A big thanks to Caleb McInnes for penning a few thoughts on Energy Gels for Triathletes, Duathletes and Endurance Athletes in General. Take it away, Caleb!
For years I experimented with gels; taste, consistency and ingredients and for years I couldn’t find anything that worked. Ingesting and digesting fuel while performing at high intensity often for hours on end, is I think one of the hardest things to get right in sport and like everything else you need to work out what your body needs and how your body can handle it.
I am no expert on nutrition but I do have well rounded background in health, having done degrees in Biomedical Science, majoring in Human Biology and Human Movement as well as a Podiatry degree. I have practiced for almost 8 years as a Sports Podiatrist and integrate my knowledge from both degrees into practice.
Everyone is different and hence everyone’s body will handle things differently. It is well known that “fat’’ is our longest lasting energy source and while we need this to keep going we also need certain sugars, “glucose” being the main one to help our muscles work. For me eating on the bike and run was something I did, not because I could easily (I hated it), but because I had to to keep me going. Having said that, I got stomach upset and often vomited at high intensity. This made me try many different brands and eventually I found Vfuel!
What makes it work for me. It is tasty, has a good consistency that is easy to swallow and has NO “fructose”, which for many people contributes to stomach upset, particularly when ingesting it while working hard.
My tips for you. Find something that:
1. You like the taste of
2. Has low levels fructose and sucrose, the more of these sugars you have in a gel the more water you need in your stomach to help digest them and that then draws water from your working muscles.
3. Something that is a good consistency. This will differ for different people
4. Something that works for you and maximizes your performance
For me this is VFuel!!
If you haven’t tried it and struggle with digesting fuel on the go, give it a go! But don’t keep putting up with stomach upset which ultimately impedes your performance