There are a billion different energy gels/goos/blocks out there.  All of them are wide of the mark as far as performance nutrition goes.  They are also expensive for what they are, which is typically maltodextrin, artificial coloring, and flavor.  That’s why when I prepare for an endurance event I make my own.  As far as running goes, you don’t really need to be eating along the way for less than ten miles.  Beyond ten, or through more challenging terrain or weather, what you put in your body while you’re out there usually equals what you get out of it.  I will save hydration for another post.  Suffice to say it is not as simple as just drinking water.

To have a properly functioning energy gel that won’t give you stomach rot or make you bonk ten miles out, you need to incorporate two sugars of different glycemic indices.  You can make your own recipe using this chart, or you can just use my recipe which works well.  The point is to have one relatively high GI carbohydrate, and one relatively low GI carbohydrate.  By doing so, you get quick energy without the following crash (bonk).  By the time the high GI carb has burned out, the low GI carb is beginning to pick up steam.  A steady intake of small amounts of the following recipe will do wonders for endurance performance.  (Again, there’s no point in carrying this stuff with you for a trip to the gym or a three-mile run.  Just eat right before and after your shorter events.)  Note on the above chart the ridiculous index for maltodextrin.  If you want to crash hard on an endurance event, get a “performance food” based on maltodextrin. .

My recipe:

Brown rice syrup

Raw agave nectar

Sea salt

Flavor if you want it

Combine about equal parts of your two sugars, add a pinch of sea salt (makes it more palatable), and whatever flavor you want if any.  The point of the flavoring is just to change things up a bit.  You can use orange or lemon essence, coffee grounds, vanilla, whatever.  Try to keep it fairly innocuous.  You don’t want to pollute your goo with a bunch of chemicals.  Mix everything together.

Because you can’t hold this stuff in your hands, get a set of these to load up.  They are convenient, and importantly easy to clean.  There are more high-speed looking products that I’ve found, but they don’t work as well.  The goo is best if you just take a little nip here and there, like sipping vodka at your nephew’s piano recital.