Energy Gel Q&A

A Cornucopia of Energy GelsSome of the most asked questions in a running store revolve around energy gels. When should I take energy gels? How often? What if I’m only going three miles? Do I still need to GU? If you’ve ever found yourself wondering the same things, keep reading. We’ve got your energy gel FAQs answered!

How often should I take energy gels?

While the consumption of energy gels varies depending on your personal needs, metabolism, and activity, a good rule of thumb is take a GU (or the energy gel or chew of your choice) 15 minutes before your activity and then approximately every 45 minutes after that. But keep in mind this is not a hard and fast rule. On race day, for instance, nerves, adrenaline, and an increased pace can mess with your digestive system, and you may find it difficult to stick to your game day nutrition plan. That’s okay. Don’t make yourself sick trying to consume a specific number of calories. Listen to your body.

If I’m going only 3 miles, do I still need to GU?

Probably not during the run itself. But if you’re feeling a little sluggish before you begin, taking a GU will give you a needed boost, especially if work, errands, and daily distractions mean your pre-workout diet has been less than ideal.

Why do some energy gels have caffeine and some don’t?

To give you choices! Caffeine has been scientifically proven to improve athletic performance by acting as a stimulant, increasing focus, and lowering perceived effort. Some people like more caffeine; some people like less. And of course, some would rather have none at all. It’s simply a matter of personal preference.

What’s the difference between GU and GU Roctane?

After 2-3 hours of intense activity, carbs alone aren’t enough. Products such as GU Roctane are made for long training and racing sessions. In addition to complex and simple sugars for immediate and sustained energy, GU Roctane contains protein for muscle function; 3 times more amino acids to combat muscle fatigue, accelerate the conversion of carbohydrates into usable energy, and maintain mental focus; 3 times more electrolytes such as sodium and potassium; 10 times more Histidine to buffer lactic acid build-up; and the amino acid OKG, which prevents the body from breaking down muscle protein and speeds recovery. Take GU Roctane the same way you would take regular GU: 15 minute before your workout and every 45 minutes after that.

What’s the best energy gel out there?

The one that works best for your body. Whether it’s GU, Honey Stinger, Accel, or Power Bar, each energy gel addresses the primary needs of the endurance athlete—such as complex and simple carbohydrates, electrolytes, and other vital ingredients—while offering its own unique set of nutrient, flavor, and caffeine options. Those long weeks of training are the perfect time to experiment with energy gels and find the one that works for you!

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