Nov 16, 2016One of a Kind
Gatorade has always been focused on hydrating athletes, but now it’s getting personal. With the Gx sports fuel customization platform scheduled to start commercializing in the first half of 2017, everyday athletes will be introduced to a new personalized approach to hydration.
The first component of Gx is a digital weigh-in station that is integrated with a tablet to track weight and dehydration and set an athlete’s fuel strategy. This helps to identify how much each athlete should be hydrating on average. Athletes can go even further by doing testing through the Gatorade Sports Science Institute in order to determine their optimal hydration plan.
From there, the Gx line consists of a 30-ounce squeeze bottle and new “pods” that will fit inside it. Each pod takes into account the specific hydration needs of an individual athlete and contains the proper amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes to make up for their sodium loss during training.
Another major aspect of Gx is the Smart Cap. Instead of the standard flip cap currently used on most bottles, the Smart Cap provides visual feedback to the athlete to pace hydration. A turbine measures the amount of liquid exiting the bottle, and blinking LED lights represent the optimal pace an athlete should maintain to reach their hydration goals. Solid lights track the amount of liquid an athlete has actually consumed. In addition, fluid intake is tracked wirelessly so that a coach or athletic trainer can be alerted if an athlete needs to hydrate more effectively.
The Gx platform is the result of a series of test trials done with professional and college sports teams around the country. The Kansas City Chiefs, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Broncos, University of Florida, Brazilian Football Confederation, and FC Barcelona have all used the platform.
A total of 50 professional teams are expected to test the products next year, as Gatorade hopes to continue improving its methods. Teams can choose what parts of Gx they want to incorporate based on what fits best with their program.
“Believe me, these guys, they have a lot of smart people in the locker room that they know exactly what they need, so our intent is just to keep advancing on the development of the platform and always to be ahead of the game,” Xavi Cortadellas, Gatorade’s Head of Innovation and Design, told SportTechie.
Gatorade has also expanded the platform to high schools such as IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Personalization seems to be even more effective among younger athletes who expressed interest in the platform beyond just meeting unique hydration needs. Everything from the color to the design to the nametags on the bottles to the choice of Gatorade flavors are personalized. According to Gatorade, this has helped the athletes become more engaged with fluid intake.
“Once we actually put a squeeze bottle in their hand and had their name on it and gave them access to pods, their behavior changed drastically,” said Drew Palin, Gatorade’s Director of Long-Term Innovation. “You’re moving the needle so much just making hydration top-of-mind.”