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Not long ago, bikers only rely on water, flat cola, and sports drinks for their carbohydrate needs during rides. Fortunately for us, the latest breakthroughs in sports nutrition paved the way for a wide variety of products that are designed to give us energy during long hauls. Below are some of the best energy gels on the market today.
10 Best Energy Gels for 2021
Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel
Formulated based on the findings of sports science research, the Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel packs in 80 calories and 20 g of carbohydrates. It is perfect for endurance athletes whose passion lies in taking things further…and farther. If you engage in distance training, you’ll love this. The gel is formulated in a way that gives it the smoothest mouthfeel.
This energy gel comes in four flavors: mango, blackberry, apple pear, and vanilla. Take it with water before and/or during training.
Made with: Water, maltodextrin, brown rice syrup, sugar, salt, citric acid, potassium citrate, xanthan gum, natural flavor, calcium citrate.
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel
The Honey Stinger product stays true to its claim of being organic – it contains 98% organic ingredients! With raw honey as its primary source of sugar (100 calories) and 32 mg caffeine, you can power through your workout without any problem. It is gluten-free too.
The Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel is versatile: you can take it in many ways. It can be consumed as is before or during training. It is also a great breakfast supplement, be it on your toast or stirred into your cup of tea. If you like sports drinks, just add water. It comes in six unique flavors: acai pomegranate, fruit smoothie, mango orange, strawberry kiwi, ginseng, and “gold”.
Made with: Organic tapioca syrup, organic honey, potassium citrate, salt, citric acid, natural flavor, green tea concentrate. May contain trace concentrations of milk.
GU Energy Gel
GU Energy Gel contains 100 calories of pure energy. It is designed to help endurance bikers perform their best. This energy gel uses two sources of energy from fructose and maltodextrin that use non-competing pathways so you get all the energy you need when you need it.
GU Energy Gel is also fortified with branched-chain amino acids to help reduce mental fatigue and decrease muscle damage. This variety pack comes in several flavours: strawberry banana, tri-berry, jet blackberry, vanilla bean, salted caramel, and chocolate outrage.
Huma PLUS Chia Energy Gel
Huma was first conceptualized in 2009, when a 1st Lieutenant of the US Army, then stationed in Iraq, read about the Tarahumara. They are a tribe of Mexican Indians that holds cultural hundred-mile races. The secret to their endurance lies in a special chia seed blend. Today’s Huma formula is one of the best, thanks to a renowned culture, sports nutrition research, and the use of real food ingredients.
With twice the amount of natural electrolytes versus other energy gels, the Huma PLUS Chia Energy Gel contains all-natural ingredients that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan-friendly. Chia seeds are at the heart of this formula to regulate your energy uptake. And HUMA didn’t forget the nine essential amino acids!
The Chia Energy Gel comes in 4 Huma PLUS flavors (strawberry lemonade, berries & pomegranate, blackberry banana, and chocolate raspberry) and 8 regular Huma flavors (apples & cinnamon, blueberries, café mocha, chocolate, lemonade, mangoes, raspberries, and strawberries).
Consume this with water before and during your workout.
Made with: Grape juice concentrate, brown rice syrup, lemon juice, fruit puree and concentrate, water, powdered chia seeds, sea salt, coconut water powder, natural caffeine.
Muir Energy Real Food Energy Gel
The Muir Energy Real Food Energy Gel comes in several delicious flavours: passion fruit fruit pineapple banana, cacao almond, and cashew vanilla.
Made from organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO ingredients, this energy gel is perfect cyclists. Better tasting and more nutritious than your typical energy gels, Muir Energy Real Food Energy Gel will power you through you century rides and road biking adventures.
Clif Shot Energy Gel
The Clif Shot Energy Gel contains 90% organic ingredients and has a lightweight consistency that allows it to be consumed easily. It is the ideal blend of electrolytes, carbohydrates (especially from dried cane syrup), and even caffeine.
Take it with water before and during exercise. The Clif Shot Energy Gel comes in chocolate, chocolate cherry, citrus, double espresso, and mocha flavors.
Made with: Organic maltodextrin, organic dried cane syrup, water, natural flavor, potassium citrate, sea salt, caffeine in some flavors. May contain trace concentrations of milk.
Boostme Energy Gel
Boostme Energy Gel is specifically formulated for athletes and endurance bikers. It provides long lasting relief and energy from its patented blend of 4 wild-grown herbs.
Made from all natural ingredients, you can ride with confidence that this energy gel will not hurt your stomach. The Boostme Energy Gel is vegan, 100% non-GMO, and gluten-free. It also contain no added sugars. Each serving comes with only 20 calories with 5 grams of carbohydrates to support your energy needs.
