1. Nutrition

1.2 Energy Gel

“Took the shotz gel ..during race, dun know whether true energy or psychological, manage to run from there to finish pt though I was fatigued then…. “

Energy Gel Nutritional Info, read especially on the General Usage, “15 Before Every 45 – Hydrate Along the Way”. It seems to imply that you need to take a gel every 45 minutes. Treat this message as great baseline advice: consume a gel pack every 45 minutes when you’re running relatively hard like in a marathon or half marathon race is pretty solid advice to prevent bonking (“Bong” and Hitting the Wall” will be discussed in future Part).

Another energy gel Nutritional Information, this time of fruity choice:

“Most energy gel packs contain about the same calorie units ~about 100+/-10 calories/pack. ..difference being the concoction of the ingredients to give the optimum energy release, some come extra with non-energy adders like caffeine, electrolytes and so on. ..also the caffeine part which I can feel the effect, and of course the fatigue-relieving sugars. …also….other factors like texture and taste…”

We need to compare the differences of energy gels, in calories, carbs and others.

How about energy gel vs energy drinks. How about caffeine (mg) in energy gel, it is better to relieve fatigue?

“Some people have tolerance issue with specific type of carbs or even caffeine..which can send them straight to the toilet on the run….won’t want that to happen in a race.”

” I tend to like diluted gels because I don’t time my gel intake with water stops. Besides, very few races have signs informing the runner how far away the next water stop is. Hence my preference towards watery gels.”

“I have tried quite a few brands – GU, Powerbar, Hammer, Honey Stinger, & Maxifuel. My current favorite is Maxifuel simply because it has more water content and is easier to consume. The flip side of being more diluted is that it weighs much more. Most gel packs like GU or Hammer weighs about 30g, but the Maxifuel weighs 70g! If you carry say 4 packs on a race belt during a marathon race, it’s going to bounce a lot. Another ‘diluted’ brand is the SIS Go gel which I’ve yet to try. But it’s also a ‘heavy’ pack at 60g. I only take gels during a race to give me some slight boost, but avoid them during training long runs.”

Most distance runners use fuel belts, loaded with energy gels. Yes, sometimes they are too bulky, and the fuel belt bounces a lot.

Ultra runner: “The longer you are out on a run, the more likely you will need some type of sustenance. I can run for 3 hours with having only eaten breakfast an hour before my run!…I avoid gels, unless there is nothing else or have been unable to eat solids during the event. This is to avoid the sugar highs and low.”

Ok.. time out.. …pre-Run..eaten breakfast an hour before the run.. 3-hour run (or race)..avoid gels..unless there is nothing to eat solids during the event..banana/muffin/snacks/fruits?…avoid the sugar highs and low, the side-effects of energy gel?

Those who favour the alternatives to energy-gel:

“So far what i tried successfully is to have bananas n yoghurt 2 hours before the race…if during race there is no banana provided so i took the gel instead…I find banana with yoghurt a very cheap affordable alternative to gel.”

“A cereal bar provides a longer blast of energy but is difficult to eat when it is hot!”

“I tried fruit bars but after a long run, mine became “melted”, got sticky and such not a good choice”

The alternative to energy-gel of 100 calories for example with 53g of Snickers Bar of about 250 calories can provides a “blood sugar spike” for at least 10-minute:

How does this explain avoid the sugar highs and low, the side-effects of energy gel?

My personal experience: Having done many 1/2 marathon, full marathon, and ultramarathon within a period of 1.5 months, having taken countless energy-gel during training and races, I once consulted the Doctor with complaints of frequent headaches. I was diagnosed with having lesser in critical level of red-blood cells (RBC). I was termed as by the doctor after blood test result, “Are you a vegan – vegetarian”. I confessed that I have used energy gels for most training and also races. The doctor said, “ok” with the following explanation:

Energy gel is artificial lab-produced carbo mostly complex and chemical based, not organic – cause blood sugar level to spike. When consumed during endurance actitivities, heart rate goes up. Body reacted to produce burning of fuel from this “artificial CHO” with hormones of body responded to this as “fight-or-fright which is an acute stress response to threatening situtation”. Excessive production of hormones to support the blood sugar level to spike, often is the side-effects is if after endurance race.

When the body no longer need that sugar level to spike, the hormones still think otherwise. The causes excessive production of hormones. Instead of over-production of RBCs, now, the counter-reaction will be the RBC age faster than the White Blood Cell (WBC). The Doctor explains why I am now in a state of WBC-excessive in critical stage.

I need blood test again (3 months), and again (3-months), to balance the critical level of RBC. I needed to cut-down endurance activities , curb the consumption of energy gel (I had became addictive). I have learned to “fuel on fat for the long run”, may not be efficient, but that is the best and organic way which alternative to energy gel.

Yes, energy gels are still needed due to that. Race organisers will never provide better alternative on energy fuel for endurance distance runner because this has become “individual” fuel needs for most individual distance runs. Quite unfortunately, the only way is load and be self sufficient, carry energy gels just in case, during training/races.

Information: Energy Gels Does the new fad in sports nutrition really improve endurance?

1. You don’t need gels on most of your training runs.

2. Gels are a great tool for racing a half or full-marathon.

3. It’s good to take gels when racing half and full marathons and on some long training runs in anticipation of those races to determine that your body can handle a particular variety for the race.

4. Using gels more than this is hurting your performance, your wallet too..

5. CAVEAT! of course, those train in energy-gel, most probably peers say good for you or marketing hype says must take. Just don’t get too carried over, and get extremely becoming “addicted” to buy dozens.

Advice: Please do NOT go cold turkey and start running completely without them. Please wean yourself off, extend the intervals between gels by 2-3km a week until you don’t need them any more, something like that. By consuming the gels all the time your body isn’t ready to go crazy with the fat burning and will need time to adjust. Learn how to “fuel on fat for the long run” and save the $$$ on gels.

Go for organic “energy gel alternative”: Let the body builds naturally which is the best organic gel. Follow what you plan on nutrition and hydration needs, modify maybe running technique to “Run Right Run Light” and listen to your body. Let the body work with you based on heart rate (aerobic heart rate), and let not the body work against you, naturally in race with fatique and cramps. Adapt and manage post-recovery, injury management with strength, stamina, flexibility, balance, coordination, and agility.

Hope you have fun in Brisk Walking/Running for better Health and Exercise. Metabolism for Runs shall be introduced in Part 4.

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