Are you an ultra-trail, hiking, running, cycling or mountaineering enthusiast? It is important for you to improve your sports nutrition. For this, there are several items available to you, such as energy gels, compotes or protein bars. However, for professional and amateur sportsmen and women, it is worthwhile consuming energy gels (as well as energy bars). Why is this? We'll explain it all to you.
What are energy gels?
First of all, it is important to know that energy gels are sports nutrition products that can be used by any type of athlete. They are exogenous energy substrates that provide carbohydrates mainly during physical effort in order to limit the depletion of the glycogen stock. You can recognise them by their sweet, rather viscous texture, rich in carbohydrates, necessary to give you a boost.
Energy gels and compotes, like salted energy bars
, electrolyte drinks
and energy purees
, are recommended for many sports, including hiking, ultra-trail, running, cycling and endurance sports.
Why consume energy gels and compotes?
During an intense physical activity, it is interesting to play on the products consumed by bringing liquid, energy gels or compotes. This allows you to modulate the pleasure to avoid nausea and to provide your body with a maximum of nutrients used during the effort to delay the drop in your reserves as much as possible. Energy gels and compotes are easy to digest, as they do not require any chewing or digestion effort.
The fast sugars contained in these foods will give your body a boost. In addition, the regular intake of carbohydrates in energy gels and compotes is an undeniable advantage, as it slows down the depletion of glycogen. This in turn produces energy that is good for your muscles during intense activity. However, it is not advisable to abuse the consumption of these foods to avoid a hypo/hyperglycaemic effect at the risk of tiring your body.
How to consume them and how often?
It is recommended to consume energy gels in a few sips. In general, it is recommended to take 25 to 30 grams of gel per intake. This is equivalent to taking one every 45 minutes. For rides lasting more than 3 hours, we recommend that you start with a compote and finish with a gel in the last two hours. It is best to take a 25 or 30g dose when you start a descent. Your body will then easily absorb the gel during the descent to obtain the necessary energy to attack the next climb.
Nevertheless, it is recommended to take a bottle of water or a sports drink
after the consumption of gels or energy compote. This facilitates the absorption of these different foods. Before adopting energy gels, consider testing them during your training sessions to determine their effects on you. Vary them to determine which one is best in terms of taste and absorption. This is a crucial exercise and allows you to note the exact number to consume, but also the ideal frequency for your body.
Some basic information on energy gels and compotes
The first thing to remember is that energy gels and compotes are indispensable. However, they cannot match the nutritional properties of energy drinks. You will need to consume an energy gel twice to achieve the carbohydrate intake of energy drinks.
You may wonder if they contain less carbohydrates than energy drinks. Indeed, energy gels offer small doses of carbohydrates that will compensate for all the physical and muscular losses linked to the effort. However, the main advantage of these foods is that they are easy and light to carry.
In addition, you should not neglect the contribution provided by energy gels. They remain a one-time energy supply and can be supplemented during the sporting activity. You can use energy gels as a supplement to food meals.
Although these foods have important advantages, they can also have some disadvantages. First of all, they have a pasty texture which is not necessarily appreciated by sportsmen. If this does not suit you, it will not be easy to consume them during your intense activities. They can cause much more intestinal discomfort than energy drinks and energy bars
How do you recognise a good energy gel?
Just like an energy bar, a good gel or compote should contain sufficient carbohydrates, sodium and also vitamin B1. All gels contain these three basic ingredients, but it is only their balance that determines their quality. In addition, a good energy gel should have other nutritional qualities.
For example, the right amount of magnesium gives you smooth muscle contractions without harming your body. Magnesium-rich gels also facilitate the transmission of information to the brain through nerve impulses. A constitution rich in potassium improves the replenishment of the body after a major physical effort. A good energy gel helps your muscles to work better. Finally, energy gels rich in vitamins C and E are preferable.
In short, it is wise to opt for an energy gel that contains a balanced amount of carbohydrates, sodium, magnesium, potassium and, above all, vitamins ranging from B1 to E.
Energy gels and compotes come in a variety of textures with many different tastes and effects in addition to their rich composition. They are light and easy to use. They are also easy to digest. This means you can take them with you wherever you go.
Don't hesitate to combine them with energy drinks for a balanced and effective energy supply. For intense sports enthusiasts, it is recommended to test several energy gels during their training sessions in order to choose the one that is most effective during their sports activities. Read moreReduce