Supplement Saturday Ep.5 Energy Gels
Energy Gels, the little pocket rockets of the supplement world. The compact convenience they provide are often underutilized by many people. Now, why could this be? For one, they obviously aren't reading the Supplement Saturday blogs!! They also are probably not an endurance athlete, but lets get into that.
Firstly, we must understand what an energy gel actually is. Energy gels are a pure carb source that will aid in replenishing in any depleted carb stores. Your body use carbs as one of its two ways to fuel muscular contractions; fat being the other. The body chooses carbs first until they are ran out and therefore fat is then used hence why being in an energy deficit causes fat loss but that's a read or another day.
So, when you are exercising your body is burning through its stores of carbs to fuel your muscles contracting. As you lose stores of carbs, your muscles will only be able to contract with less force: FATIGUE!! This means you are able to lift less weight and also may be the cause for underdevelopment in big muscle groups like the glutes. If you are performing cardio or in an endurance event or training session, this will cause you to fatigue faster and you will either slow down or need to stop earlier and you may also miss out on some massively important adaptations. This is where our friend the energy gel comes in to play!!
Each Gel will hold around 20g of carbs in the form of simple sugars. These re easily absorbed so you gain a massive spike in energy quickly for a shorter sustained period. This replenishes your stores quickly but they will be burnt through again.
If you are in the gym and looking to maximize muscle growth; gels can work in 3 ways. The first, is as a replacement or aid in pre-workout energy. The simply sugars will create a spike in energy such as found in a pre-workout powder. It is also a more researched supplement than pre-workout and can be safer. You can also acquire gels containing caffeine that will only further enhance this spike in energy and alertness you often look for going into a workout.
The second way is during a session, where you ,might find yourself fatigued or feeling work and just want to get up and quit DON'T!!! Grab a gel... the quick spike in energy will have you feeling more energized and will quickly replenish your carb stores to allow your muscles to contract with the force that makes you feel strong again. You can then complete your desired workout still and maximize your muscle gains.
The final way may catch you off guard. Energy gels can aid in your muscles recovery and also growth. Within the first 15-30 mins post workout you are in the golden window, where your muscles absorb and synthesize things more effectively. It is shown that an ingestion of carbs, alongside protein, during this window can aid muscle synthesis leading to more growth. The easily absorbed energy will be absorbed back into the muscles stores of glycogen optimizing recovery which leads to growth. Shocked... I don't blame you!! We don't often look at carbohydrates as a source of muscle recovery and growth.
There is another area energy gels come into their own and that is performance orientated athletes, especially during their event. If you are an endurance athlete or someone playing in a tournament or team sport it is recommended you ingest 60g of carbohydrates per hour. This will ensure that you don't deplete your carbohydrate stores leading to earlier onset of fatigue and a decline in your performance. A simple, convenient and highly digestible way of achieving this is consuming 3 energy gels. They're convenience as a carbohydrate is unmatched and due to their concentration the volume you are taking on is minimal reducing that horrible sluggish feeling associated with carbs during performance.
So... if you want to perform get your carbs in. Want to do it easily? Get your energy gels in!!"But, what if I'm a fussy eater?" Don't be worried, there are multiple flavors for all. "But, where do I get them from?" Energy gels come from many companies. Check out amazon and buy in bulk to save yourself some money. My top brand to look at would be SIS but find what suits your price point nd taste!!