My Long History with Energy Drinks
Back in the early 90’s I started experimenting with energy drinks. Selection was limited. Everyone who was doing aerobics was looking to get an edge. Energy drinks back then were geared primarily to body builders. Arnold was the rage and all body builders wanted to look like him. Arnold told everybody he was drinking protein drinks, raw eggs, and lots of calves liver.
Most energy drinks or “pre workout formulas” were primarily specialty sugar based supplements. “Blending”, became a popular past time, because one thing these potions all had in common is they had to be blended. And the blender of the day was a “Vitamix”.You weren’t somebody unless you had one.
Who could get the glucose into your bloodstream faster? Which was better honey based or corn syrup based? Cherry flavor was very popular because they could make it tart and that certainly helped cut down on the sweetness. The science back then was limited to sugar, guarana, and caffeine. And if you had all three, you had a top of the line pre workout formula.
In the early 90’s you either bought your energy drinks at a GNC or by mail order, usually from an ad in the back of Muscle & Fitness.
Twinlabs was a major player in the workout formula arena. Their Choline Cocktail was marketed as an alternative to “smart drugs” (another early 90’s fad). However, body builders and aerobics enthusiasts, found this to be an amazing pre-workout formula. Low in sugar only about 7g per serving.
Choline Cocktail was the pre-cursor to all of today’s energy drinks. It was the first that didn’t have to be blended, it could be shaken or stirred. A huge factor, no longer did drinking an energy drink have to be a huge ritual. You could pour a glass of water, add a few tablespoons, stir and go. Versus get the blender out, fill the container with water, place the container on the blender, add your supplement, three or four scoops. Blend for 45 seconds to a minute. Pour your drink, wash the blender. It was a real hassle.
When you compare the ingredients in Choline Cocktail to the vast majority of today’s current energy drinks you see striking similarities. However, today’s energy drinks having taken convenience to another level. Now you don’t even have to stir. Don’t get me wrong, you are paying for that convenience. Choline Cocktail is about 1/2 the cost per serving than your typical energy drink.
It’s difficult to believe, but energy drinks have only been popular in the United States for about 16 years. In the early days energy drinks were popularized by gamers, snow and skate boarders. At the time they were known as generation X.
I had my first Red Bull in 1997, I was the project manager for AT&T’s WorldNet Internet technical support call center. One my supervisors, her name was Liz, and she was an amazing online gamer. Everyday on her break she would take out a Red Bull, I had been seeing Red Bull commercials on TV for a while and I asked her where she got it from. She lived in Sherman Oaks CA and there was an AM/PM Mini Mart that was carrying Red Bull. It must have been the only one because I must have gone into a half dozen AM/PM Mini Marts near me and none of them carried Red Bull.
Of all places I finally found my first Red Bull at Fry Electronics. At the time I was living on Starbucks, Cappuccino Blasts from Basket Robbins, and Choline Cocktail.
Today, I still live on energy drinks, however, there are now a host of others available to you not through mail order, but online. You can still find many packed with sugar, but there are many packed with a host of good ingredients that now rival Choline Cocktail.
Check out the thebestenergydrink.org’s Top 10 list to find out what are the best energy drinks available today.