What type of sports gels to drink?

Pisces

Cruising
Dec 15, 2007
19
0
11
Zama City
#1
Hi All,

I have a question about sport gels. There are many kinds out on market: protein, energy, vitamin, multi-vitamin, mineral, and other types.

Which one is good for 230K (including climbing to Mt.Fuji 5th station)?

Last time when I went to Mt. Fuji i had 2 protein gels and i used 1 protein gel, every one hour and felt great. On third hour used one energy gel and fourth hour used one multi-vitamin gel. However, i am not sure, may be i was fresh from home while using protein gels i felt great first two hours. When switched to energy and multi-vitamin gels did not feel same as protein gels. Perhaps i was tired. When i arrived Mt. Fuji toll gates after 90K from home my body was exhausted to do 24.5K climb so returned home. By the way i did not eat any kind of food but drank plenty of water up first 90K.

Any advice from experienced riders?

Thanks,
Chris
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,517
644
133
Kanazawa
#2
Sure, I guess I do have all the nutritional info from about a half-dozen gel labels right here beside me....

Or maybe I should just go by how they name them?

***

Personally, I buy by flavor, least offensive-sounding first, and then on from there.

***

The other day, I went down what I thought was every aisle of a Lawson's looking carefully for that display, w/no luck. It was only after asking a counter person that I found they were about an arm's length from the door on the way in. (add that smiley that combines roll-eyes and embarrassment)
 
Jan 20, 2009
130
4
38
Yokohama
#4
Adding a couple of rice balls to the mix, as well as something like a banana might keep the hunger at bay. If I used only gels on an over 100km ride with lots of climbing, I think I'd bonk.:confused:

Just my 2 yens worth.
 
Jun 9, 2011
241
1
36
tokyo
#5
gels are pretty much all sugar. processed sugars at that. if you like the feel of a sugar energy boost you can maybe save some money and avoid processed sugars by making your own. the recipe i use for my own gels is roughly:

1 banana
handful goji berries (pre soaking in water makes this mix better)
4-6 dates
lots of honey. enough to cover everything before adding water.
water (use as much as you need to get the viscosity you want)

mix all these things in a blender. as i recall this should produce enough for 2 doses of around 300ml each. like all gels, you should chew one mouthful at a time slowly and follow with water.

i wouldn't recommend doing more than two gels in a row without eating actual food in between unless you're in a race or something. for me, i try and put about 2 hours between gel/food intake but this interval depends on your own condition and ability to get through the initial discomfort of letting your body switch from carbs to body fat for energy.
 
Oct 15, 2010
669
10
38
#6
I am not a pro, but I like to stick with real food. Call me crazy. Banana, peanuts, chocolate with peanuts, kakipi, rice, potatoes. 230k on gels? Maybe NASA has something that can help, but it is much easier and effective to eat some real food. I don't buy into the marketing.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#7
I'm with John on this. With exception of some gels to increase blood sugar under extreme efforts, I prefer using high GI foods. Dates, banana, sweet potato and the Japanese pro favorite - Tuna Onigiri. Love ice-cream bars, yoghurt, too. One thing I found that does help in the high heat rides, though, are the electrolyte tabs, like the High5 essential salts. Very simple and doesn't make the water too sugary. Now the weather has chilled, but you still need to hydrate properly and keep good balance of electrolytes. BTW - I did that Fuji / Climb and didn't use any gels. Mainly a few potatoes and stopped at conbini every hour or so for a refill. (And repairs). Then, when we hit Kawaguchiko - hit the family restaurant for a mega-feed. I wish I had more water on the mountain climb, though.
 

scandiman

Warming-Up
Aug 12, 2010
96
0
0
Ota-ku
#8
Yes, REAL foods for me too.

I can see that the gels are small and handy though, in particular if the conbinis are scarce.

But, as said, for me a banana or rice ball or similar every so often and - importantly - well before I start to feel an urgent need for it.

On top of what fits in the rear pocket, I need a semi big meal every 100-120 k. I dont know if it is because of my relative inexperience or fast metabolism or maybe both but I run into real trouble if I dont stick to my feeding routine.
 

danny

Maximum Pace
Feb 29, 2008
160
50
58
Chofu-shi, Tokyo
www.cyclism.jp
#9
Me as well.

For a 230k ride you need to eat or you will bonk. Gels (and ice cream) tend to work best for me toward the end of a long ride when I need that extra push to get home and my stomach isn`t in the mood for solid food. Maybe save the gels for when you are on the climb up to gogome.

On a long ride I usually carry:
- 3 BikeFood bars that I order from Wiggle. Great tasting, 4 varieties, and all natural.
- Hammer Nutrition endurolyte capsules, or Nuun active hydration tabs (to put in the water bottle to add a nint of flavor)
- bananas and sweet potatoes from conbini or home (dates are great as well)
- one or two coffees

Seriously going to try to make my own energy bars. If anyone has a great tasting recipe, please post.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#10
HIGH5 bars, gels and essential mineral tablets (Zero) Also 4:1 carb-Protien drinks and the Tuna Mayo Onigiri.

High5 is made from fruit fructose so youre not putting crappy chemicals through your body.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,708
1,354
133
Niigata
#11
The benefits of gels are:

  • they are easy to digest
  • they are quickly absorbed and have a quick effect

which is why they are good in races.

For training though, you are better to use solid food. A mix of food which releases energy quickly (like bananas) and releases energy slowly (like bread and rice).

It's a myth that gels contain more energy. A wielder gel from a combini is similar in energy value to a big banana (is more expensive, comes with wasteful packaging and is at the end of the day processed food),

Like Scandiman said, you need to know your "eating routine". Set yourself goals of what you want to eat each hour. Do this and do it right, and you'll never bonk.

