CHOOSING THE RIGHT ENERGY GEL

Any physical effort involves energy expenditure that must be counterbalanced. Energy gels are composed of nutrients and micro-nutrients to satisfy the needs generated by effort. The goal is to delay the exhaustion of energy reserves and thus delay fatigue during effort. Your choice of gel will depend on your effort and/or the time of consumption.

1/ HOW IMPORTANT ARE CARBOHYDRATES DURING SPORT

Regularly taking on the right food during effort enables rehydration, boosts sodium intake and delays the exhaustion of energy reserves.

Regularly taking on carbohydrates has several beneficial consequences for performance:

-          Carbohydrates taken on during effort are consumed before anything else and mean fewer reserves are drawn upon.

-          Taking on carbohydrates during effort will enable you to keep the same effort going for longer and boost the number of repetitions in interval training.

-          Blood sugar levels remain at a rate that enables optimal brain functions and thus helps reduce the feeling of fatigue, errors of judgement and inadequate coordination that result from tiredness.

-          Taking on carbohydrates means muscle damage during effort is controlled. In fact, once your energy stock has been exhausted, the muscles must find energy by drawing on a back-up source. This back-up energy is produced by breaking down the protein in muscle fibres.

 

2/ WHAT IS AN ENERGY GEL

An energy gel is designed to meet the needs caused by physical effort. In general, they are composed of carbohydrates, such as glucose, fructose and maltodextrin. They often contain other substances: vitamins and minerals for their antioxidant properties, caffeine to act as a stimulant and amino acids for protection.

Gels provide a concentration of carbohydrates to prevent the exhaustion of reserves. However, you will also need to take on water to meet the needs caused by effort.

Another advantage of gels is how easy they are to carry and consume.

In order to ensure optimal use, all energy gels should be taken with a little water because they are highly concentrated and may cause some people digestion troubles.

 

3/ CHOOSING THE RIGHT ENERGY GEL 

The recommended allowances for carbohydrates are 30 g/hour for any activity lasting between 1 and 3 hours. This increases to 60 g of carbohydrates/hour after 3 hours of effort, or more when the body has been trained.

Energy Gel and Energy Gel + are ideal for training sessions or competitions. They are composed of a carbohydrate base, combined with glucose, fructose and maltodextrin. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals and caffeine for your various efforts.

 

Vitamin content of Energy Gels

Vitamin B1: contributes to normal metabolism.

Vitamins B6 and B12: help to reduce fatigue.

Vitamin E and Zinc: help to protect cells from oxidative stress.

Energy Gels are ideal for efforts of between 1 and 3 hours. Consume 1 gel every 45 minutes to 1 hour, taken with water.

 

Vitamin content of Energy Gels +

Vitamin B1: contributes to normal metabolism.

Vitamins B6 and B12: help to reduce fatigue.

Vitamin E and Zinc: help to protect cells from oxidative stress.

Caffeine

 

Energy Gels + are ideal for efforts of more than 3 hours. Take 1 gel every 45 minutes to 1 hour after 3 hours of effort. The gel should be taken with an isotonic drink or multiplier to meet the nutritional needs. As a reminder, these are 60 g of carbohydrates/hour of effort when the activity exceeds 3 hours.

Marie Fauchille

Dietician-Nutritionist, passionate about multisport/adventure racing and rowing

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