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Gel usage

ilikecyclingilikecycling Posts: 50
edited March 2010 in Road beginners
I've just bought some SIS Go gels and was wondering how long I should allow for them to kick in for optimum effect, for instance if I'm coming up to a monster hill should I wait until I'm at the start of the climb or do I load up in advance, and if so how long in advance. Thanks.
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  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,708
    edited March 2010
    Errrm... A SIS Go Gel is not going to get you up a hill, regardless of where you take it.
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • Oops! What would you recommend instead?
  • TheStoneTheStone Posts: 2,291
    I find the the ones with caffeine are good to take before a sustained hour plus of high
    effort (mountain, TT etc)

    Otherwise, I always carry a few. When you hit the wall, they normally give you the kick
    to get you home.
    exercise.png
  • hopper1 wrote:
    Errrm... A SIS Go Gel is not going to get you up a hill, regardless of where you take it.
    They are basically a food supplement...

    they are a carb based energy gel so how do you figure they are a food supp?? not much different to most gels
    Burning Fat Not Rubber

    Scott CR1
    Genesis IO ID
    Moda Canon
  • AutobahnAutobahn Posts: 114
    I carry them as back up and usually use them when on the last 10 miles home andonly if I'm feeling pretty knackered. I dont know if its the placebo effect or not but seem to get me home.
    Other guys I know use them when racing, a practical quick load up.
    Unsure if I'd use them prior to going up a big hill, practising hills is gonna get you up a hill, unless I guess your feeling quite tired and need a boost.
  • ScrumpleScrumple Posts: 2,666
    hard work and training gets you up hills
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    To the OP, personally, I try to keep my energy levels up with a combination of homemade energy drinks and gels. Gels probably take 10 minutes to get fully into your system, but they're designed to have a long lasting effect than an immediate burst of energy.

    Gels won't necessarily make you feel any better (if you're working flat out you'll always feel knackered) but you'll just be going faster!

    There is a great thread on here regarding homemade energy drinks and www.myprotein.co.uk comes highly recommended as a source of cheap ingredients, rather than the massively overpriced commercial drinks.
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    Scrumple wrote:
    hard work and training gets you up hills

    only if you have enough energy in the first place to be able to tackle it. They go hand in hand.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I'd read it as 15 mins for them to be absorbed. I prefer energy bars myself - they're about 3 x the calories, but the same price roughly and a lot less sticky in the pocket.

    And as they say - its the training that will get you up the hills.
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 4,749 Lives Here
    One of my mates asked the same and this is what I advised him: -

    "I went to a presentation a little while ago by SIS and they advised that the use of a gel is usually because you have got your food intake wrong, on a balanced diet you shouldn't need them if you have eaten and planned your day before food correctly.

    Since then a number of my mates agreed with that thought.

    If you are using gels all the time, then it is time for you to review your intake.

    The only time a gel should be used is if you have gone faster or longer than you have ever done before and have not eaten enough during the ride or beforehand. "
  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,708
    stokepa31 wrote:
    hopper1 wrote:
    Errrm... A SIS Go Gel is not going to get you up a hill, regardless of where you take it.
    They are basically a food supplement...

    they are a carb based energy gel so how do you figure they are a food supp?? not much different to most gels

    My mistake, I stand corrected, as I didn't word it right. :oops:
    Below explains it better.
    Slow-N-Old wrote:
    "I went to a presentation a little while ago by SIS and they advised that the use of a gel is usually because you have got your food intake wrong, on a balanced diet you shouldn't need them if you have eaten and planned your day before food correctly.

    The way I read it, the OP is thinking that an energy gel is going to get him up a hill... How ill informed is that!
    They are an aid, to compliment your normal intake.
    Train on hills to get up hills...
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Slow-N-Old wrote:
    "I went to a presentation a little while ago by SIS and they advised that the use of a gel is usually because you have got your food intake wrong, on a balanced diet you shouldn't need them if you have eaten and planned your day before food correctly.

    It's impossible for you to have more than a couple of thousand calories stored as glycogen, regardless of how big you are and how much you ate in the previous days. It's relatively easy to work at an intensity that burns 1000 glycogen calories an hour, so it's pretty easy to run out of glycogen. So you simply can't do it on the food you ate before you could slow down of course, to spread the glycogen out for longer, but that would mean not going as hard as you could've.
    Slow-N-Old wrote:
    If you are using gels all the time, then it is time for you to review your intake.

    Not at all, gels are just food, now the branded products are an expensive way to get the calories, so unless you need the specific benefits they give you - easy digestibility - they're a silly food to use, but that's purely on cost grounds as opposed to anything else. Calories are calories - the SiS ones also contain lots of preservatives and straight sugar, so you may want to think about your teeth, or may want to avoid the flavourings/preservatives but avoiding carbs is pretty irrelevant.

