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Endurance Nutrition

Energy gels - everything you need to know

Energy gels are concentrated forms of energy in a gel-like formula that help to provide intra-training/intra-race fuel for athletes.

Typically, they are high in carbs, helping to provide glucose for your muscles, which is then used in addition to stored glycogen.

Using gels helps to spare muscle glycogen, delays fatigue, and increases physical performance.

How and when to use energy gels?

Gels generally provide 20-25g carbs per serving. Most endurance athletes will need somewhere between 30-120g carbs per hour, depending on their training intensity, duration, and tolerance.

Taking in too many gels can cause stomach upset, so they should only be used as part of your fuelling strategy. Use drinks and snacks as well as your gels to fuel you adequately.

What to consider when choosing a gel:

Carb content – most gels provide 20-25g carbs, but some are actually purely energy gels, with higher fat and overall calories, so it is important to look at what you are buying properly. Look at the ingredients and the nutrition label and get a clear idea of what you are using.

Sodium content – Some gels have electrolytes added to support hydration, but not all do. If you are using a gel without electrolytes, make sure you are getting them from another source (drink, capsules, etc)

Caffeine Content – Some gels have caffeine to help reduce/delay fatigue and perception of effort. If you are using a gel with caffeine test your tolerance, and time their use towards the end of a long race/training session. It will give you an added boost to help you get through the session/race.


If you want to learn more, book a 1-2-1 session with our nutritionist Emma


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