Energy Gels: who, when and why?

Many people are not fans of energy gels at first… they can be sticky, thick and hard to get down. Why would anyone use an energy gel? Why not just stick to energy bars and sports drinks? All good questions… read on:
what is an energy gel?
The best way to think of an energy gel is like a good sports drink with most of the water sucked out of it (although that’s not how they are made). If you’re using a good gel, then everything you need during your workout or competition is right in the gel – everything except the water that is!
what about water?
You need water, and lots of it during an kind of endurance activity (running, cycling, triathlon, soccer, hockey, football, etc.). The recommendation by the American College of Sports Medicine is actually 16-32 ounces per hour. But that doesn’t mean you have to carry it around with you. Water is bulky and heavy.
who should use energy gels?
All endurance athletes can benefit from energy gels, but the most obvious uses are for those that have to carry and transport their nutrition. Runners in particular are the biggest users of energy gels. During a half of full marathon for example, you need carbohydrates, electrolytes and water. There’s plenty of water along the course, but the nutrition offered is usually super high in sugar and not what you want to be using. So just carry your energy gel, take the course water and you’re all set! Gels are also a great choice for triathletes, cyclists, hikers, climbers, etc. Athletes that play court sports and field sports can use gels, or they can use a good sports drink – for them it becomes more a choice of personal preference.
everyone is different

Do you run out of energy (bonk), have stomach issues or leg cramps? Use our Sherpa Nutrition Guide tool to figure out what types of products are best for you. It’s free, quick and easy!

how do you use gels?
With Water! The biggest mistake that athletes make with energy gels is that they take them with a sports drink or other food. Bad idea. One of the advantages of an energy gel is that it is absorbed through osmosis with no digestive requirements. But for that to all happen the way it’s supposed to you have to drink water. Taking other drinks and food can slow the absorption and cause stomach distress, not what you want while you’re working out. So just take your energy and water, it’s that easy.
how much should you use?

A general rule of thumb is one every 30-60 minutes, but like most rules of thumb that’s not the best way to determine your needs and how you are going to perform at your best. For runners and cyclist we have developed nutrition analysis tools that will allow you to easily determine all of your needs (energy, hydration, electrolytes, etc.). Click below to use these free tools:

what energy gel should you use?

The problem with most gels is that they are either high in sugar (see video above), or they don’t have the electrolytes you need. Electrolytes are critical to help maintain hydration and avoid muscle cramps and injuries. Only e-Gel Electrolyte Energy Gel gives you everything you need right in the gel!

  • 4 x Electrlytes to avoid cramping and injuries
  • Loaded with complex carbs, just what you want!
  • Low in sugar to avoid spikes and crashes
  • Multi-carbs source (read why you want a little fructose)
  • Thinner consistency, no more choking on thick gels!
  • 150 calories per pack, fewer to carry, less trash to deal with
  • no artificial colors, sweeteners or sugar substitutes
  • no caffeine (read why)
  • no fat, fiber or protein (video)
  • aminos and antioxidants to reduce lactic acid, soreness and speed recovery
  • large easy-grip top
  • we beat the competition (see for yourself)
  • customer proof (read below)

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