By John Heiss, Ph.D., Senior Director, Sports and Fitness, Worldwide Product Marketing, Herbalife
December 3, 2015
Ever since we introduced our Herbalife24® sports nutrition line, we’ve been looking at ways to make it even better. That’s why it’s so exciting that our new Herbalife24® hydration drink, CR7 Drive, has been a big hit with consumers and athletes since it launched in the United States, the United Kingdom and various European countries this fall.
CR7 Drive is a contemporary take on a traditional sports drink, with no artificial flavors or sweeteners, so it isn’t overly sweet. It has a crisp, refreshing taste that is designed to both fuel and hydrate. With 50 calories per scoop to mix with 8 oz. of water, it’s great for a range of activities: like soccer, fitness routines, running or jogging, or anything else that gets your heart rate up and sweat going.
Where it All Started
But how and why did we decide to create CR7 Drive? When we announced our sponsorship of international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, we wanted to find meaningful and authentic ways to leverage the partnership. CR7 Drive is born from our shared commitment to nutrition, active lifestyle, unsurpassed quality, a mutual understanding of what we can offer each other, but most importantly the idea of authenticity. As a company we simply don’t work with athletes who do not embrace our brand, use our products, and stand for what we believe in. We have learned from experience that the most credible relationships are built on mutual commitment to the same values. Cristiano is the biggest athlete in the world by many metrics, which is amazing for any company, but he also truly believes in what he stands for personally and what we stand for as a company. This mutual respect and a true authentic relationship is the backbone of our relationship with him.
Customized for Cristiano
Beginning a couple years ago, we started working with Cristiano to get a basic understanding of his approach to nutrition, the types of products he was currently using, why he liked them, why he did not like them etc. We learned about his favorite flavors and the types of characteristics that are important to him in a drink, for example no artificial flavors or colors. From there, we were able to work with one of his trainers to review some of his biological data. We made some immediate product recommendations and developed CR7 Drive around the data. From this, the product was born.
CR7 Drive is an easy to digest quad-carb blend that helps fuel muscles and sustain energy levels. It also contains a targeted spectrum of critical electrolytes: sodium, potassium and magnesium, all in highly soluble forms to help keep you hydrated. It is really a pretty simple product. It contains a mixture of carbohydrates to support endurance, B12 to support metabolism, and electrolytes, which enhance hydration. It is a powder that is mixed into a liquid, so the main purpose of the drink is hydration, something that is important for everyone, but particularly vital for someone who is working out.
Stripping Out the Artificial
CR7 has no artificial flavors or sweeteners, and is colored with purple carrots and grapes to give the Acai-berry flavor a subtle ink color, and beta-carotene for the nice orange hue of the Citrus-orange flavor.
“My entire life, I have been driven to be the best. I work hard and look for every advantage, and good nutrition is one of them. This is why I partnered with Herbalife, a global leader in nutrition, to help me develop my ideal sports drink,” said Cristiano. “CR7 Drive fuels my body and keeps me hydrated day in and day out, in both training and competition.”
CR7 Drive for Workouts
CR7 Drive contains no artificial colors or sweeteners; it contains B1 and B12 vitamins. It is also tested clean of athletic banned substances by the independent NSF Certified for Sport® Program.
We built the drink around using mostly glucose – the most preferred and rapidly utilized carbohydrate by muscles. It also contains maltodextrin, a long-chain form of dextrose, which provides additional glucose without raising the osmolality significantly. Plus it has sucrose. Since sucrose is a molecule of glucose and fructose, it provides glucose for fast energy, and provides a small amount of fructose which can also be used as a secondary fuel sources during exercise. Finally, we included isomaltulose, a low-glycemic sugar. Bottom line: you want a drink that will give you rapid energy to fuel you during exercise, and that contains a quad-carb blend that helps fuel muscles and sustain energy levels. With CR7 Drive you get a drink that replenishes some of the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat, while providing 50 calories to fuel your workouts.
Great for Endurance Athletes
Professional triathlete Heather Jackson used CR7 Drive to fuel her fifth place finish at the GoPro Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
“Nutrition is the fourth discipline in triathlon,” says Jackson. “It gives me piece of mind that I’m using the best product out there and getting everything in that I need while training and racing. Having your nutrition dialed day to day is one less thing to worry about about when training.”
During training for Kona in the brutal Tucson, Arizona heat, Jackson said CR7 Drive was essential. “It was in the 100s for most of the three weeks prior to Kona, the winds blow from all directions, the roads are rough and bumpy and not forgiving near the end of 120-mile rides.”
CR7 Drive was Jackson’s secret weapon during the grueling bike portion of Kona. “The whole bike, I just drank and drank and drank. I started out with five bottles total of Herbalife24® CR7 Drive – two on my frame, one in my front bottle, and two bottles in my jersey. I was through two bottles of CR7 Drive before the first aid station so I could toss the two bottles from my jersey pockets. The rest of the bike, I would grab as many bottles as I could at each aid station, getting in approximately two bottles of electrolytes an hour and using the water only bottles to keep myself drenched and cool the whole day. I took in my salt and a few gels and just kept drinking.”
A key component to CR7 Drive is that you can enhance hydration with 320mg of vital electrolytes lost during exercise. CR7 uses soluble forms of minerals such as magnesium citrate, sodium citrate, and potassium phosphate. It’s the small details in the amounts and types of ingredients that make CR7 Drive great for all types of activities, not just soccer or endurance sports.
Lastly, we included two key B vitamins: B1 and B12. B12 is essential to support metabolism, and CR7 contains 50% DV of methylcobalamin, the biologically active form of vitamin B12.