Energy Supplements for Runners – Beans And Gels
Energy gels are a relatively new alternative to traditional sports drinks or bars. Energy gels are easy to use, quick to digest and with flavors like vanilla orange and apple cinnamon, they can taste pretty good. They are best described as a hybrid of sports drinks and energy bars. Energy gels are designed to deliver a quick rise in blood sugar and maintains that glucose level for up to 45 minutes during exercise. Energy gels are recommended for intense activity lasting more than 1 hour, or moderate activity lasting 2 or more hours.
Gels have some electrolytes, but usually just Potassium and Sodium and approx. 25-27 grams of carbs per 1.4 oz. serving. Sports gels like PowerGel,Gu,Hammer,and Carb Boom are convenient, low in fiber, and easy on the stomach.
Taken during multi-hour training sessions or races, they help to extend your muscle glycogen stores, enabling you to exercise harder and longer. Never try anything new on race day. You can use a combination of drinks and gels in the race, but avoid doing both at the same time. If you start consuming energy gel early enough in the race you can greatly reduce your body’s need to rely on fat as an energy source. Here are a few guidelines to help you find your favorite: Always try out a new food or drink during a workout; you don’t want to have any surprises during a race. The key is taking an adequate amount of water with each energy gel packet you take during the long run or race. Another alternative is to keep some packets in your car, but this Biotox gold helps only if you can park really close to the finish line because you want to consume the gels as soon as possible after finishing your race.
Jelly Belly Candy (Fairfield, Calif.) has introduced Sports Beans Energizing Jelly Beans-jelly beans with 120mg of electrolytes per serving, as well as vitamins C and E. Plus each serving contains 25 grams of carbohydrates. The beans are formulated to energize and prevent dehydration, positioned toward competitive athletes and sports enthusiasts. The package advises the consumer to “energize with one package before activity” and “use additional beans as needed during activity to sustain energy level.” The beans are actually quite a bit larger than the standard Jelly Belly size, setting them apart from the company’s original varieties. They are available in Lemon Lime and Orange flavors.
While I have not actually tried the sports beans yet, I would think the biggest difference might be the amount of water you would need to take with each product. It does look like the Sports Beans have more electrolytes in them as well as some vitamin C & E in them. Obviously then, the only other negative might be the fact that the sports beans would require more water to be taken with them. I’m wondering if they might not be easy to drop while running, making them a little harder to work with while in the middle of an active sport. Realizing that the sports beans are quite new, any personal experience you could share would be greatly appreciated.