Energy drinks, Gels etc

Discussion in 'Training, Fitness and Health' started by Bazhorn, 12 Aug 2006.

  1. Bazhorn

    Bazhorn Über Member

    Are these energy drinks and gels really neccesary? I'm trying to combat my 'empty legs' feeling that's been developing recently but I'm trying to lose weight too. I do 80mls a week approx.
  2. andharwheel

    andharwheel Senior Member

    Frozen North
    They do work quite well and may help you to stop eating too much after riding. Of course you could just try dried fruit, bananas or make up your own energy drinks. Half juice/half water with a pinch of salt.
  3. Blue

    Blue Legendary Member

    N Ireland
    In the July issue of C+ a mix of water:smoothie was suggested. I've tried it on a couple of 40 mile rides and it suits me fine.
  4. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Penarth, Wales
    I find that on long runs Gaterade or similar keep me going quite well but for anything over 2 hours plain water does not really help so much!!!!!
  5. i prefer normal food. i tried the high tec stuff once and ended up making a diversion to the nearest toilets!
    i did our clubs 200 in 24 hours off little more than a few drinks of tea , 4 pints of milk, 2 hot chocolates and loads of toast, witha pizza at the tea stop.
    did't give me any problems and had good legs all the way round.
  6. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    I use them all the time. If, like me, you work out hard, then solid food is just not really an option, the thought of stopping for a pizza mid-ride makes my guts churn. I use the powders, gels and limited amounts of bars which keeps me going indefinitely. You can get sick of sweet food and drink if you are going for more than about five hours though although personally I can live with it until I can get a decent meal.

    I generally try to ease off a bit towards the end of a ride so that I finish with a bit of an appetite. Otherwise you can just feel quite bloated for hours afterwards even though you really want some proper food. You just cannot beat a massive steak (rare-med rare) and home cooked chips with all the trimmings, washed down with half a bottle of decent red wine. :blush:
  7. I tend to think about where I'm riding and plan the refuelling accordingly. If I know I'm going to be stopping half way, I just take water with me and buy some food at the stop. Saves carrying it too! I tried a few of the trendier new cyclist-specific foods a while ago, but didn't find any that were as nice as a banana or a piece of cake!

  8. monnet

    monnet Über Member

    The gels and so on do make a difference but only over long rides. I use them on rides over about 50 miles (a bit less if there are serious hills) and I take an electrolyte energy drink on anything of 40+ miles. On rides of 75miles or more it's best to start eating after about an hour and have eat little and often.

    As you're riding 80 miles a week, unless they're all on one day, I can't see you needing to take food out with you. Best to look at what you eat off the bike. Porridge for breakfast, banana before you go out, pasta after a ride (and the night before if you're planning a big one the next day) etc. It's a cliche but keep to the healthy stuff and avoid the junk and you'll lose weight, recover better and feel better on the bike.
    Dirk likes this.
  9. monnet

    monnet Über Member

    Oh, and everything domtyler says
  10. lifeson

    lifeson New Member

    Malt loaf is good to carry for a quick fix
    Dirk likes this.
  11. Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Bury, Lancashire
    Real food has the advantage of releasing energy much more slowly than energy gel/bars. This is the best foundation for avoiding the bonk in the first place, but to do this you must chose foods that are high in carbohydrate and low in refinbed sugar/simple sugars (to avoid very fast energy release and then a blood sugar drop afterwards) and also eat regularly. Chose wholemeal over white bread at cafes and the energy from it wil be relased over a longer time period. The sports bars and gels are good for a quick fix if you have forgotten to do this, or can't eat solid food due to high intensity riding or low fitness. The fitter you get (and/or the more aerobic your ride) the more easily you can eat real food without any problems. Proper sports/energy bars are a lot better for you than cakes or 'cereal' bars, including the supposedly low fat or 'light' ones, (don't look at the grammes per bar, look at the g per 100 g; ie. the %) which are packed with refined sugar and this is not even necessarily in the best form for sports use. Sports bars usually contain electrolytes as well as carbohydrate, to help replace those lost in sweat.

    Carbohydrate drinks - although they are made using fairly short-chain (simple) sugars and release energy quickly, you are likely to sip them slowly over a period of time, so that you are getting a constant flow of sugar, rather than huge hit of sugar and then nothing, as with bars/gels - particularly if you're eating a whole bar/gel at a time, and not eating them at regular intervals. The drinks are not very good for your teeth for this reason though -slowly sipping a sugary drink over time means your teeth are more exposed to the sugar than if you swigged the entire bidon in one go. The same goes for fruit jiuce, which is also very acidic and may upset your stomach when you're cycling. Carb drinks usually contain electrolyte but you can also get pure electrolyte drinks that do not contain any carboyhdrate at all, and are intended simply for optimum hydration rather than to replace any lost energy (Nuun is one brand, but there are others). These could be better if you want to lose weight, as they are calorie-free, but using these you'd obviously need to eat some solid food or use sports gels, to avoid the bonk.

    I'd say eating and drinking little and often is the key, but what to eat and drink, is really up to your personal preferences. I use a mixture of real food at cafes and carb drink when on the bike. I don't like the gels.
    Dirk likes this.
  12. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Further to Blondes very informative post above, I would add that energy drinks/gels are intentionally formulated to give you the fastest absorbing carbo mix possible allowing you to keep going at a high intensity for long periods of time.

    This is not the same strategy as you would use for riding, say, audax style where you wanted to keep going for a long time but at a slightly lower intensity when you would eat foods that were absorbed over a longer period of time.
  13. Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Bury, Lancashire
    Hmm, I'm not sure about that - whenever I've done an audax I've always tried to go as fast as possible for as long as possible! It's true though, that you can do without real food for shorter periods and that if you're on the bike for more than 12 hours you really do need to eat some real food whatever else you eat - you'd probably have digestive problems the next day if you didn't. Anyway, I use drinks, bars and real food. Still can't stand the 'flavoured snot' gels though! :biggrin:
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