Suitable for use when doing sport or any physical activity, energy gels provide a blast of vitality combined with slow release Carbohydrates. Sometimes Energy Bars are not practical for consumption and gels, being far easier to take in, can provide a much more convenient alternative. Energy gels give athletes carbohydrates for both immediate impact and long-term benefit. Lightweight and portable, energy gels come in single serve foil packets. These packets can be torn open and sucked or squeezed into the mouth for fast, convenient consumption with no chewing needed. In terms of the gels themselves, they are small packets of nutrition with a syrupy consistency. The amount needed generally depends on an individual’s size and the type and level of activity they are participating in. Energy gels are essentially concentrated Drinks, so it’s definitely a good idea to have access to water if you are using them. Energy gels work in a fairly simple way. The gels contain carbohydrates, and these carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is the main element that muscles use as fuel. Essentially, energy gels are a glucose boost for athletes to improve performance.
As well as replenishing carbohydrate energy during exercise, energy gels contain electrolytes (sodium and potassium) and may also contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which don’t delay the stomach from emptying as other triglycerides do. In addition, energy gels may contain caffeine in small amounts, which can give the body a boost – caffeine promotes Fat Burning as an increased source of Energy. Sometimes, energy gels contain guarana and this can give the body a big pick up in a similar way to caffeine, but generally guarana (given its potency) is used in very low doses to simply enhance the energy gel’s lift. Other ingredients can include ginseng and Amino Acids, which can increase serotonin synthesis that lowers central fatigue.
As the name suggests, energy gels are developed to energise the body during physical exercise. The body’s glucose store is depleted during exercise, and energy gels can help combat this drop in levels with their high carbohydrate element. One of the main benefits of gels over energy bars is that they allow athletes to avoid the stomach bulk or bloating that is sometimes caused by the carbohydrates in bars and other high carb foods. Energy gels burn cleanly because they have no bulky content, such as fibre or fat. This means that they are particularly useful during sporting or endurance events where athletes don’t wish to eat or feel full but need to maintain carbohydrate levels. It’s a good idea to drink water alongside energy gels due to their concentrated nature, but avoiding energy drinks is recommended as they can impact the gels effect when used in combination. Drinking water is particularly helpful in allowing energy gels to absorb into the body effectively.
As with energy bars and other energy products, it’s a good idea to try energy gels for the first time when training rather than just before or during an event. This way you are able to gauge any potential negative effects prior to competing. To get the best idea of an energy gel’s suitability, try them during exercise under similar conditions to an event or competition in order to experiment with your bodies best intake levels. Energy gels do contain some simple carbohydrates, but these are generally in low proportion, and they fundamentally feature a high proportion of complex carbohydrates. Offering a sustained energy release with a glucose boost and without added fat, fibre and protein, energy gels come in a variety of flavours and each packet normally contains between 80 and 120 calories, depending on the brand of gel.
Energy Gel Supplements are commonly presented & sold as Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods in Australia. Energy-gels are not a sole source of nutrition and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate physical training or exercise programme. Not suitable for children or pregnant women. Should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision. Always read the label prior to use.