Connect with us

News

How to Make Your Own Energy Gels

Published

on

“], “filter”: { “nextExceptions”: “img, blockquote, div”, “nextContainsExceptions”: “img, blockquote”} }”>

You can make your own energy bars, protein shakes, and even dehydrated food—but what about energy gels? Though it may sound daunting, making your own gels is not only cheaper–most commercial gels run upwards of $1.50–but the process is as easy and customizable as whipping up a smoothie.

When You Need a Gel

When choosing a gel, Kylee Van Horn, a registered dietitian, running coach, and the founder of FlyNutrition in Carbondale, Colorado, recommends first taking into account the length and intensity of your activity. Energy gels are not necessary for every workout—Van Horn’s threshold is 90 minutes; your pre-workout nutrition should carry you through if it’s less than that. When you hit the 90 minutes mark, Van Horn’s rule of thumb is one gel every 30 to 45 minutes, aiming for a total of at least 200 calories per hour. (You may also want to take one gel prior to starting if you don’t eat beforehand.)

What To Put in Your Gels

Greater-intensity workouts require gels that predominantly come from carbohydrates, while lower intensities allow you to better tolerate fat and protein. Also, be mindful of the gel’s texture: thicker consistencies tend to be easier to suck down at slower clips. And if you’re going to be exercising for super-long stints, prepare for the possibility of palate fatigue–the can’t-choke-down-one-more-bite-of-X feeling–by incorporating multiple flavor combinations into your fueling plan.

Next, Van Horn suggests paying attention to the type of sugar in your gel, as research shows that a combination of fructose (common sources include fruit and honey) and glucose (found in starchy foods such as rice, oats, and bread) can help boost endurance performance during moderate- to high-intensity workouts and also accelerate recovery on the backend. Sugar alcohols, on the other hand, which appear on ingredient lists with names like Sorbitol, Erythritol, and Xylitol, are common sources of gastrointestinal distress, so are best avoided in gels and other mid-exercise nutrition.

RELATED: Power Up: Eating for All-Day Energy

Lastly, Van Horn says to look at the sodium and caffeine content of your gel. Although sweat rate and sweat sodium content vary from person to person, if you’re working out for long enough to need a gel, you’ll likely benefit from some added sodium. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends starting with a sodium intake of 1.7 to 2.9 grams of salt during prolonged exercise bouts and adjusting from there if needed. (All of Van Horn’s gel recipes, which yield two to three servings, call for between a pinch to ¼ teaspoon salt.) And caffeine, although not essential in a gel, is at least worth considering, as studies show that endurance athletes may reap the biggest performance-enhancing benefits from caffeine due to their high fatigue levels. Most caffeinated commercial gels include doses that range from 25 milligrams to 100 milligrams.

How to Make Your Own

While Van Horn appreciates the convenience of store-bought gels–her favorites are the real food blends by Spring Energy and Muir Energy, and the pure maple syrup packets by UnTapped–she’s had success making her own with common ingredients like bananas, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, dates, and salt. She likes that you have more control over what goes into homemade gels, which is especially good for people with food allergies or sensitivities. Homemade versions also eliminate the need for single-use packets if you use a refillable flask (like this one from Gu).

Just beware of including too much fat (from sources such as nuts, oils, and avocados), fiber (which most vegetables are high in), or fructose (found in fruit, honey, and agave nectar), all of which have the potential to cause gastrointestinal issues, in your gels. Van Horn also emphasizes that it’s important to store them properly to avoid spoilage if using perishable ingredients. (Her recipes stay good for up to three days in the refrigerator.) Lastly, as with everything else you do on race day, you should experiment with homemade gels in training before you introduce them in a competition.

RELATED: I Run With Nothing But Coffee In My Stomach. Is That Destroying My Insides?

Continue Reading

Recent News

Blendable Blush Blendable Blush
Beauty2 days ago

Customising Your Makeup with Blendable Blush Options

In cosmetics, one’s face is a canvas for self-expression and creativity. Among the myriad of products available, blush is a...

Home Maintenance Home Maintenance
Home5 days ago

The Benefits of Regular Home Maintenance

Regular home maintenance is essential for maintaining and even raising the value of your house. A proactive approach to repairs...

Adelaide Adelaide
Digital Marketing6 days ago

Understanding the Importance of SEO in Adelaide

In the digital marketplace, Adelaide businesses are in a continuous contest to gain the attention of their target audiences. With...

Traveling Nurses Pay Traveling Nurses Pay
Health7 days ago

Breaking Down the Numbers: Understanding the Average Traveling Nurses Pay

The open road, adventure, and the chance to heal – travel nursing promises an undeniable allure. But amidst the excitement,...

Oily Skin Oily Skin
Fashion1 week ago

Dealing with Oily Skin in Summer: Tips and Tricks

As the temperature rises, those with oily skin often face an additional challenge—maintaining a clear and balanced complexion. Excess oil...

Mountain Wedding Mountain Wedding
Wedding2 weeks ago

Mountain Wedding Ideas for 2024

A mountain wedding is a stunning choice for couples who cherish nature and desire a distinctive wedding experience. Whether you...

Salon Salon
Health2 weeks ago

3 Of The Best Ways To Keep Your Salon Clean

It is of the utmost importance to ensure that a salon is kept scrupulously clean, not just for the sake...

Blood Tests Blood Tests
Health2 weeks ago

3 Reasons You Should Get Blood Tests Every Year

Regular blood tests are essential for preserving general health and identifying potential problems early on. Medical professionals can evaluate your...

Crafts Project Crafts Project
Lifestyle2 weeks ago

How to Make Your Next Crafts Project Pop

Crafting is a creative outlet that allows individuals to express themselves through various mediums such as paper crafts, sewing, painting,...

Traveling With Children Traveling With Children
Travel2 weeks ago

5 Things You Need When Traveling With Children

Traveling with children can be both thrilling and challenging, whether you’re embarking on a road trip across the country, navigating...