Gu’s current featured flavor is GINGERADE. So it is probably no coincidence that I received a packet of this new energy gel flavor in my latest StrideBox.
I have tried Gu energy gel once before in the chocolate flavor. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of the texture. I prefer to get my mid-run fuel from Sports Beans or another form of glorified candy. It basically turns running into an excuse to eat candy. On the hard days I use it as a reward; one bean for every mile I run. I mean if treats work for training dogs, treats can train me too me. I am a highly food motivated person, but I digress.
I welcomed this chance to try Gu energy gel again. As good as candy is, all that chewing can get exhausting near the end of training when mileage is high. An easy squeeze-pouch form of fuel delivery might be the solution I didn’t even know I needed.
Recently I woke up for a morning run starving but with no time to eat. My weekday runs are usually fairly short and easy, so I don’t fuel before hitting the pavement, I didn’t have any time to make a snack. According to the information card included in the StrideBox and to what my trainers had told us in Spring training, Gu energy gels can be used either before or during a workout. Every Gu energy gels has 100 calories and 20-23g of carbohydrates. I grabbed my Gu and headed out.
The eating instructions on Gu’s website are as follows:
Rip open the top and squeeze the entire packet into your mouth—don’t save half of it for later. GU Energy Gel’s recipe of carbohydrates and amino acids was created to be taken in one shot to provide you with maximum benefits.
At a conveniently timed red light I ripped open the top and squeezed. I definitely couldn’t fit the whole packet of get in my mouth at once, and I definitely didn’t want to. I could go on a rant about how horrible the experience was, but in the interest of a slightly less biased review I am not going to. I am going to preface my breakdown of my experience with the fact that I already knew I wasn’t going to be a huge fan of the texture and I’m not that into ginger either.
The flavor was definitely GINGERade with the emphasis on the ginger. The gel immediately smacks you in the mouth with that special spiciness unique to ginger. The lemonade aspect was a little more subtle and not really apparent until the end. I was hoping there would be a sweetness in the gel akin to ginger-ale or lemonade, but sweetness was nowhere to be found. The overall flavor was more essence of cough drop than refreshing summer beverage. Did the flavor live up to its name? Yes. Was the flavor enjoyable? No.
Gu energy gel is what it is: a gel. I usually stay away from foods or liquids with this particular viscosity. The texture of the gel reminded me of the super-ultra-hold hair gel of my competitive dance days. It was wet and shiny and sticky all at one. I honestly had to wait until my gag reflex calmed down to actually swallow the gel. The chocolate gu I tried before wasn’t quite this slippery and I was better able to swallow that flavor. If you have an issue with food textures, I would maybe stay away from this one.
Ease of consumption:
The Gu energy gel would be very easy to consume mid running. The tear off top was easy to tear. The gel was easy to squeeze out, and the opening would easily fit in any sized mouth. The gel also didn’t really required anything other than swallowing. The after taste was strongly ginger, but there was no other remaining feeling or anything stuck in my teeth. Overall, very easy to consume.
I absolutely felt like I had more energy this particular morning as compared to other weekday morning runs. I didn’t get too hungry while running, and I felt like my muscles had the fuel to do their job. I also didn’t get that heavy stomach feeling that can happen when intaking too many carbs or sugars. I would absolutely recommend Gu energy gel as a fuel agent.
Overall, the product did its job. I was sufficiently fueled, the gel was very easy to take, and the flavor was most definitely gingery. Personally, I would give Gingerade flavored Gu energy gel a 2/10 because while it did what it was supposed to do, the experience of eating it was way too unpleasant. However, if I pretend I am someone who likes ginger and likes energy gels I think I would award it a 7/10. I do think the flavor balance is still off and leans a little too close to cough drop.
Want to try it for yourself?
You can buy them here for $36 for a box of 24 or individually at your local running shop.