Unlike its predecessors in the sports drink arena that focus on refueling athletes’ electrolyte levels, Barcode takes a 360-degree approach to fueling, providing consumers with a combination of vitamins, minerals, and adaptogens to enhance their well-being—whether they’re performing in a championship game or finishing a long run.
“I really wanted to understand what it takes to really perform and be elite and do [a sport] for a very long time,” says Bar Malik, co-founder of Barcode and former performance director for the New York Knicks. This curiosity led him to be an advisor for various wellness brands, monitoring athletes’ performance, and over time, he began to learn how products were built.
Malik realized that being labeled elite wasn’t just about a great performance during competition but having a wellness-forward lifestyle that often gets overlooked. Combining his background in exercise physiology, kinesiology, sports science, and nutrition, Malik decided to create something for every type of high-performer, not just the pros.
Most importantly, he decided to approach creating a performance beverage by looking at the body holistically and supporting the needs of everyone from Pilates lovers to marathon runners to professional basketball players. He knew that competitors created drinks filled with sugar and artificial ingredients to spike athletes’ energy levels in the short-term, “but they weren’t built around sustainability because they weren’t looking at a 360 model of what it means to be well.”
To him, that means formulating a product with vitamins D, B12, B6, magnesium, and adaptogens like rhodiola and cordyceps. He opted for vitamin D (from shitake mushrooms) as nearly 42 percent of people in the U.S are vitamin D deficient, especially professional basketball players; B12 to help offset fatigue and keep the blood and nerve cells healthy; B6 to aid in cognitive function; and magnesium to support muscle and nerve function and to improve mood.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, Barcode also contains adaptogens like rhodiola and cordyceps. A study found that cordyceps may increase tolerance to high-intensity exercise by delaying fatigue and allowing people to train at more intense levels. Rhodiola is anti-inflammatory and may help lower stress levels, and improve one’s strength and endurance, according to studies.
Barcode is taking a new approach to performance drinks and wellness, and although it’s low-sugar (two grams of monk fruit sweetener to be exact), it tastes delicious—people say the watermelon flavor reminds them of a Jolly Rancher—but you’ll have to try it for yourself after your next sweat sesh.
Ready to work up a sweat? Try this 17-minute lower-body strength workout:
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