I'll admit, I'm not a gym rat. I'm not even evolved enough to be a gym amoeba! I'm mostly a guy who types, which means that my fingers usually end up getting more exercise than my biceps. That said, I do enjoy frequent weekend excursions to our local gym—and when I do, my drink of choice is Pocari Sweat! No, bearing no relation to human sweat, I'll say it again: POCARI SWEAT!
See, doesn't that look refreshing? Once you get over the name and just realize the drink is Japan's version of Gatorade, I think you'll drink it, no sweat! All American 80s kids remember the funky graphic of the guy/girl changing colors as Gatorade replaced electrolytes or something, right? Well, Pocari Sweat, introduced in 1980, apparently does the same thing. It's like water, with added benefits.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical, the creators of this and other health products that are sweeping Japan, even says that Pocari Sweat is "closer to natural bodily fluid than water!" [link: http://www.otsuka.co.jp/en/product/pocarisweat/] It replaces what you sweat out while workin' out, hence the bizarre name. Not only that, but with zero fat and only 25 kcal per 100 ml, the 250 ml size bottle doesn't even reach 100 calories! (I did the math: it's 62.5 calories, to be exact.)
In case you're wondering how it tastes, just look at the picture above! Gatorade flavors have their place, but I can do without the artificial aftertaste. Pocari Sweat's pleasantly mild flavor is somewhere between grapefruit, lemon and lime. It tickles the taste-buds just enough, but never interferes with your workout. In other words, it knows it's a sports drink.
The drink comes in several different sizes, and can even be bought as a powder. For those people still seeking to cut the calories, there's an even lower calorie alternative version, Pocari Sweat Ion Water, which has just 11 kcal per 100 ml but still tastes good. (I prefer the slightly sweeter version myself, but that's just me.)
Pocari Sweat may be a sports drink, but its appeal reaches far beyond that in Japan. The word "Pocari" really has no overt meaning by itself, but I think that the sound is just light and cheery enough to resonate with adults and children alike, sports lovers or not! So if you see a bottle of Pocari Sweat, don't sweat it—just say "bottoms up!" and thank me later.