    The time for gels, is when you need easy and rapid to digest carbohydrates - the times when you need that linked to intensity, not duration, if your working at 50% effort your body could digest a roast dinner as it cycled along and be happy, and in any case you probably wouldn't burn through your glycogen stores before you got bored cycling and needed a cake stop.

    However if you're cycling at 80% effort, then your body will not be able to digest the roast dinner - both because of discomfort on the stomach, but also because it would require more blood etc. that your muscles are needing. And you'd be burning through glycogen rapidly - perhaps only enough for 2 hours even if fully fueled, much less if it was after successive hard days, or when dieting etc.

    At those times, gels (or liquid calories in bottles) that are simply carbs are very quick and easy to digest and add to the glycogen stores quickly.

    There's no need to think of it as take one before a hill or anything, just eat them regularly when exercising intensely, you want your body continually topping up the glycogen it's consuming, as otherwise as soon as don't have enough - you bonk, regardless of how much fat you have left to use - and everyone has more than enough of that!
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • Rich HcpRich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    Take them before you need them.

    Which goes for any food and drink. Regular and often. I atke my first energy bar after about 90 minutes and then veery 40-50 minutes.
    Richard

    Giving it Large
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    Jibberjim knows his stuff*.

    * I mean that, it's not some smart-@rse sideways swipe
  • Thanks for all the info and advice. Plenty to think about.

    The way I read it, the OP is thinking that an energy gel is going to get him up a hill... How ill informed is that!

    :?

    My understanding, albeit, from the description supplied by SIS was that I would receive 'energy' for 20-30 minutes from their gel.

    http://www.scienceinsport.com/product_info.php?productid=180

    All I was trying to establish is how long this "boost" would take to reach my system so that I could plan when to drink it for maximum impact, ie to help on an upcoming tough climb. Sorry if that wasn't clear or if I've missed the point of taking gels completely.
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    Sorry if that wasn't clear or if I've missed the point of taking gels completely.

    You need thick skin to survive here. It was a good question, I hope you got your answer (about 15-20 minutes before, but don't expect miracles).

    Cheers
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 4,749 Lives Here
    Hi jibberjim,

    I understand fully where you coming from and the concept of storage etc. but the main fact is that if you have continued to eat, flap jacks, carb bars, rice cakes, banana's etc during your ride, then you shouldn't need a gel.

    Gels, really aren't as good for you as proper food, high in Maltodextrin and fructose not to mention full of censored and preservatives, not only will they cause dental problems, but the net gain from them is short term energy nothing else.

    Believe me I researched heavily their effects and usage (because they nearly killed me, that and other sugars etc.) At the end of the day a gel appears to be made up from water, preservatives, high amounts of sugar, flavour & maybe some caffeine, indeed they will give you a boost, but only short term.

    Just remembered I had some gels in the cupboard so here is the typical abbrev. ingredients of a SIS Blackcurrant: -

    Water, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavour, Gelling Agent, Acidity regulator, and preservative

    Not one of the above has any long term nutritional value, all it is is highly saturated water with Sugar :roll: In fact the Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzonate preservatives are questionable carcinogenic, but the old arguments applies to them that you would have to drink a swimming pool full to kill you!

    The Maxim Citrus flavour one has: -

    Glucose, syrup, water, maltodextrin, Vit B1, B6, B12, C, E, Flavouring and Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzonate preservatives.

    I defy anyone to say either of the above gels will provide you any long term nutrition and in fact is beneficial for you in the long term, in fact quite the opposite.

    Which returns me back to the fact that, if you have eaten properly during your ride and the important thing is "consumed food in time and with planning" then you should not need a gel unless you have performed greater than planned or not prepared correctly.
  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,708
    My understanding, albeit, from the description supplied by SIS was that I would receive 'energy' for 20-30 minutes from their gel.

    http://www.scienceinsport.com/product_info.php?productid=180

    All I was trying to establish is how long this "boost" would take to reach my system so that I could plan when to drink it for maximum impact, ie to help on an upcoming tough climb. Sorry if that wasn't clear or if I've missed the point of taking gels completely.

    Ok, mate, maybe I read wrong, but it seemed that you thought the gel would get you up the hill :shock:
    try about 20 mins before you need it. This may need tweaking though, as we all digest at different rates.
    I'd try another one though, not SIS... I like the Zipvit ones. :wink:
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    hopper1 wrote:
    My understanding, albeit, from the description supplied by SIS was that I would receive 'energy' for 20-30 minutes from their gel.

    http://www.scienceinsport.com/product_info.php?productid=180

    All I was trying to establish is how long this "boost" would take to reach my system so that I could plan when to drink it for maximum impact, ie to help on an upcoming tough climb. Sorry if that wasn't clear or if I've missed the point of taking gels completely.

