I’ll never forget that time I was walking along Vancouver’s beautiful sea wall and kept coming across empty energy gel packets littered all over the path. A marathon had taken place the day before and I was a) horrified at the litterbugs and b) intrigued by these gel things. What did they do? Who would want to squirt gel into their mouths while running? I had so many questions.
Energy gels are popular among runners because they are a portable, lightweight fueling solution. In other words, runners don’t have to carry a heavy energy drink while running; they only have to carry a couple small energy gel packets to help them maintain their endurance for the long haul.
What are energy gels?
Energy gels are carbohydrate supplements runners use as fuel sources during a long distance run. They are formulated to replenish the runner’s carbohydrate stores, which are depleted while running. Consuming an energy gel usually results in an instant energy surge as your brain gets a burst of glucose. They don’t work the same for everyone, however, and they should be taken at strategic times for the best results. What strategy is best for you? Check out this detailed breakdown on Competitor.com.
How to make your own energy gels
While plenty of energy gel products exist on the market (buy them online or consult your local running store), you can also try making your own at home. Energy gels are generally composed of a mixture of carbs, sodium, potassium and vitamins, which, as you can imagine, are easily found in other food items. Here are some nutritious, whole-food recipes to try:
- Origin Nutrition’s Energy Gel: This one uses brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup and peanut butter for those PB lovers out there.
- Fruit Endurance Gel Blocks: These ones are similar to gummy candies, so they might be a little more enjoyable to consume than a goopy gel.
- Tart Cherry and Chia Seed Gel: This recipe uses just a few simple ingredients, one of them being a popular homemade energy gel ingredient: chia seeds.
Have you ever tried energy gels? Share your experience in the comments!
Did you enjoy this post? Stay in the know with more nutrition tips, and exclusive promo offers — join our newsletter.