I’ve mentioned my favorite means of refueling during a long run to several people and gotten a resounding, “Wah???? Tell me more!”. Apparently, energy gels are not common knowledge to all athletes, and I have no idea why.
I guess, since they were primarily designed by the running community, it’s not fair to expect adopters from other sports to be on board. I did sort of anticipate that runners would herald the knowledge to the other sports they participate in though.
So let me lay some knowledge on you if you don’t have it already. You should all know by now that muscles primarily utilize carbohydrates as energy during physical activity; and that electrolytes, or salts (potassium if you’re picky) help the body replace what is lost through sweat. And I’m sure you all know about sports drinks, i.e. Powerade, Gatorade, etc.
But sometimes sports drinks are inconvenient, or you don’t consume enough, or you consume too much. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to know exactly what the calorie/carb/potassium content of what you ingest is? Pretty awesome info to have if you track that sort of thing.
Maybe you just want to time your intake for a boost at just the right time, or give you that second wind at the end of your workout. Energy gels are perfect. Here’s a little review (not endorsing the site, just the overview). It tells you when to take one, how to take one, and their advantages as well as covers a few of the popular options:
My favorites are Cliff Shot Blocks – because you can chew them, they are vegan (I’m not, but it’s nice to know) and gluten free.
And Accel-gels which are more pudding like in consistency. They store easier than the gels, because they come in a single serve container, but they are all or nothing. Can’t carry around a partially consumed gel.
Both come in multiple flavors and do a great job. Not all energy gels are made alike or tolerated alike. You sort of have to try a bunch to find out which ones work the best for you and your activity. Some people lean more towards Luna Moons or Sport Beans; and some folks will never give up their sports drinks. It’s all very subjective.
If you are a performance athlete of any sort – fighter, runner, cyclist, wrestler, or whatever, I suggest you play around with energy supplements like these to find the nutritional boost that may enhance your performance.