CHICAGO — GoodSport is a new sports nutrition beverage formulated to deliver effective hydration and clean up the category. The product features ingredients perceived as natural by consumers and derives many of its hydration capabilities from ingredients sourced from ultrafiltered milk.

The product and subsequent business — GoodSport Nutrition — are the brainchild of Michelle McBride, founder and chief executive officer. Ms. McBride was looking for a natural source of hydration for her son while he was participating in youth sports. She settled on chocolate milk, which she calls the inspiration for the beverage that is now GoodSport.

“I began looking at milk as a source of hydration,” she said. “I started doing some research and found a study out of the UK that demonstrated milk is a good source of hydration. It is packed with electrolytes and the right balance of carbohydrates to provide optimal hydration.”

Ms. McBride does not have a background in the food industry. She is an attorney who has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations. But through youth sports she had met Andy Friedman, the founder and former CEO of SkinnyPop Popcorn as well as now a founding partner in GoodSport Nutrition. Bob Murray, PhD, former director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, was enlisted early in the process to help develop the formulation and is currently the company's chief hydration officer. 

“I felt that if we could create a clear, shelf-stable sports drink from milk that would be effective and great tasting, we could disrupt two huge categories — sports drinks and dairy,” Mr. Friedman said. “It is very exciting.”

Early prototypes had a milky appearance Ms. McBride found unappealing. The question she was trying to answer is how to eliminate the milkiness but keep the benefits of milk. Additional research led her to Kimberlee (KJ) Burrington, then a researcher with the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin. Today, Ms. Burrington is the director of training, education and technology development at the American Dairy Products Institute.

“We showed the team at GoodSport Nutrition how ultrafiltration can be used to harness milk’s electrolytes, vitamins and carbs so they could create a clear beverage with a mouthfeel that consumers would expect from a sports drink,” Ms. Burrington said.

Michelle McBride, founder and CEO of GoodSport Nutrition

Ms. McBride added, “Milk proteins are wonderful high-quality proteins, but they are not needed for hydration. They can be obstacles to performance due to being hard to digest. So, we removed the protein to create our drink.”

An added benefit is the ultrafiltered ingredient — milk permeate — used in GoodSport formulations is often a waste component of the ultrafiltration process. Rescuing the milk permeate for the sports drink gives GoodSport an additional attribute of being upcycled.

“There is no question consumers care about sustainability in their products,” Ms. McBride said. “We are very excited about contributing to the sustainability efforts of the dairy industry. We want to get the messaging out about the effectiveness of the product, but also that it contributes to reducing waste.”

GoodSport delivers three times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks by featuring 1,600 mgs of electrolytes per 16.9 oz serving, contains 33% less sugar, provides two types of carbohydrates for optimal hydration and is shown to continue hydrating two hours after it is consumed, according to the company. The product also is a good source of calcium and an excellent source of B vitamins. It is lactose free and shelf stable.

“Having spent my career in hydration and exercise performance research, I’ve known milk has the ingredients to provide superior hydration, but never before has anyone found a way to transform milk into an extremely effective and refreshing sports drink,” Mr. Murray said. “It’s exciting to be part of the team that’s bringing something entirely new with superior hydration to the sports drink category.”

The company’s target market is athletes and fitness enthusiasts who are serious about their workouts and care about hydration. Consumption occasions can be pre-, during- or post-workout.

“We're not only creating products with healthy ingredients, but products that are backed by science,” Ms. McBride said.

The beverage comes in 16.9 oz single-serve bottles and four varieties: lemon lime, fruit punch, berry and citrus. It is currently available on and the company’s web site,, and will be available in some Chicago retailers this spring with broader distribution to follow.

“The challenge for us was figuring out how to harness milk’s naturally-occurring electrolytes and carbohydrates in a clear drink that would be thirst-quenching and refreshing to provide truly effective hydration before, during and after exercise,” Ms. McBride said. “Now athletes and fitness enthusiasts no longer have to choose between sports drink efficacy and natural ingredients because GoodSport provides both.”