ideally option one would be to better fuel before you run and to have something ready and waiting when you get back [banana, chocolate milk, etc]. that being said, i do use the things. mostly when i run first thing in the morning, even though that's not when i do my longer runs. i am already an iffy breakfast eater to begin with and i can't get breakfast, a run, getting ready and in to work on time all in the same morning. if i eat an actual breakfast before i run my breakfast tends to slosh uncomfortably around and my stomach gets a little crampy. if i don't eat anything before then i start to become cookie monster the second i step back in my house. so i figure a gel block [30 cals] before i go is the easiest compromise. i know there are recipes for better for me things out there, but this is easy, grab and go, and like i said, i'm not exactly a morning person.
They're not just for longer runs than you're doing, they're for longer runs than your neighbor is doing. They're for people who are trying to WIN an endurance event and are trying to *avoid* burning off their fat. People who need a last blast of quick energy need it to come from sugar, not fat. If they have already burned off all their easily available blood glucose, a gel (or those blocks, etc) can give them a boost without getting into the fat stores that they'll need for their next endurance race.
For people who are trying to lose weight, the gels will do the exact opposite of what you want. You are *trying* to trigger fat burning, and the gel will block that.
(Most of these gels are flavored corn syrup, by the way. I actually have nothing against corn syrup as an ingredient, but I don't see any point in taking it straight, any more than I would just eat a tablespoon of white sugar.)
What you eat on a daily basis affects energy levels on short runs much more than what you eat right before or during.
When I go for distance MTB bike rides 90 minutes or more I usually take along some dates or dried mango for a quick sugar boost if I start feeling tired. But that is some serious distance.
It all comes down to the quality of the foods you are eating. Eating lots of vegetables, protein and healthy fats will make you feel energetic and healthy. Foods with minimal nutrition for their calorie content will leave you tired and hungry.
Best to you.
Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 5/8/2013 (21:47)
JERF - Just Eat Real Food
I'm a Certified Personal Trainer.
I'm not a doctor or dietitian. I'm just a real whole foods nutrition nerd.
I eat mostly vegetables, fats, meats, some fruit and dark chocolate. Unprocessed and preservative free. And it's changed my life!
5'4" Goal weight 125lbs 38 years old 2 kids
Lowering my A1C and keeping my blood sugar levels low eating 60-70% fat /15-20% carb / 15-20% protein.
Fitness Minutes: (82,255)
5/8/13 7:08 A
I use running gels for long races ie. 1/2 marathon; half Ironman etc. Shorter distances, just water and then after the race carb and protein shake etc.
Fitness Minutes: (79,829)
3,510 5/8/13 6:06 A
I think it's normal to be hungry and tired after a work out. Personally, I would grab a snack made up of real food rather than those heavily processed gels.
I think if you were doing longer endurance cardio, you might benefit from the gels. I don't see the need for them when you could eat real food instead.
My neighbor runs a lot (10 miles at least) and she swears by running gels. She says that after 3 or 4 miles she eats one and it helps boost her energy to keep going. I have been doing 3-4 mile runs and am very tired when I get done and was wondering if they would help my endurance or if they were just empty calories. Any ideas??
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