Top Energy Gels

Use Goo to Fuel Your Long Workouts

When you are walking fast or running on a long distance event, an energy gel gives you needed fuel that doesn't need to be chewed. Trying to eat an energy bar or ​another solid snack while you're breathing hard brings a risk of choking. With energy gels, you just squeeze them into your mouth and swallow. It is wise to drink water after using an energy gel to help it absorb. On long walks, use gel after the first hour and then at least hourly. Gels have approximately 100 calories per packet.


GU Energy Gel
GU Energy Gel. Courtesy of Amazon

GU energy gel uses complex carbohydrates for sustained energy without a sugar rush. Flavors include Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Outrage, Orange Burst, Just Plain, Tri Berry, and Banana Blitz. The Just Plain tastes sweet without any flavor but a hint of imagined vanilla. Some flavors have caffeine (the equivalent of a fifth of a cup of coffee) except for the stronger Espresso flavor and several flavors that don't have caffeine. You can also buy it in a 15-serving pouch to refill your own gel squeeze bottle. That means less waste and trash left out on the road. While it might be cleaned up at an organized race, when you are training you would have to be mindful to carry you trash with you until you can discard it appropriately.



Carb Boom! Energy Gel
Carb Boom! Energy Gel. Courtesy of Amazon

Carb-BOOM bases its energy on complex carbohydrates and keeping simple sugars low. Carb-BOOM is much more refreshing than the cloying, intense sugar goo of most energy gels. Give it a try, you may love it. It comes in flavors such as Vanilla Orange (caffeine), Strawberry Kiwi, Banana Peach, and Apple Cinnamon in 1.4 ounce foil packets. Also comes in "big boom" size for refilling a gel flask.



PowerBar PowerGel
PowerBar PowerGel. Courtesy of Amazon

PowerGel is 80 percent complex carbohydrates and 20 percent simple carbohydrates for both quick and sustained energy. It comes in many flavors. Chocolate, Tangerine and Strawberry Banana contain a blend caffeine, kola nut extract and ginseng. Tangerine is double caffeinated. Vanilla, Lemon Lime, and Tropical Fruit are caffeine free.



Clif Shot Energy Gel
Clif Shot Energy Gel. Courtesy of Amazon

The company that makes Clif bars also produces Clif Shot energy gels. They are between 85 and 90 percent organic. They come in a variety of decaf flavors including Chocolate, Razz, Citrus, and Viva Vanilla. Caffeinated flavors include Chocolate Cherry, Double Espresso, Mocha and Sonic Strawberry and have the caffeine equivalent of half of a cup of coffee. The package has a "litter leash" to keep the tab attached and not littering the ground.



Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel. Courtesy of Amazon

Honey Stinger provides natural honey with electrolytes and vitamins. It has a low glycemic index and so it gives you sustained energy without the sugar bonk. It comes in honey flavor and a Ginsting version that adds ginseng for an energy boost. They also have organic flavors including fruit smoothie, acai and pomegranate, vanilla, mango orange, caffeinated chocolate and caffeinated strawberry kiwi.


What Energy Gel Will Be Given Away at Your Race?

If you have registered for a marathon or half marathon, check their website to see if they will be providing energy gel on the course. If you plan to pick up your freebie during the race, it is wise to train with it on several of your long workouts in advance. That way you will find out if your digestive system tolerates it well.

You may get samples for energy gels you haven't tried in the registration goodie bag at packet pick-up. Save those for future use. Remember, eat nothing new on race day or even as much as two days before your race.

If you are a walker or slow runner, be prepared for the gel table to have run out of goo packets before you get there. Even if they have them, they probably don't have your favorite flavor. It's wise to carry your own so you know you will have it when you need it.


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