Energy gels are a type of sports supplement typically consumed by athletes during endurance events such as marathons, triathlons, and long-distance cycling and obstacle course races.
Energy gels are usually packaged in small, portable packets that can be easily carried in a pocket or hydration pack. They are typically consumed by squeezing the gel out of the packet and into the mouth, and should be taken with water.
HOW DO ENERGY GELS WORK?
Energy gels work by providing a quick and easily digestible source of carbohydrates, which are the body’s primary source of fuel during intense physical activity. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to the muscles to be used as energy.
Consuming energy gels during intense physical activity can help to maintain blood sugar levels, delay fatigue, and improve performance. It is important to note that energy gels should be consumed with water, as they can cause dehydration if consumed without water.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ENERGY GELS?
Energy gels can provide several benefits to athletes and active individuals, including:
- Quick and easily digestible source of energy: If you have ever felt gassed out during a run, it’s most likely because your body is in need of carbohydrates, and energy gels provide just that.
- Convenience: Energy gels are very easy to carry around. You can place them in your pockets or hydration bag.
- Customizable energy intake: Energy gels come in different flavors, calorie and carbohydrate content, allowing athletes to customize their energy intake to their specific needs.
- Cheap: Energy gels are generally less expensive than other sports supplements, such as energy bars, making them a cost-effective option for athletes.
WHAT SPORTS NEED THE USE OF ENERGY GELS?
Endurance sports such as a marathon, ultramarathon, triathlon, cycling, and obstacle course racing are the sports that commonly use energy gels.
These sports typically involve prolonged periods of intense physical activity, during which the body’s glycogen stores can become depleted, leading to fatigue and decreased performance. Energy gels help athletes avoid this and perform at their best.
EVERY WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE ENERGY GELS?
The timing of when to take energy gels depends on the individual and the specific activity. In general, it is recommended to consume energy gels 15-20 minutes before and 30-45 minutes during intense physical activity to maintain high energy levels and delay fatigue.
For endurance events, such as marathons or triathlons, it is recommended to consume energy gels at regular intervals throughout the event. For example, if an athlete is participating in a marathon, they might consume an energy gel every 30 minutes to hour during the race.
CAVEATS WHEN TAKING ENERGY GELS
There are several important caveats to consider when taking energy gels:
- Practice consuming energy gels during training: It is important to practice consuming energy gels during training to ensure that your stomach can tolerate them during an event. Some people may experience an upset stomach when consuming energy gels, so it’s important to test them out during training to see how your body reacts.
- Drink water when consuming energy gels: As mentioned earlier, energy gels can cause dehydration if consumed without water, so it’s important to drink water when consuming these.
- Don’t rely solely on energy gels: Energy gels should be used as part of a well-rounded sports nutrition plan that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Eating a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, is important to ensure that the body has enough fuel to perform at its best during intense physical activity.
ENERGY GEL BRANDS
There are various energy gels you can purchase online or in stores, here are some of the well known brands you should consider:
- Huma – Huma energy gels cost a little over PHP100 per packet. These are available on both Shopee and Lazada and in Nutrition Depot.
- GU – GU Gels cost around PHP690 for a pack of six. These are available on both Shopee and Lazada and in RUNNR
- Buzzfuel – Buzzfuel energy gels cost around PHP50 per packet. These are available on Shopee.
- Clif Shot – Clif Shot costs around PHP690 for a pack of six. These are available on both Shopee and Lazada and in Proactive Sports and Outdoors shops.
- Powerbar – Powerbar energy gels cost a little over PHP800 for a pack of six and are available on Lazada.
Energy gels are definitely something you should consider especially if you’re competing in endurance sports like running a marathon, cycling at long distances, a triathlon, or joining a long distance obstacle course race.
This is an easy and budget friendly way to replenish your energy during the event. However, the most important thing you should do is to test it out during your training first. You never want to try out an energy gel for the first time during your race, the last thing you would want is to have an upset stomach in the middle of your competition.