This week we are featuring nutritional items with a product highlight on some of our best selling gels and waffles!
For those venturing into the sport of long-distance running, nutrition is key when pursuing big goals. To support your body for the rigors of half marathon, marathon, and ultra marathon training, you’ll want to hone a solid nutrition strategy well ahead of race day, and energy gels are an easy way to digest much-needed fuel.
To cover long distances, you’ll need to replenish your glycogen stores—what your body primarily uses for energy—that get depleted during big efforts. The best way to do this is by consuming carbohydrates, and energy gels are an easy way to get the job done. They’re rich in carbohydrates, which provide an essential source of energy for endurance athletes, and usually come in portable 1-1.5-ounce packets. For any runner stacking up their mileage, energy gels can help the body perform for the long haul.
“While you exercise, your body draws on carbohydrates stored in your muscles. However, the available amount is limited,” Dietician Katherine Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD, says in a Cleveland Clinic medical journal, while citing the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendation to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of exercise. “Energy gels are simple to consume, not filling and easily digestible. Using gels can help you maintain your energy level and prevent fatigue during intense or prolonged periods of exercise.”
These days, there are plenty of energy gel options available for runners, an important development as every athlete absorbs and processes carbohydrates at a different rate. And remember, it’s also key to sip water while you consume them to keep gastrointestinal (GI) issues at bay.
Whether you’re looking for an all-natural formula, a scientifically crafted recipe, or something in between, you’ll find the right fit for your body with a little bit of research and at-home testing. Here are six energy gels worth trying out for your next long run.
For 30 years, GU has developed some of the most tried and true energy gels on the market. The company offers three different types—the original, Roctane, and liquid—that come in more than 30 different flavors from salted caramel to raspberry lemonade. Depending on your texture preference, you might opt for a smooth gel or go for the fast-absorbing liquid.
Many runners are familiar with HoneyStinger’s energy waffle, but the energy gel is just as notable. Made with organic honey, tapioca syrup, and potassium citrate, among other ingredients, the HoneyStinger energy gel comes in four different flavors, including caffeine options, to fuel athletes for an easy boost of energy on-the-go. HoneyStinger may be your pick if sweeter, fruit-forward recipes are your thing.
For long-duration and high-intensity exercise, GU offers the Roctane energy gel, which carries more electrolytes and amino acids than the original. Each energy gel holds 21-23 grams of carbohydrates per packet. If you’re unsure which to pick for your next training session, check out GU’s handy suggested use guide. If you’re looking for a classic energy gel with plenty of flavor options, GU might be the best fit for you.