Spring is on its way, and that means it's time to start planning triathlon, marathon, and half marathon training. A key element of training is staying properly fueled and hydrated before, during, and after workouts. So how do you choose your fitness fuel? Is it based on convenience or nutritional value? Does it have to one or the other? We don't think so.
While energy gels are convenient, and scientifically may have the right balance of proteins and carbs, they are just that—scientific. And they often taste that way, too. And they can often upset your stomach (not a good thing on a run or bike ride). So what are the benefits to making your own fuel? And how can you still make it convenient?
Here are 5 reasons to make your own energy gels/fuel, plus a recipe to get your started.
Reduce waste: Did you know that in 2016, over 15 billion disposable pouches will end up in landfills? If you use a reusable pouch instead of squeezy food pouches, or energy gel packets for each training run/ride, think about how many disposable pouches and packets you are eliminating from that number. For me, it would be at least 60 for a 16 week training plan.
Save money: At about $1 each, energy gel packets are not cheap. It might seem like a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of race entries and gear, but each of those $1 packets adds up quickly. If you train 5 days a week and consume 1 packet at each training session, that's $5/week. Over 16 weeks of training, that's $80. Your money can go a lot further making your own.
Fuel with Real Food: As athletes (competitive or amateur), we know that food is fuel. Eating the right balance of nutrients is essential to optimal performance. We focus on eat whole, real food at every meal, so why not on-the-go and during workouts, too?
It just tastes better: Why suffer and gag your way through a chocolate peanut butter flavored packet of slime when you could combine actual peanut butter, cocoa powder, banana, chai seeds, and honey to make your own? I know which sounds better to me.
They have so many "ingredients": Look at the ingredients in the GU brand Chocolate Peanut Butter Gel. All to just create a combination that has 100 calories, 125mg sodium, 1.5 grams of fat, 20 grams carbs, 55mg potassium, and 1 gram protein.
INGREDIENTS: Maltodextrin, Water, Fructose, Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Salt), Organic Cocoa Liquor, Leucine, Sea Salt, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Valine, Green Tea (Leaf) Extract (Contains Caffeine), Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid, Isoleucine, Malic Acid, Pectin Powder, Sunflower Oil, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).
So, ready to make your own fuel or gel? Try our Sweet Potato, PB & Banana Mash Up to get started.