Pills vs. Drinks: The Ultimate Showdown

Jordan Knight - JVK279 min readNo Comments

When you game, where is the nearest energy drink? If you’re like most people, it’s close by, be it on the coffee table, your desk, or the mini fridge in your room. It makes sense, too. After all, these games aren’t going to win themselves, and in order to jump up in the rankings, you need to play more and win more. Energy is a resource you just can’t be without.


Unfortunately, your teammates aren’t always available at a decent hour of the day, so much of your evenings and nights are spent playing with them (and this after a hard day’s work on your end). You’re exhausted, but in order to achieve greatness, sacrifices must be made. And so, here you are, gaming well into the night.

And you need energy.

But are regular energy drinks your best option? Sure, you’ve been downing them for years, but unless you're drinking a premium energy drink like Well G Fuel, what if there was something out there that was even better? Something that wouldn’t make a sticky stain on the carpet if it gets knocked over?

Enter the Capsules

Energy pills are a unique alternative to regular energy drinks. There are quite a few reasons as to why they are superior to drinks. But you’re a die-hard energy drink connoisseur, right? So let’s get down to brass tacks about the differences, and then you can be the judge.


Regular Energy Drinks

Regular Energy drinks are full of ingredients, more than pills to be sure. However, many of these ingredients you may not expect, including some that provide little or no benefit to you, the consumer. 


Sugar is the biggest culprit in energy drinks, and after two or three energy drinks, you’re putting four to six times the recommended amount of sugar into your body, according to a study by Time. That’s a huge amount!

And it’s not just sugar, either. There are plenty of filler ingredients that do nothing for you but can hurt you in the long run. Besides all that, there’s the crash that comes once the energy drinks have worn off. This is due to the many different ingredients found within.

Energy Pills

The ingredients used in most energy pills are chosen specifically for their positive benefits and are carefully measured into the perfect formula for success. There is no sugar, either, so diabetes won’t be a lingering concern. The ingredients in these pills work together to give you energy, focus, and concentration. Best of all, there’s no crash once the effects wear off (unlike with most energy drinks).

Many of the ingredients in energy drinks are just filler and don’t actually make a difference in performance, according to a recent study. It's important to look for a product that is based on science and lists the actual ingredients. Ideally, every ingredient should have the dosage listed instead of being lumped in as a "proprietary blend".

Ease of Intake

Regular Energy Drinks


The fact about drinks is you need a free hand to consume the beverage (unless you’re playing with a beer helmet, that is). Of course, there is always a lull or two during gameplay in which you can make an attempt to take a drink. Say you’ve been killed and are waiting to respawn. Perfect! Time to chug. You respawn mid gulp, and in an effort to get back to the game so you’re not spawn killed (bloody campers…), you hastily put your drink on the table. In your excitement, however, the can wobbles and then tips, making a royal mess of everything.

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. And it’s not fun.

That’s where the pill comes into play.

Energy Pills

A pill is obviously easier to take than a drink (although you may need a drink to help it float down). This can be done before you start playing, so both hands are free and you’re not in a rush. Once the pill is swallowed, sit back and let it go to work for the next several or so hours. Unlike energy drinks, you don’t need to constantly replenish yourself. Pop in a pill and you’re good to go!


Regular Energy Drinks

Going on a trip? Energy drinks are a good way to keep yourself awake. Not only does the caffeine buzz help, but the physical action of taking a sip now and again can help ease the boredom. But that’s about where it all stops being convenient.

While driving, you need your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Drinking from a can takes up one of your hands. You could get cut off in traffic, hit a slippery patch, or need to do a tight turn. All these scenarios become more difficult with just one hand on the wheel. And have you ever tried to down the last vestiges of the can while driving? To do that, you have to knock your head back to get in the last sip. While your head is back, who’s watching the road? Nobody.


But maybe you’re flying and you need to stay awake on the flight to work on a project (or play your games). The TSA doesn’t allow you to bring in your own drinks, and the price of airport food and drink is jacked up something fierce. It looks like energy drinks are not ideal in this scenario, either.

