As it gets hotter and more humid, the next few product reviews are geared towards hydration and fueling. Many people are familiar with an energy gel. There are plenty of brands out there, but GU was the first. Innovation is all we know. GU created the first energy gel over 20 years ago. It also has the widest variety.
There are dozens of articles about: “why runners should take energy gels” and the proper fueling. I won’t go too deep into it. Plus, we are talking fueling in the newsletter this week.
In short, energy gels replenish your depleted carbohydrate stores when running—any endurance athlete from runners to swimmers or cycling benefits from taking fueling during training and racing.
Here is the Quick: “Why You Should Take Fuel While Running”
When you exercise, your body uses two forms of fuel to feed your muscles: fat and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source.
Your body can only store so many carbohydrates into your muscles. The stored carbohydrates are also known as “glycogen.” For most of us, the stored energy lasts about 90 minutes of running.
Fuel gives you a spike in energy and is absorbed into both the muscles and organs. This is where gels or any fuel comes into handy. Most gels contain about 25g of carbohydrates which is suitable for about 45 minutes of running.
This is all relative, and it’s crucial to figure out what works for you. It’s not the same for everyone. Many energy gels, including both GU Energy Gels and GU Roctane, contain other nutrients to help such as electrolytes or caffeine.
The bottom line is you should experiment for your own needs and what works for you. Runners need fuel after about 90 minutes to run their best. You can run longer than 90 minutes without fuel, but you won’t run your best. The longer the distance, the more energy you’ll need.
When Should you Take Fuel and Energy Gels During Long Runs?
The perfect time to take energy gels depends on you and your body. While I’m saying energy gels, it can be substituted for whichever works the best for you, whether you like liquid fuel, gel, block, or even a tab.
Every runner absorbs and processes carbohydrates differently. Some runners can feel the gel within a few minutes of taking it; others can take up to 15 minutes. It will take time and experimentation to figure out when to take gels.
Once you take an energy gel, your body diverts blood away from your stomach and towards your muscles. Sometimes your stomach might shut down completely, which can lead to cramps of bathroom stops. This is why you should take an energy gel with water.
How Often Should You Use Energy Gels?
Since blood is now diverted away from your muscles, it’s important not to overwork the stomach and take too many gels. Many runners take every 6-7 miles or ever 45 minutes. This keeps you from taking too much sugar or even too much caffeine.
A Few Things to Note about Energy Gels:
- Always take an energy gel before you think you need it: When you need a gel, the damage is done, and your glycogen stores are already too low.
- Take with Water: Taking an energy gel and a sugary drink often overwork the system.
Last, but Not Least:
Nothing new on race day, make sure you try your energy gels before you race with them. You don’t need to have stomach issues midway through a race because of a new energy gel.
So What about GUs?
This week, we are talking specifically about Gu and Roctane Energy Gels.
Gu also has the widest variety of flavors and there are even limited-edition flavors that come out. Toasted coconut? Marshmellow? Salted Caramel? Watermelon? Even tastefully nude (IE: plain). They also make the GU Roctane.
Before looking at both GU Roctane and Gu Original, Gu Energy Gels are:
The GU Liquid Energy Gels are Vegan and Gluten-Free.
GU even makes big pouches that you can fill your own container. This reduces waste but also makes it easier if you have a different way of storing GU.
What is GU Roctane?
The GU Roctane line was created for the longest and most extreme efforts.
What is the Difference Between GU Roctane and the Regular GU Energy Gels?
The significant difference between GU Roctane and GU Energy Gels are the addition of more Branched Animo Acids (Also known as (BCAAs), including beta-alanine and taurine.
Like all of GU Products, there are many different ways to ingest the GU Roctane, including Gels, Energy Mix, and Electrolyte Capsules.
Difference Between GU vs. GU Roctane Energy Gels:
Here Are The Benefits Of Each Method of Fueling:
GU Roctane Energy Drink Mix:
- Boosted supply of BCAAs and includes beta-alanine and taurine.
- Branched-Chain Amino Acids reduce muscle damage.
- Beta-Alanine helps prevent soreness and reduce muscle fatigue.
- Several flavors also contain caffeine.
GU Drink Tabs:
- GU Drink Tabs are the most portable way to get sodium, vitamin D, and vitamin B6.
- GU Drink Tabs contain 350mg of sodium
GU Roctane Energy Gel:
- Branched-Chain Amino Acids to reduce muscle damage
- Beta-Alanine to help buffer acidity levels in your muscles which prevent soreness and reduce muscle fatigue
- Taurine to improve heart contractility
Several flavors contain 35mg of caffeine
So What Makes GU Energy Gels and Fuels Good?
GU was the first to create energy gels and has the widest variety of products. If you are looking to try several different flavors, GU probably has the one you are looking for. Plus, there is also the widest variety of products from energy mixes, to GU Roctane, to Energy Gels and GU Drink Tabs. There are so many options. While no energy gel tastes amazing, there is bound to be a GU flavor and fueling method that works for you.
If you’re interested in more Gel reviews:
What Makes Maurten Energy Gel and Drink Mixes Different?
You can see more gear reviews here.
Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.
Questions for you:
What is your gel flavor of choice?
Do you find you need more energy gels and fueling in the summer?
Best gel flavour is rhubarb and custard by torq
My gel flavor of choice is vanilla. I prefer GU over other brands mainly because it doesn’t have an excessive amount of sodium. I’ve never had an electrolyte problem, even in the hottest weather, and I always avoid excess sodium.
I really don’t “need” energy gels at all. I’ve trained my body to burn fat reserves for fuel, as opposed to stored glycogen.
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