Gatorade recently launched it’s new “G Series” of pre, during, and post, workout supplements. Gatorade Prime being billed as a pre-game fuel with B-Vitamins. Here is one runners take on this products.
Energy Gels, Gu, and Gatorade Prime
Most distance runners have at some point “hit the wall”, a term often used to describe complete exhaustion. Energy Gels are there to help with that. I have never found them to enhance my running, make me faster, or have virtually any major affect on my body on runs under six miles. On runs over this distance, especially over the 10-12 mile mark, they are indispensable.
As a grown up with responsibilities, namely kids and a mortgage, I am forced to work. So I have created a career in marketing. As a marketer I have to give it to Gatorade’s new G Series, marketing brilliance in my opinion. As a runner, I am not sure I feel the same way.
First some background information. I am a big fan of energy gels. Below are four that I use and like. Running a marathon I may eat four or five packets of the stuff to keep from running head first into the wall; and essentially that’s what these things are designed to do, keep your energy up and keep you off the wall.
- Gu Roctane: Much like Gu but with a little more caffeine (about 35mg), some amino acids, and other fancy stuff I can’t pronounce. I just got turned onto this new line from Gu and I am impressed so far. Sugar content 5gm
- Carb Boom. An all natural gel it has 27 grams of carbs with only 3gm of sugar.
- Cliff-Shot. A little caffeine, 25mg, and 25gm carbs. A little higher sugar at 8gm. 90% organic its main carb source is brown sugar.
- Clif Shot Blocks. I just started using blocks. They work on about the same level as the gels but absorb a little slower. If I have a race that starts late and don’t want a full breakfast I will eat a pack of these things. However they are higher in sugar and contain two servings per pack so be careful.
Gels are compromised of different carbs, mainly maltodextrin and fructose, which are absorbed at different intervals that give you a steady stream of energy; thus keeping you from crashing. While most contain a good bit of carbs, many don’t contain high levels of sugar.
This brings me to the Gatorade series. As an electrolyte sports drink, Gatorade remains my favorite despite the mass of alternatives. I was intrigued when I saw this new “series” of pre, during, and post exercise products they have introduced; traditional Gatorade being the “during”. The post exercise product shows some promise too. It’s the Gatorade Prime I was most interested in checking out. The label says “Pre-Game Fuel – Carbs + B Vitamins.” Sounds good.
The problem I see is the sugar content. At 23 grams of sugar it ranks up there with two bowls of Captain Crunch. As far as the B vitamins – about 10% of daily value is virtually an unregistrable amount . I did taste one, it tasted great, but I am concerned about the confusion this may cause because it’s just not a good choice for runners as an energy gel and I see little benefit to taking this as directed, 15 minutes before exercise, because we have enough stored carbs and sugars stored up to get us through the first hour.
But does it work. I have tried head to head comparisons with Gatorade Prime against other energy gels. I run in the morning, on an empty stomach, and can usually tell subtle differences between energy gel products; and Prime does work, but it seems to fade after 30 minutes of moderately fast running, where my favorite product holds strong for an hour. Whether or not that’s due to the sugar load is beyond my knowledge.
One benefit I did notice is that Gatorade Prime has about four times the volume. It’s thinner and goes down without the need for extra water.
If you’re looking to try some different carb delivery methods, the Gu Performance Sampler is a great product. It’s around $25 bucks but is packed with 17 different Gu products. You can find it at Road Runner Sports here or click on the picture to the left.
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