The Benefits of Using Gel Packs While Running
The Benefits of Using Gel Backs While Running
Whether you're a long-distance runner, you're a cyclist, or you engage in any other activity that requires a great deal of endurance, there's no doubt that you want to increase your stamina so that you can maximize your performance. While proper workouts, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting plenty of rest are all essential pieces of the puzzle, there's something else that you can add to your routine: energy gels.
Whether you've heard about energy gels before and you're wondering how they work, or this is the first time you've heard mention of them, read on to find out how these little wonders pack a powerful punch and can help you achieve your goals.
What are Energy Gels?
Energy gels are carbohydrate-packed gels that are specifically designed to boost energy levels for workouts. They're comprised of a blend of sugars – typically maltodextrin and fructose. The majority of energy gels are packed in packets that weigh 1 ounce or 1.5 ounces, which makes them very portable and allows you to consume them before you're about to embark on a long-distance activity. Most of the energy gels that are on the market are fat-free, fiber-free, and protein-free, which allows your body to digest them rapidly.
Why should you use Energy Gels?
If you're a runner, a cyclist, a swimmer, or you partake in any other activity over a prolonged period of time that requires a great deal of energy; you know that properly fueling your body is the key to your success. That's because as you work out, your body relies on the carbohydrates that are stored in your muscles, but the amount of carbs that are stored in your muscles is finite; in other words, there's a limited amount available.
According to research, ingesting carbs while you're exercising that lasts longer than 60 minutes boosts your metabolic response and athletic performance while also minimizing the risk of glycogen depletion. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests ingesting 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour that you exercise. The majority of energy gel packs offer 23 grams to 27 grams of carbs; compared to an 8-ounce sports drink, which typically only offers about 14 grams of carbs, that's a notable difference and clearly illustrates why energy gels are a better option than relying on energy drinks alone.
In addition to the number of carbs that energy gels pack, they're also very easy to consume, they don't make you feel stuffed, and they are very easy to digest. As such, the use of gels can help your body maintain its energy levels while also preventing fatigue during extreme and long periods of exercise.
How to Use Energy Gels
There's no right or wrong way to use energy gels, as every person's body processes sugar differently. With that said, however, as a general rule of thumb, it's recommended that you have your first energy gel at about 60 to 75 minutes into your exercise and then wait a minimum of 45 minutes between each subsequent energy gel you take. On average, they kick in between three and 15 minutes after they're ingested.
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