We are in the final stretch ahead of our challenge to run our first 21 kilometers (you can follow on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag # retovitonica21K) and for those who go to run the marathon in Madrid, one that has more Adepts Being long distance races, surely many of you will be using energy gels to help during the race, but do you know what you must choose?
And it is that not all gels are the same: we take a look at the different compositions can be found in the energy gels and help you choose which best suit you.
What is common to all energy gels, as you may have guessed, is a source of energy, in this case carbohydrates . Although within the group of hydrates we can find different types.
Generally energy gels provide us with a dose of between 25 and 40 grams of carbohydrates per serving , whose energy can come only from simple carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose) or a mixture of simple and complex carbohydrates (maltodextrin or amylopectin ).
Depending on our personal needs and the type of training or competition in which we find you, we will agree to make use of one or the other. It is even a good idea to go alternately during the competition if it is a long event like a marathon, a triathlon, etc.
The specific amount of carbohydrates and the percentage of simple and complex carbohydrates varies in different gels that each brand, so we’ll have to check the nutrition label and ingredients to make sure you are choosing the right.
On the other hand, we must not forget that the gels need to be consumed with water to ensure good assimilation and to avoid stomach problems. Generally it is necessary to take 10 ml of water for each gram of carbohydrates: if we are taking a gel with 20 grams of CH, we must accompany it with 200 ml of water.
Other substances in energy gels
Although there are gels that contain only carbohydrates, they are usually accompanied by other substances that may be useful to the athlete:
- Gels with caffeine: Caffeine is used to prevent central fatigue of athletes. It is important that we maintain adequate dosages (no more than 3 mg of caffeine per kilo of weight per day), so if we take caffeinated gels we must be sure how much they contain. Both in competition and in training, it is often alternated with gels that do not contain caffeine.
- Sodium: mineral salts are other substances that may contain energy gels that are important to replenish for long distance athletes (recently talked about the pills sales in competition). Sodium improves the absorption of carbohydrates and also favors the absorption of liquids.
- BCAA or branched chain amino acids: such as caffeine, prevent central fatigue and also reduce muscle damage. At the moment few gels that include them in its composition.
In future posts we will explain the ideal moment in a competition to take the energy gels.