Energy Pills

That brings us to traveling with energy pills. Take one before a long drive to help keep yourself awake. Best of all, you don’t need to use one of your hands while driving to keep the pill in place (hint: it’s already swallowed), and it lasts for many, many hours, so chances are you won’t need to replenish yourself on the trip. As for airports, the TSA won’t take them from you if they’re not liquid. Just make sure you keep them in their original packaging…you know, just in case they get curious.

While energy drinks might add some refreshing elements to your trip, energy pills are much more efficient, effective, and easy to administer while on the road (or in the sky).

Dietary Effects

Energy Drinks

As deduced previously, unless you're drinking a premium healthy energy drink like G Fuel, it can take quite a few regular energy drinks to see you through your gaming sessions. Constantly drinking so much liquid will not only fill you up (thus making you feel more lethargic), but can make you feel uncomfortable as well. Bloating and other negative side effects can come from too many regular energy drinks.

Energy Pills

As you might expect, energy pills don’t fill you up. Just pop one in (with a swig of water) and that’s all you need to do! By not having to reserve stomach space for three cans of energy drinks, you can instead focus on healthier food options, like Dorito’s and Oreos.

(Just kidding about the Dorito’s and Oreos, you should be eating healthier snacks, like healthy chocolate.)

Eating healthily is another way to feel good and get energy, but with a stomach full of regular, sugary energy drinks, eating is difficult at best. By using an energy pill, you won’t feel bloated, lethargy will become something of the past, and you won’t have to worry about any filler ingredients making your stomach feel funny.

Just one more reason to go with the pill over the drink.


Regular Energy Drinks

You’re not loaded with cash. If you were, you wouldn’t be stuck at your 9-5 job (or whatever unholy schedule your job makes you keep). You scrimp and save so you can afford the necessities – rent, food, gas, energy drinks…the basics.

But have you stopped to think about how much those regular energy drinks actually cost? They’re practically sucking you dry! (Which is ironic considering they’re a “drink” and should be the very opposite of dry.) Let’s look at some price points, shall we?

Unless you're drinking a premium healthy energy drink like G Fuel, paying so much for regular energy drinks is expensive. Depending on the kind you get, a 24 pack of Redbull generally costs around $50-70 (before shipping and tax). For 24 cans, that equals $2-$3 per can. Not too shabby, until you think about how often you drink one. An 8.4 ounce can such as these will give the drinker a few hours of energy. For extended gaming sessions, you’ll need at least two or three cans to keep you going strong.

Energy Pills

A bottle of Sports Research energy pills, however, contains a 60 day supply for $20.00, making these capsules cost about $.50 each (assuming you take the recommended dose of one pill). These capsules give you laser-like focus, can help improve reaction time, and supply a surge of energy for several hours from each pill. Assuming you don’t need more than several hours of energy for gaming in a day, that’s just 1-3 pills per session. Pretty good deal.

As far as price point goes, pills win.

Final Thoughts

Regular energy drinks do have their place in society. The best energy drinks not only provide flavor, which can certainly help give life to an ongoing game (so to speak), but are actually healthy for you. Choosing a healthy energy drink will give you mental clarity, and focus with long-lasting energy to get you to the next level. All the while being healthly.

Taking a sip of a regular energy drink here and there can help to quench your thirst (then again, there’s also that free, clear liquid that comes out of your kitchen tap you could use for that same purpose). Regular energy drinks may also take less time to start providing you with extra energy (but not by much). And, of course, there’s the fact that energy drinks are much more common than energy pills, and thereby much easier to come by.

Pills can also have a negative stigma attached to them. But remember: it’s what’s inside that counts. Choosing pills that are chalk full of all the good stuff (no, not that kind of “good stuff”), will provide you with a healthy and safe alternative to regular energy drinks.

As a gamer, energy drinks are practically a way of life. But if there was a better, more effective method, wouldn’t you want to know about it?

Well, here we are, letting you know about it.

Go ahead and give energy pills a go. Not only will you be doing your body a favor, but you’ll also notice a difference you just can’t find with energy drinks.

You’re welcome.

Jordan Knight is the vice president of eSports at Stimpack. He loves competitive gaming and helping competitors reach their peak performance. He remains committed to the community and has had success both in-game and outside of gaming.

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