Carb Boom! Energy Gel
The Carb Boom! Energy Gel is filled with all-natural fruit flavors and has a smooth consistency for trouble-free consumption during intense physical activity. It contains 24-25 g of carbohydrates and just 2-3 g of simple sugars from fruit puree and concentrates. The combination of simple and complex carbohydrates makes the gel easy to digest.
It comes in six fun flavors: apple cinnamon, banana peach, grape pomegranate, raspberry, strawberry kiwi, and vanilla orange.
Made with: Maltodextrin, water, fruit puree, and concentrate, citric acid, potassium citrate, sea salt, cinnamon, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate.
Science in Sport Energy Gel Variety Pack
The Science in Sports Energy Gel is the world’s first isotonic gel capable of delivering a quick supply of carbohydrates for your immediate energy needs. Designed to be taken without water, this energy gel prevents bloating that can affect your biking performance. Optimized for performance, the Science in Sports Energy Gel packs 22 grams of easily digestible carbohydrates to help restore your depleted glycogen levels quickly.
The Science in Sports Energy Gel has been tested vigorously by third-party sports nutrition labs to make sure you’re getting nothing but the best.
Transcend Glucose Gels
Need a quick energy fix? The Transcend Glucose Gels packs 15 grams of glucose per pack to help you replenish your depleted glycogen stores quickly. It comes in a delicious natural strawberry flavor with a syrup-like consistency. Say goodbye to chewing! The Transcend Glucose Gels are used by EMS, doctors, diabetics, and athletes across the globe.
PacificHealth Accel Gel
The PacificHealth Accel Gel is an all-natural protein powered gel designed to give instant energy during rides. This awesome product packs a patented 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein to facilitate rapid energy transport and muscle cells uptake.
To take advantage of PacificHealth Accel Gel, take one serving 5 minutes before riding and then every 45 minutes during the ride. According to studies, this energy gel can help reduces muscle damage caused by intense physical activity by up to 50%. It also helps increase your riding endurance by up to 13%.
PacificHealth Accel Gel’s easy to tear pouch delivers a total of 100 calories, 20 grams carbohydrates, and 5 grams of protein.
Frequently Asked Questions About Energy Gels
1. How do energy gels work?
When biking, your body uses two primary fuel sources — fats and carbohydrates. Fat is largely abundant but the process of breaking it down into usable energy is very slow. Thus, making it an ineffective fuel source for your immediate energy needs.
So, when biking, your body relies on carbohydrates for energy. However, unlike fat, your body can only store a limited amount of it in your muscles. According to studies, the human body can only store about 90 minutes of worth of muscle glycogen.
Energy gels are designed to quickly replenish depleted carbohydrates in the body.
2. Why use energy gels?
Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles as well as in the blood. For glycogen to reach the muscles, it has to be digested first, absorbed by the intestinal wall, and then delivered to muscles that need it. This process is inefficient and takes some time.
Energy gels help your ride hard by “waking up” your brain. The brain ONLY runs on glucose stored in the blood. When you bike, your muscles absorb more glucose than normal leaving your brain with a depleted food supply. As supply runs low, you will start feeling hazy (which I’m sure you’ve encountered in one of your rides.)
In short, energy gels fuel your mind. It helps you stay focused during the ride but does not necessarily help avoid the bonk in your muscles.
3. When should I take energy gels?
Like energy bars, timing is critical when taking energy gels. And it varies from one person to another. One cyclist can feel the effect of energy gels in 3 minutes while some take 15 minutes. This variation is caused by how your body reacts to the gel. Remember that as you ride, most of your blood flow is focused on your legs to keep your rolling forward. In some cases, the body even shuts the stomach down instead of just slowing it!
The key here is taking the energy gel early in the ride. Because your body is not yet under great duress, the chances of processing the gel faster without facing stomach problems are higher. Depending on how your body reacts on energy gels during training, I recommend taking your first dose between 45-60 minutes of the ride.
4. How often should I take energy gels?
Like what we’ve discussed earlier, how your body reacts to energy gels determines how often you take them. Because digestion will be slower during the ride, you need to be careful not to overload your stomach. So, we suggest you wait between 45-60 minutes between each take.
Another reason why you should wait for such a long time is to avoid getting sick from taking in too much sugar. Remember that energy gels are made from simple sugars and is absorbed by the body as glucose. Glucose will stay in your blood until it’s absorbed by the body.
5. Why do I have to take energy gels with water?
The answer is simple: without water, it will take forever for energy gels to get digested and enter the bloodstream. It defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Also, never take energy gels alone or with a sports drink like Gatorade. Why? Because you risk yourself of taking in too many simple sugars at once. Seriously, taken together, an energy gel and sports drink could yield 60 grams of pure sugar at once! Crazy!
There are many energy gels in the market today. We suggest experimenting on each of these until you find the brand that works best for you. Always do your homework and read labels carefully. Energy gels are very beneficial for long, endurance rides. They help boost performance and even aid in muscle recovery.