The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Athletes Crushing Intense Training Programs

Sponsored by our partner, Athletic Brewing Company
The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Athletes Crushing Intense Training Programs
Presented by Spartan Training®

When you've got big OCR events coming up, the last thing you need is a hangover setback that screws with your sleep, slows fitness adaptations, and pumps your system full of empty calories when wise-fueling counts more than ever. 

The thing is: it can be tempting after a long run or HIIT workout to reach for a cold one. Instead, opt for one of our favorite, Spartan-approved, non-alcoholic beverages perfect for summer — from a mocktail mojito to N/A IPA to sparkling water. This shortlist of options will quench your thirst and keep you fit and sharp.

Drink (N/A Beverages) Like A Champion

Nicole Mericle, five-time obstacle course racing world champion and the current Spartan Race World Champion, says food was always a source of fuel as a collegiate runner, but when she began climbing and competing in OCR, she began to put more emphasis on having quality nutrition to gain more muscle mass and amplify her performance. 

Sticking to dietary restrictions and eating more and at better times helped her become a more well-rounded athlete. Her relationship with alcohol changed, too, and she went from a social drinker who had a beer or wine or cocktail with dinner every night to backing off the booze while trying to rehab an ACL tear. It was throwing off her sleep while her workout and knee injury rehab sessions were suffering. Now, she typically steers clear of alcoholic drinks all together, and opts for N/A beers, sparkling waters, and mocktails. 

When the holiday season hits and she goes to parties, she’ll typically bring N/A beers or homemade mocktails. She’s even held root beer and sparkling water tastings at her house, which still gets people in a party atmosphere. One perk to this is that you can also do it at any time, like on a Sunday afternoon when people can arrive early and go home at a reasonable hour without getting drunk.

Here, Nicole shares a few of her favorites N/A drinks for summer BBQs, apres workout drinks, and special occasions that will ensure there's no excuse to overindulge:

The Best Non-Alcoholic Beverages for Athletes

best non-alcoholic drinks for athletes

N/A Beers

“Non-alcoholic beer definitely satisfies that post-race craving for me and I realized that it’s usually not from wanting the alcohol, but wanting the sweet flavor and fizziness,” Mericle says. Athletic Brewing Company’s golden ale, Upside Dawn, is flavorful, mild, and refreshing.”

Run Wild is Athletic Brewing Company’s hoppier IPA that’s full-bodied, the perfect amount of bitter, and another one of Mericle’s favorites.

N/A Sparkling H2O

“I love the DayPack hopped sparkling water, which my roommates try to steal every time I order some,” Mericle says.


For her holiday celebrations and N/A tasting parties, Mericle has a list of simple, go-to concoctions that are delicious but don’t compromise her training. “You can pretty much take any pureed fruit and add sparkling water and mint to make a great drink, too,” Mericle says. Try these next time you host a party and want to steer clear of booze. 

Cherry Spritzer

Tart cherry juice, lime, sparkling water, and simple syrup or agave to sweeten.

Mint Lemonade

Lemonade, sparkling water, mint, and frozen berries as ice.

Virgin Mojito 

Soda water, sugar, lime, and mint.

Golden Bird

Upside Dawn Golden Ale, pure cranberry juice, fresh lemon, agave syrup. 

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