Skip to content
How do energy gels improve your performance?

How do energy gels improve your performance?

The best way to stay energized during your workout is by taking on an energy gel. Energy gels are a great source of carbohydrates and electrolytes, which are the primary ingredients in sports drinks. Energy gels can be conveniently packaged so that you can take them on the go, and they're easy to ingest.

Energy gels are made from complex carbohydrates, which are very easily digested and absorbed by the body. When you're running or doing any other activity that causes a lot of stress on your muscles, it's important to keep them fuelled with nutrients. Complex carbs are broken down in the stomach quickly, which allows your muscles to access the fuel they need to keep going.

Energy Gel

Energy gels also contain electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which help regulate hydration by balancing out the amount of water in your body. When you sweat while working out, you lose electrolytes through your pores. To maintain hydration and prevent cramping, it's important to replace those electrolytes quickly with something like an energy gel so that you don't experience dehydration.

Electrolytes help control muscle contractions and make sure your body functions properly during exercise. They also help break down carbohydrates for more fuel for your muscles and increase blood flow to keep your heart pumping.

What’s the deal with caffeine energy gels? 

First, let's talk about how caffeine affects your body. It's actually a stimulant, which means it acts like adrenaline, and when the caffeine hits the bloodstream, it temporarily increases the amount of energy available to your body. This is why you sometimes feel more awake after drinking coffee in the morning—it makes it easier for you to pay attention and stay active.

Caffeine Energy Gels

When caffeine is applied directly to the bloodstream, as with caffeine energy gels (or shots), it can have even more profound effects. Because you're delivering the caffeine directly to your muscles instead of waiting for your digestive system to do its job, you can get an instant boost of energy that might last 15-45 minutes before the effects start to wear off. We suggest consulting a doctor before starting a caffeine regimen so that you don't do any damage to your body. 

But here's where coffee might not be such a great match: if you're running or working out at high speeds, or if you're trying to keep up with a particularly energetic person or dog. The problem with caffeine is that it might make you feel more awake and alert… but it also makes you feel jumpy and anxious.

How many energy gels should I take?

It's common to wonder how many energy gels to take during a race—especially when you're trying to break your personal record. Before you know it, you've got more than a few different options for gels in front of you, and it can be hard to know what the best gel for your needs is. But don't worry! We've broken down the most common races and picked out the best energy gels for each one.

Energy Gel

The chart below shows how many energy gels you should take for the various running events:

Energy Gels for Race

How long does it take to digest energy gels?

Gels are easy to digest and filled with sugars that give you a quick boost of energy right when you need it most. But how long does it take for your body to process those carbs?

The answer: every runner absorbs and processes carbohydrates differently. Factors like your weight and intensity level can affect how fast your body will process the sugars in the gel.

Energy Gel Digestion

Many runners report that they feel the effects of a gel within 10 minutes of taking it, but you may see results sooner or later than that depending on your body's unique makeup.

What are the main ingredients in energy gels?

The thing about energy gels is that, while they're incredibly effective at replenishing your body's glycogen stores, they're not very good at explaining what goes into them. So, we thought we'd take a minute to break it down for you. 

First and foremost, carbohydrates are the main ingredient in any gel. You'll typically see ingredients like glucose and sucrose listed as the first two components on an energy gel label. These types of sugars get absorbed quickly by the body and provide immediate energy. 

Energy Gel Veloforte

Energy gels also contain other ingredients like fructose (a type of sugar that occurs naturally in fruits). Fructose gets absorbed more slowly than glucose or sucrose but provides a long-lasting source of energy instead of just a quick hit like you'll get from sugars like glucose or sucrose.

Energy gels also contain electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to keep your body properly hydrated during exercise (and replace electrolytes lost in sweat). 

What are the negatives to energy gels?

The popularity of energy gels has increased tremendously in recent years, with elite athletes, recreational runners, and cyclists, and even soldiers using them. However, energy gels do have some side effects, such as nausea, stomach discomfort, or diarrhea. It's important to remember that you should always test a new energy gel before race day.

Energy Gel Digestion

Even if you've used a product before, be sure to sample it again before race day. It's also a good idea to try different brands as some people experience negative side effects from one brand but not another. The most popular energy gels are Hüma, GU, SiS, Maurten and other premium brands, all available at XMiles. 

What are the alternatives to energy gels?

Energy gels are a popular source of calories for endurance sports like running, cycling, and hiking. But for those who prefer something other than a gel, there are lots of other options that can provide the same amount of energy.

Energy drinks, energy bars, and energy chews all provide carbohydrate energy to your body in a way that is similar to the way that gels work.   

What energy gels do we recommended?

We've got all the top brands of energy gels—Hüma, Spring Energy, Mulebar, Unived—as well as other premium brands: SiS, Maurten, TORQ, Mountain Fuel and more. Take a look through our recommended gels below:

GEL 100

Maurten GEL 100

  • 1 gel (40g).
  • 100 calories.
  • 25g carbohydrates.
  • 85mg sodium.


Spring CanaBerry

Spring Energy CanaBERRY

  • 1 gel (46g).
  • 100 calories.
  • 17g carbohydrates.
  • 60mg sodium.


Unived Elite Gel

Unived Elite Gel

  • 1 gel (76g).
  • 190 calories.
  • 45g carbohydrates.
  • 277mg sodium.


Sports Jelly Plus

Mountain Fuel Sports Jelly Plus+

  • 1 gel (70g).
  • 119 calories.
  • 30g carbohydrates.
  • 46mg sodium.


Huma Energy Gel

Hüma Gel Original

  • 1 gel (36g).
  • 100 calories.
  • 25g carbohydrates.
  • 110mg sodium.


Torq Energy Gel

TORQ Energy Gel

  • 1 gel (45g).
  • 114 calories.
  • 30g carbohydrates.
  • 50mg sodium.

  

The best part is that you can use your XMiles points to buy your gels.

Not only that but you don't even have to buy the full case anymore! You can get the exact amount that you need.

Previous article 6 Recovery Bars You Need to Try
Next article How do electrolytes tablets hydrate you?