Sports gels are commonly advertised as a nutrient for many endurance athletes such as runners, cyclists and triathletes. But are they truly good for the body? Sure they provide the athlete with the carbs, electrolytes and quick absorbing energy that it needs to complete your race.
But at the same time they also have lots of artificial chemicals in them too. And how do we know exactly what these chemicals contain and what effect they will have on the body in the long term?
And the taste of some of these sports gels may make athletes want to throw up – depending on their taste buds.
But staying away from gels, doesn’t mean that you cannot take part in endurance sports at all. There are, in fact nutritious substitutes that you can take.
Some of these include the following:
This is a favourite form of fuel for endurance athletes – besides energy gels. Not only do they contain lots of carbohydrates (for energy) and potassium (to avoid muscle cramps), bananas are packed with nutrition, including Vitamin B6 – to facilitate the absorption of oxygen into the body’s blood stream.
2) Dried Fruits
Dried fruits such as raisins and dates provide sugars and carbs to give you the energy that you need to keep on going during endurance sports events. At the same time, they are also much better than sugary sports gels and jellybeans because they contain the essential nutrients that the gels and jellybeans do not give you – such as iron, magnesium and potassium. These are all good for the body.
3) Home Made Muesli Bars
Yes there are many different brands of muesli bars out there in the supermarket and they are easy to find. But how do you know what hidden ingredients are really used in those muesli bars – to make them have a long shelf life?
If you make your own muesli bars though, you can control the ingredients that you put inside there – and they can taste just as yummy. For example you may add oats, honey coconut oils, raisins, nuts and salt – and furthermore, such bars will keep for several months when they are stored in the freezer.
4) Coconut Water
Many athletes believe in isotonic drinks for electrolytes and energy, but have you tried coconut water? Besides containing electrolytes, this also has potassium and magnesium in it, which can boost your performance in during the race. Compared to the artificial energy used in sports drinks, coconut water also has natural energy so this is much healthier for the body in the long term.
5) Matcha Green Tea
While many athletes choose coffee to keep themselves awake due to the caffeine content especially for those early-morning flag off times, Matcha tea (finely ground green tea powder) is a much better option. This is because besides containing 70mg of caffeine to help you stay alert and hyped up during the race, green tea also has amino acids and other substances like L-Theanine, which gives you a very calming feeling at the same time.
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- An Austrian who has run over 200 marathons
- The Durian Run 2015
- Taking a peep at the OCBC Cycle 2015 Routes