Brew Concentrate Organic Black Coffee
If all you want is a solid dose of caffeine without all the taurine this and ginseng that and vitamin what, then strong coffee is the way to go. Like double strength, which is what this delectable concentrated coffee is. Mix it to make a fine beverage, or sip as is to get that energy buzz going.
ZipFizz Healthy Energy Drink Mix
Not sure when you’ll need that dose of energy? Keep it at the ready in powdered form, then. One tube of ZipFizz has 100 milligrams of caffeine, so it’s fine to have a couple, and it will load you up with vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes. And flavor.
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