Filling up the day before a ride is also very important. Nothing worse than starting out on half a tank.

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#12
As Fareast says - ABC - this is your mantra! Always Be Consuming! By the time you feel hungry - its too late, by the time you feel thirsty its too late. Make a mental schedule and keep it - like 500ml water every hour and 1 banana every 2hr, things like that. Conditioning your body to digest while under heavy exertion is just another aspect of training - it's called training cause you have to teach your body to do it - whether it wants to or not. At first you'll feel sick, bloated, nauseous, etc - just stick with it. Eventually you'll have a routine and you'll get plenty of nutrition on the road to keep you going.

BTW - I wish there was a biodegradable gel package. I HATE carrying these plastic , sticky, waste in my pockets! At least a banana can easily be disposed of on the road!
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#13
Back in the day the coach would make us wear cheap stop watches on constant 20 minute count downs. Every time it bleeped you took a drink from your bottle. When the bottle was empty you ate something, normally it took 1 hour to empty a 500ml bottle which is the exact amount your body will consume and excreate in an hour. It was also a perfect opportunity to then schedule food intake.

Another thing that many people get wrong is pre ride prep. Drinking 2 litres of water the morning of the ride is not hydrating... in fact your body will just flush it out, it takes on average a trained body 3 days to hydrate up to 65% body water which is the upper limit for males. People that do not hydrate correctly can take up to a week of hydration.

You'll know if you are on track as your first passingin the morning should be crystal clear. If its yellow or dark then you have poor hydration and all you are doing is playing catch up.

Also remember that eating requires liquids to process, so eating when poorly hydrated can actually cause more problems.
 

tarepanda

Speeding Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
26
Maebashi
#14
So if traveling with something like a Camelbak, it would be better to take frequent small sips instead of waiting for a break to just guzzle a lot, right?
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#15
exactly....all that will happen is the liquid will just sit in your stomach waiting to be absorbed making you feel bloated and sick.

Also if you have the urge to guzzle liquids you're dehydrated already.

One other trick we got taught is to swish the liquids around in your mouth before you swallow it, for some reason you feel more refreshed doing so. Also in the winter it conserves energy as you are not reducing your core temperature as the liquids are body temp or close to it by the time they hit your stomach.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#16
If you don't mind lugging 3kg of liquid around with you. For just road riding and not hardcore training or racing I don't mind a 5min stop every hour to refresh at a conbini or vending machine. Or just carry 2 bottles - that's good enough generally speaking for a couple hours. Then add in the gels and other goodies as you are riding to keep your glucose levels up until you can eat larger amounts. Considering a decent day's ride will consume more than 6000kcals - it takes quite a bit of stored energy and consistent intake to keep up - if you don't you will rapidly dehydrate and also lose your muscle efficiency quickly.

As FE says - you can't just guzzle water before you ride - you need to take time and have a consistent hydration plan in place well before you train hard and often. That's probably the best advise given here.

Today's ride was chilly and hilly. I ate a light breakfast then stopped at conbini meeting point. Downed a yoghurt smoothie, apple pie and apple juice. My bottle has a slice of lemon and Caro corn syrup already in it. I ride it to the meeting point empty (ala Ludwig) then fill there. So - I have about 200kcals in the first bottle. I stuff some dark chocolate squares and dried fruit as my snacks. Then when we stopped - I ate some noodles, more yoghurt, coffee and drank just water and reupped my bottle with mainly straight water. Our last stop I ate ice-cream, potatoes and coffee. And then some chocolate (which I love) the melting sugar / chocoloate in my mouth is a good subliminal energizer - it tells the brain 'don't worry - lots of food is around' therefore you don't automatically throttle. This is another reason why your swish liquids - you are signaling the brain that you have plenty of intake - so - do not throttle! There are lots of studies about this.

So if traveling with something like a Camelbak, it would be better to take frequent small sips instead of waiting for a break to just guzzle a lot, right?
 
Jun 9, 2011
241
1
36
tokyo
#18
the chemical released by swishing or chewing is saliva. it reacts with chemicals in the stomach to signal your brain that you've eaten. chewing or swishing will do the same thing. for foods, extra saliva going down with the food to your stomach will also aid digestion.

seeing as how everyone has already been chiming in with a preference for real food i might as well do the same. as much as i like my gel recipe i don't use it for cycling. i've found that as long as i don't eat too much and take my time eating with what i do eat there's plenty of time to digest food on a long ride. you can also help your body use body fat for energy more comfortably by chewing liquids and small amount of real slowly if you're trying to drop weight.

my favorite snacks on the bike are cane sugar and dates. dates are awesome and many "all natural" energy bars are full of them.

gels are handy for an energy boost during sustained high intensity exercise where eating any real food might cause you to vomit. if you're not in a race or not really pushing your physical limits there's probably no need for it.
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,181
76
68
Kochi
#19
exactly....all that will happen is the liquid will just sit in your stomach waiting to be absorbed making you feel bloated and sick.

Also if you have the urge to guzzle liquids you're dehydrated already.

One other trick we got taught is to swish the liquids around in your mouth before you swallow it, for some reason you feel more refreshed doing so. Also in the winter it conserves energy as you are not reducing your core temperature as the liquids are body temp or close to it by the time they hit your stomach.
There is an interesting article on this effect here:-
http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=21020

To the OP, there is the possibility that your endurance (sustained effort needs training) and also the pace you set off was too fast. 4hr pace < 2hr pace < 1hr pace etc.
http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/ASPX/FP/FP.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1