Energy gels were birthed from a need for a convenient, quick-delivery system of carbohydrates during endurance exercise. They enhance performance and help you avoid “bonking” by delaying muscular fatigue and raising blood sugar levels.
The size of an energy gel packet and the amount of carbohydrates crammed into the packet make it a great option for athletes. Getting energy from a drink would require way too much liquid and getting energy from a snack bar requires too much chewing while moving – choking hazard!
Many companies have jumped on the energy gel wagon. Now you have to sift through all the choices to get the right gel for you!
Here are a couple important factors to keep in mind as you read through the reviews on this site and choose a gel:
1) Energy, Not Hydration
The primary goal of an energy gel is to give you energy, not to keep you hydrated. Make sure you have a strategy for hydrating (i.e. plenty of water with Nuun electrolyte tablets or Gatorade) in addition to choosing a gel.
2) Potential GI Distress
There is a lot of bad juju out there about gels causing tummy problems. When exercising, your body diverts blood away from the stomach and into the muscles that need it most, so your stomach isn’t working at optimal levels. Processed sugars, additives, and preservatives can cause GI distress in general, but these things are even harder on your stomach when you are exercising. You have to find the gel that works for you, and ingredients may make all the difference. If you already have a sensitive stomach, proceed with caution if there are ingredients in a gel that you don’t recognize.
3) They don’t all taste bad!
There are so many gel options out there that you do not have to settle for one that tastes awful!! You won’t use gels the way you are supposed to if you dread the taste, so then you won’t reap the benefits! Diligently try them one at a time until you get one you actually like and you’ll be glad you did, I promise.