Gels and the like: Any good?

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  • Gels and the like: Any good?
  • RealMan


    energy bars/gels (My favourites are torq banana energy bars or SIS gels although the Torq Gels taste quite nice as well, but never tried them whilst riding.)

    chocolate (obviously)

    energy drinks – something with carbs. (Again, I like SIS stuff for this)

    Thats about it, but, like drinking, do it little and often – dont wait until youre starving before you eat.


    I graze a lot when doing sport. Usually either gels High 5 or sis. Flapjack, haribo and jelly babies, mars bars, malt loaf, bananas, trail mix, peanuts, cake, jaffa cake, snickers, nutrigrain bars etc etc

    Anything carb heavy or sugary will keep you going. Some will give instant hit, others will be slower release. A mix of both quick and slow release works for me as I have energy for longer and don’t get the sugary crash. You just need to experiment and find out what you like.

    If you are going to be doing a lot of hours then eat early and eat often.


    You want to investigate the Clif range, take some bars and some shot bloks out. All natural stuff with low GI and steady energy release.

    Its the best IMO.

    Gels and the like are an easy and convenient way of getting sugars into your system but very expensive. Some contain salts as well. ditto energy drinks. You need to watch that you don’t end up overdoing the salts or the glucose

    I prefer drinking mixed apple juice and water and eating flapjacks and chocolate bars. Plus I do like to stop for picnics every few hours 🙂

    first breakfast
    Second breakfast
    First lunch
    second lunch
    A wee snack
    Afternoon tea

    Nine meals a day – Yum


    i think people may be getting the wrong idea about ‘sugar’.

    decent gels like the shot bloks for example contain brown rice syrup as the ‘sugar’.
    sugar is not good for energy as it is effectively hollow and will actually mess you up. i.e. don’t eat mars and snickers etc as they will make you feel worse afterwards and recovery will be harder.


    For downhillers? I normally find myself crashing (energy wise) about about 4 and half maybe five hours most days, despite what I eat. I’ve tried having big pasta meals the day before hand (too soon?).

    Is there anything I can eat/drink mid ride that will give me a noticeable kick up the backside? Although I mainly ride dh there are usually plenty of fireroad climbs, lots of pushing and the pace is fairly hectic. The trails themselves are pretty brutal and exhausting too. If I could just avoid that energy crash towards the end of the day it’d be great.

    Mark – No one source of sugar is better than another they act in different ways – what you need is a mix. Pure glucose is not the best as all day fuel – as you will get insulin spiking and crashing. However when you “bonk” it is the quickest to raise your blood sugar.

    Specifically for this reason I prefer a mix of normal foods. flapjacks for the oats and the longer acting carbohydrates, chocolate bars for the short acting one.

    Your “brown rice syrup” – Rice contains mainly starch. White and brown rice are the same beast – just the white rice has had the husk removed which is not sugar / carbohydrate in any way. Rice syrup is just another way of getting carbs /sugars depending how it is chemically treated depends on what mix of compounds it contains.

    Clif shot blocks are the best of the products I have had tho without a doubt – actually palatable and with a small amount of electrolytes in them


    I do graze, drink a lot of water, usually one energy drink at least. Plenty of sugary and salty food, just wondering if there is something better. I’l be looking into some of your suggestions as I tend to buy specifically for my rides. Appreciate the info guys. Keep it coming!

    Oats seem to have some effect on stabilising blood sugar levels – mechanism unknown so porridge or flapjack.


    You clearly have DH all wrong. You are supposed to spend more time eating/talking b*****ks than riding ;o)




    mark, thinking you are getting the wrong idea about sugar? Sugar is a fast and convenient way of getting fuel into the body. Unfortunately its a bit like crack (allegedly?) A quick fast hit followed by a massive drop. Nothing wrong with that (sugar not crack) as long as you are expecting that to happen.

    i.e if it is say 1 1/2 hours then sugary energy is possible as you just need to keep topping up. If it is 12 hours then sugar will be bad and then you need a mix of slow release (oats and generally low gi food) and sugary crap (the good stuff)

    Also as mentioned, if you do go a bit wonky then a handful of jelly babies and a gel will get you going again.

    Oh and thinking some more, Banana and honey bars, rice crispie toffee squares (one of the highest carb to weight snacks you can find in a morrisons – Fact!), bogoya bananas, almonds.

    One of the main reasons I tire is hydration or lack of, as I def eat enough.

    And my not so secret weapon at mountain marathons or after a heavy exercise session Pork Scratching. It replaces lost salts, and high in calories and protein to aid recovery for the next day. Okay I know the science may be floored and if it is don’t tell me why as I like to keep the idea of pig skin being one of the good things in life, sneakily packaged as a pub snack 😀

    Premier Icon paulosoxo


    Amen brother. For some reason petrol station bought ones work best.

    Start your day with a mahooosive bowl of Shreddies. Higher in carbs / lower in sugars than Porridge oats. This will give a long slow release of energy. Then top up with PB and J Bagels. They are fairly carby, quite dense and wont disintigrate like sarnies.
    Keep your hydration topped up , try a pack of those Lucozade sport tablets in your camalbak, with a tiny amount of salt. They contain Malto -dextrins , which are a complex sugar chain, so not as easilly converted as Glucose. At 39p a pack way cheaper than any Gels on the market.
    Keep Tangfastics as a back up along with a caffeinated Gel, and scoff bananas every 30 -40 mins.
    Its always harder to re-hydrate or refuel when you crash than keeping your energy up. Its possible to burn 500cal an hour plus, But the body struggles to release this much energy at the same time

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