I’m a pretty big fan of Hammer Nutrition products, and I like their fruit flavored gels. But really, I often prefer solid food like a bar or a Honey Stinger Waffle on a ride, because it seems more like really eating something.
I had never tried any GU energy gels or other GU products until last summer at a Carmichael Training Systems Leadville camp. GU products were offered at the camp, and it turned out that Brian Vaughn himself from Gu Energy was also there. He spoke about nutrition in general, and was extremely knowledgeable. I was totally impressed and felt like I learned a lot when it came to developing a nutrition plan. So I starting buying GU gels now and then.
Here’s where you can read about Brian Vaughn’s nutrition plan for Leadville, where he was aiming for 350 calories per hour.
The Vanilla Bean flavor of GU has 20 mg of caffeine added to it. Some flavors do not have caffeine, if you want to avoid that.
The taste is pretty good, and it does not upset my stomach even under harder efforts. Each gel contains 100 calories, which is enough to get you some quick energy, but not so much that it upsets your stomach and makes you sick.
The packet is easy to open with your teeth, so you can pull it out of your jersey pocket and eat it with just one hand. Compared to a PowerBar, which I find almost impossible to open and also difficult to chew, it’s an incredibly quick and easy way to get some calories. It has 25 grams of carbohydrate per gel.
As with any kind of drink, gel or food that you are going to use while cycling, it’s always better to test it during some unimportant rides before you use it during a major race where stomach upset or an unexpected bonk could ruin your results. But if you are considering trying GU, I say go ahead with it, and you probably won’t be disappointed.