Monday, August 29, 2005

Energy gels

2 questions for my readers:

1) Does anyone mix up their own gels? I was just thinking about mixing up my own carbohydrate concentrate, since I can't seem to find one I really like. Read for some ideas on this topic. I'd like to mix up a thick slurry that I can swig out of the gel flask and combine with water from the water stops, either on the bike or on the run, and get the energy I need, supplemented with electrolyte capsules. There's a few recipes online here, too.

2) Is there a commercial gel - any brand, any flavor - out there that really tastes GOOD to anyone when they're working hard and hot and sweaty? I've run through several of them on the market - Powergels, Clif Shots, Hammergels, CarbBooms, etc., and they all taste like warm crap to me when I'm hot. I take them because I know I need them and feel better if I keep my nutrition up, but I really have to choke them down when they start tasting bad.

Recommendations I've gotten so far (I'll keep a list here as I receive them):

  • GU chocolate
  • GU plain (Linae says it 'sucks the least')
  • Hammergel apple cinnamon
  • Hammergel(?) vanilla
  • eGels
  • Hammergels
  • Cytosport Gulp 'n' Go vanilla
  • Another vote for eGels (I think I need a polling feature).

Here's a table of nutrient composition of various gels (thanks Phil!).


Chris said...

I can't really stomach gels. They get too thick after a while to my liking.

I've been using CarboPro for a while now and like it. It's basically tasteless powder that you can mix into your Gatorade (or sports drink of choice) to give it a little more calories. I can easily fill a larger water bottle with 1200 calories without it being too thick of having problems with it dissolving. I don't know if this is a practical option for you, but I thought I'd throw it out there just in case. :)

nancytoby said...

Is CarboPro basically maltodextrin powder? I can't seem to find a website for it that isn't full of hype. Like

*jeanne* said...

I like the clear gels more than the creamy ones, so I prefer Cliff Shots to Gu, generally.

When I am doing a shorter distance, I sort of LIKE many gel flavors (Cliff Shot in Raspberry is good), but when I am doing a FULL marathon distance (or a LONGER LSD run), I start to find them more and more difficult to "enjoy" - no matter WHAT the flavor, no matter WHAT the brand.

Vertical Man said...

The ONLY gels I can stomach are the Crank eGels. They have a tart taste that cuts all the cloying, nasty syrup-like taste and texture. They're 150 calories and have more electrolytes than most other gels. I CANNOT stand GU or Hammer gels, especially when they and I are warm.

Lynne said...

I have never tried any of the gels... They SCARE me - People have told me that you have to drink so much water after - and then risk having to pee during a race :( Any truth to that?

tri-mama said...

I've been using raspberry Gu and it's ok, but gels in general make me hairball. I've given up and now just carry a 12 inch pepperoni pizza with me.

jessie_tri_mn said...

I like hammer gels only because they taste more "real" to me than some of the others. I've never tried the eGels, though.

Also, I like gummy bears for long runs :)

Flatman said...


Make sure you drink lots o' beer with that pizza, so you can absorb the grease more quickly!

nancytoby said...


Peeing just means you're doing well on your hydration! :-)

Mmm, I like that pizza idea. I know some ultrarunners that take along string cheese for a treat...

Phil said...

Here's a good link with nutritonal values for each gel:

I've started using Jam Sandwiches!

From my calculations: 1 sandwich = 160 cals, 35g carbs, 180mg sodium.

I cut them up into 1/4 triangles, and put 2 each into a little baggie: easy to tuck into my jersey, easy to eat on-the-fly, a heck of a lot less messy, and frankly - much better tasting!

1/2 a sandwich (2 triangles) = approximately 1 GU. sounds good too!

Comm's said...

I just finished my jug of Powerbar Recovery and switching to Cytomax Orange and CarboPro Orange. I agree with Chris about getting the cal's the easiest way possible.

I perfer CarBoom Apple cinnamon to any other gel but I will try anything in a non-training environment.

I may try jam sandwiches soon though. Real food is best.

I have also been using a small can of V-8 when I can. Definitely post long ride/run.

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

I mix cola and berry flavor to get a "cherry coke". It's my fav.