Energy gels have sure gone a long way since being introduced into the world of endurance sports in the 90s. Different brands have invested a lot of effort into perfecting the formulas, taste, drinkability, and efficiency of their energy gels.
If you don't know what an energy gel is, you can learn all about it here!
Today, the market is flooded with energy gels, but not all of them are equally good. In this blog we help you choose the best energy gel for cycling in the upcoming 2023 season.
Our top 3 energy gels for cycling in 2023
During our time as endurance athletes, we've tried many different energy gels. These are our top 3 energy gels we recommend for the cycling season 2023.
When making the list, we considered the following factors:
- carbohydrate composition
- mineral composition
- taste and drinkability.
Without further ado, here are our top 3 recommendations for the 2023 cycling season.
1. Energy gel Nrgy Unit Gel - Nduranz
- Double amount of carbohydrates than most gels
- Allows absorption of 90 grams of carbs per hour
- Allows you to sustain optimal hydration during exercise
- Requires water
As far as pure performance goes, Nduranz's Nrgy Unit Gel is our clear winner. It contains a high amount of carbohydrates in the correct combination and ratio and the full suite of electrolytes to enable optimal hydration.
Nrgy Unit Gel contains 45 grams of carbohydrates per gel in a 1:0.8 ratio of maltodextrin and fructose, allowing high absorption without digestive issues.
It also contains an advanced electrolyte mix created by Nduranz, which aims to replace all the minerals you lose in your sweat, allowing optimal hydration without messing up your gut.
Nrgy Unit Gel was used by the top-level professional triathlete Sam Laidlow to achieve an amazing second place at the Ironman World Championship 2022.
2. Energy gel 4Energy Gel - 4Endurance
- It can be consumed without any additional water
- The source of sugar is freshly-squeezed fruit juice
- Exciting, natural, and refreshing taste
- Doesn't contain all the essential minerals
The energy gel 4Energy is designed for endurance athletes who aim for a moderate intake of carbohydrates during exercise.
Where this energy gel stands out from the competition is that it's so drinkable that you can consume it without any water. This makes it ideal for runners, who often don't have the luxury of carrying a sports bottle, but it is also commonly used in cycling.
The energy gel 4Energy is also distinguished by a uniquely refreshing taste. If you feel like you can taste real fruit in there, it's because it's sweetened by freshly-squeezed fruit juice. Delicious.
While this energy gel is not designed for highest-intensity athletes, many pro athletes, especially runners, still choose this energy gel to fuel their amazing performances.
3. Energy gel GO Isotonic Energy Gel - SiS
- Very gentle to the stomach
- Doesn't need water
- Refreshing taste
- Contains only one source of carbohydrates
- Doesn't contain all the essential minerals
It's hard to find an endurance athlete who isn't familiar with the extremely popular SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gel created by Science in Sports (SiS for short).
Extremely light on the stomach, this energy gel is praised for its refreshing taste and energetic efficiency.
Even though Science in Sports is a well-established brand and its energy gel one of the most popular energy gels in the world of endurance sports, it only ranks third on our list.
One reason is that it only contains glucose (maltodextrin), which means it doesn't make use of both carbohydrate transporters in your body. This can affect absorption if you intake more than 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour.
The second reason is that it only contains a negligible amount of salt and no other minerals, which means it will not allow you to sustain optimal hydration during several hours of intense exercise.
How to choose the best energy gel in 2023?
When choosing the best energy gel for you, you must also consider a few other factors that can greatly influence your selection.
- Exercise duration
- Exercise intensity
- Your goals and objectives
- Potential health issues or dietary restrictions
- Personal preference
In the end, the choice is often a matter of personal preference. Perhaps the taste of one energy gel suits you so much more, or perhaps a certain energy gel causes you digestive issues.
During endurance exercise, the number of energy gels you consume may be extremely high, so it's important to choose an energy gel that makes you feel good and doesn't cause you discomfort.
The only way to know if an energy gel works for you is by trying it out and testing it in practice. If it keeps you going through your exercise, doesn't cause you digestive issues, and doesn't feel horrible after the fifth or sixth gel, then you've found your winner.
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These were our top 3 recommendations for cycling in 2023. If you want to try them out, check out our offer of the best energy gels for cycling!