Carbohydrate is the best energy source during intense exercise and is found in the body in two main forms, glycogen and glucose. Glycogen is stored in muscle and liver cells while glucose, the body’s preferred energy source is found in the blood. As we exercise muscle glycogen levels begin to fall and if it is not replenished our performance can be affected.
The other fuel source your body can use when exercising is fat. The trouble is fat is only broken down into usable energy slowly. This means it can be useful for slow and steady exercise such as long walks but less effective as a fuel source when exercising intensely such as cycling, running or other aerobic sports including high intensity gym workouts. This is where energy gels can be helpful. Energy gels can be a convenient way to quickly top up your energy stores before they diminish affecting performance.
WHEN DO I NEED THEM?
Glycogen stores in our muscles is limited – typically, we can store about 90 minutes of muscle glycogen when exercising at a reasonable pace. This means if you are exercising for much longer than 90 minutes and / or exercising at a high intensity you can benefit from using energy gels. This may include running, cycling, team sports, high intensity gym workouts and other endurance sports.
HOW TO USE THEM?
Each ONE PRO Nutrition energy gel provides 22g of carbohydrate. It is typically recommended you consume 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour during endurance races or training sessions. This means you may need between 2-3 energy gels during each hour of exercise in addition to water. Water not only helps replenish fluids lost from sweating but ensures optimal absorption of the carbohydrates.
It is best to start taking gels early in a long training session or race to keep the glycogen stores topped up so you can perform at your peak. So if you are racing for 2-3 hours or more then start taking them around 50-60 minutes. Always give the body time to utilise the gels before adding another one on top – there is no benefit from over consuming them.
If you are preparing for a specific event or competition it is a good idea to include energy gels in your training sessions to allow the body to adapt and benefit from their use.
ENDURANCE PERFORMANCE (over 90 minutes):
Take one gel every 20-30 minutes after 1 hour of endurance training or racing.
High intensity exercise – Team sports
Take one gel at half time during team sports like rugby or football.
HIIT training session
Take one gel 15-30 minutes before an intense session
THE BEST GEL FOR YOU
ONE PRO Nutrition Gels have been carefully designed to naturally enhance your performance enabling you the get the most out of your training. As well as carbohydrates, it’s important to top up your electrolytes during long training sessions because drinking water alone doesn’t replenish vital nutrients like sodium, potassium and magnesium that are lost in your sweat. Sodium in particular is easily lost via sweat. ONE PRO Nutrition gels include natural sea salt to provide sodium and trace minerals.
ONE PRO Nutrition Energy gels use dual fuel to enhance performance and avoid digestive distress. Using a combination of Maltodextrin (a complex carbohydrate) and fruit concentrates enables a quick and consistent energy source without causing digestive upset. Maltodextrin is easier for your body and brain to use with less impact on stomach emptying compared to simple sugars. In contrast excess simple sugars slow down gastric emptying which can lead to bloating, cramping and abdominal pain.
Fruit concentrates provide antioxidants and a small amount of fructose which is absorbed via a different pathway to Maltodextrin. Studies have shown that consuming carbohydrates as a mixture of Maltodextrin and fructose, results in more energy being produced especially in the later stages of exercise which in turn helps sustain prolonged exercise.
Some energy gels are so sickly sweet they can make athletes feel nauseous. Using fruit concentrates provides a less sweet, more palatable gel with a delicious natural clean taste.
ONE PRO Nutrition gels also provide Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s). BCAA’s are known for their ability to support muscle mass and enhance exercise performance helping to reduce fatigue after exercise.
If you are looking for an additional performance boost or need an extra push towards the end of an endurance race, try a gel with added caffeine. Caffeine is one of the most researched stimulants in sports nutrition shown to increase alertness, focus and concentration as well as enhancing endurance and sprint based performance.
Try taking one caffeinated energy gel one hour before the end of an endurance race or 20-30 minutes before you need to perform an intense sprint or hill session.