    Ok, mate, maybe I read wrong, but it seemed that you thought the gel would get you up the hill :shock:
    try about 20 mins before you need it. This may need tweaking though, as we all digest at different rates.
    I'd try another one though, not SIS... I like the Zipvit ones. :wink:

    Why?
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,731 Lives Here
    Gels are for when you're a little desperate.

    I've been quite alone on mountains and feeling a little weary, with my brain doing funny things.

    The gels then just stopped me bonking, which is all they're good for really.

    And they taste sh!t.
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,587
    edited March 2010
    Slow-N-Old wrote:
    I defy anyone to say either of the above gels will provide you any long term nutrition and in fact is beneficial for you in the long term, in fact quite the opposite.

    'long term nutrition' is irrelevant to a debate about energy gels. Gels are intended for a short term energy boost on the bike at a time when your own energy reserves are low - I don't think anyone is suggesting that you have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner....
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    Zipvit blackcurrant taste fine, and the orange ones arent bad either.

    I think it tends to be the caffeine ones which people hate the taste of and I am not really interested in those anyway.

    Gives you a big boost but half an hour later you come down so you need to do it near the end of the journey or make sure you keep topping up I guess.

    My strategy is energy bars on a regular basis which I think have slower absorbtion of sugars to keep you going without the highs and lows - to avoid gel until or unless necessary.
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 4,749 Lives Here
    .......I'd try another one though, not SIS... I like the Zipvit ones. :wink:

    Arrhg, they are just like tasting jism, not that I would though :roll: :shock:
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 4,749 Lives Here
    apreading wrote:
    ....My strategy is energy bars on a regular basis which I think have slower absorbtion of sugars to keep you going without the highs and lows - to avoid gel until or unless necessary.

    100% agree 8)
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    2 Pies and a roast dinner 1 hour before you set off.

    Fill yourself up on energy bars, gels and neat sugar at every opportunity as you go. Aim for a minumim of 4kgs of assorted 'products' per hour. Don't forget to keep hydrated, Red Bull is fine.

    I think that covers all bases.
  • sampras38sampras38 Posts: 1,917
    I've just bought some SIS Go gels and was wondering how long I should allow for them to kick in for optimum effect, for instance if I'm coming up to a monster hill should I wait until I'm at the start of the climb or do I load up in advance, and if so how long in advance. Thanks.

    The SIS Go gels are isotonic so they don't need water to be absorbed. They only take a few minutes to be absorbed tbh, and should give you 20-30 mins of energy.

    Personally I only use gels in emergencies, i.e. right at the end of sportives if all my food has gone and I find myself caught short. As far as I'm concerned too many peole use them wrongly.
  • So on the basis that gels are bad for regular use (I scoff them on rides as I find them easy and convenient) what is the best energy bar / energy bar replacement?

    I've tried flapjacks but find them a nightmare to eat on the go,,

    So, can the combined minds of Bike Radar suggets me some foodstuffs?

    Cheers

    G
  • Mike400Mike400 Posts: 226
    putting aside portability for a moment (as I imagine thats the biggest pull with gels etc - they dont take up much space)

    what would be better for you? bananas, cake bars etc?

    The longest ride I have been on to date was maybe two hours - a good feed of pasta beforehand and a couple of bananas in the middle to end of the run and I coped ok.

    If I was to go further, or do a sportive or whatever, what sort of intake would I be looking at?
    twitter @fat_cyclist
  • dinosaurdinosaur Posts: 86
    So on the basis that gels are bad for regular use (I scoff them on rides as I find them easy and convenient) what is the best energy bar / energy bar replacement?

    I've tried flapjacks but find them a nightmare to eat on the go,,

    So, can the combined minds of Bike Radar suggets me some foodstuffs?

    Cheers

    G

    I guess that everyone will have a different preference but my vote is for Trek bars and Nakd bars. A couple of those, a banana, a bottle of water and a bottle of energy drink (Torq works for me) and I'm good for at least 3.5 hours of moderate winter riding (after muesli for breakfast).

    I usually try and load up on fruit and veg when I get home although I have typically forgotten to do the shopping so have pasta instead.
  • nickwillnickwill Posts: 2,735
    So on the basis that gels are bad for regular use (I scoff them on rides as I find them easy and convenient) what is the best energy bar / energy bar replacement?

    I've tried flapjacks but find them a nightmare to eat on the go,,

    So, can the combined minds of Bike Radar suggets me some foodstuffs?

    Cheers

    G

    Gels are not bad for regular use. I complete a good number of sportives a year and feed myself on a mixture of energy bars early on, and gels later. I use the feed stops for a little variety bu tbasically rely on what I can carry. For fast light riding, real food is too bulky.
    Club runs etc, I will usually take a banana and a couple of gels.
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