We are often asked about energy gels – what’s the difference and which is best. At Ezi Sports, we cover a wide range of brands as each has their differences – some subtle, others with a focus. By far the favourite with our customers here in Australia is Gu. Gu Energy Gels outsell the others by quite a margin – is it the taste, the consistency or do people feel a difference? I set out to review Gu Energy Gels, the background and contents as well as ask our customers why they like them.
Gu was created over 20 years ago by Dr Vaughan who was trying to devise a formula that would help his daughter in marathons. Driven by answering 3 simple questions: What to eat? When to eat? How much to eat?
Outside of training and competition, the answer can be as simple as an apple, almonds, or whole grains. But, to truly optimize our training, competition and recovery the body needs more (or rather less). Hence Gu was born. Over the years they have consistently improved the formula both in the lab and the field.
Gu Energy Gels was also one of the first brands to expand their flavours and have over 12 flavours in their range. These cover the basics such as Lemon SubLime, Chocolate Outrage and Expresso Love and frequently change to new flavours such as Toasted Marshmallow, Gingerade and more. This gives you the chance to mix it up a bit and enjoy taking gels for those longer endurance events.
The basic idea behind Gu is to make it fast to absorb so you can get as many of the carbs and electrolytes into your body powering your muscles.
So, what do our athletic customers say? The overwhelming response is the balance between flavour and “instant” energy hit. Many now buy mixed packs of flavours so they can add some variety to the training and racing. A bit of chocolate with a touch of strawberry banana. They like that Gu is always coming up with new flavours (some weird, some well received) and they are always grabbing an extra 1 or 2 of the new flavours.
As for the energy hit, I haven’t spoken to one who has done a scientific test as to how quickly or easily Gu is digested. Not too many athletes get the opportunity of scientific testing. Most use their feeling when they have ridden a couple of hours or been running a long distance. For them, it is noticeable – feels like they get a boast within 5 – 10 minutes.
A good training and racing nutrition plan relies on you replacing your energy. It is almost impossible to replace what you are exerting. I think Gu Energy Gels go a long way to ensuring that you will want to take sufficient carbs and electrolytes. The flavours and consistency help as does that “instant” energy hit that keeps you going.
In my opinion, researching and learning about your energy and electrolyte replacement needs is as important as turning up for a training session. You should be training and be recovering with Gels and I think as the number 1 Gel in Australia, Gu Energy Gels is one of the best places to start your discovery.
About the author
Andrew Lang has been competing in triathlons for over 20 years and all distances from Sprint all the way up to completing 19 Ironman triathlons. Although he is a middle to back of the pack triathlete he has been fortunate to race at 2 Ironman 70.3 World Championships and the Ironman World Champions at Kona. Since 2009, Andrew has co-owned and operated Ezi Sports – the largest online triathlon store in Australia. He gets to field test and evaluate most new products on the market as well as help thousands of athletes with their sport gear needs.