Monday, August 1, 2022
HomeSuperfoodPower Gels vs. Power Bars, When to Eat What? – RUNIVORE

Power Gels vs. Power Bars, When to Eat What? – RUNIVORE

Power gels are higher. They offer you a fast enhance in an excellent compact, energy-dense package deal. Power bars are higher. They’re tastier, depart you glad, and supply extra numerous vitamins. (Learn in Adam Sandler’s Billy Madison voice.)

Jokes apart, “vitality gels versus vitality bars” is among the most mentioned subjects in sports activities diet. This text offers you a glimpse at how the human physique reacts to 2 kinds of gas, and I’ll additionally share their execs and cons based mostly on earlier experiences.

Whenever you eat an vitality gel…

As quickly because the gel enters your mouth, the enzyme salivary amylase instantly begins to course of the easy sugars. A lot of the gel is then swallowed into the digestive tract, the place carbohydrates are damaged right down to cross from the small gut to the bloodstream within the type of glucose.

Insulin is triggered and prompts cells to make use of the glucose or retailer it for later. The entire course of is quick. Mouth-to-muscle time normally takes 5-Quarter-hour, relying on the athlete.

In case you’re taken with diving into the vitality gel rabbit gap, right here’s a very good place to begin.


Whenever you eat an vitality bar…

In case you assume there are manner too many vitality gel choices, vitality bar merchandise are presumably much more numerous and are available in all styles and sizes. 

Elements vary from pure meals resembling nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and grains to synthetic components like maltodextrin and artificial micro-nutrients.

Identical to with gels, as quickly as you chew into an vitality bar, the identical enzyme, salivary amylase, begins to course of the easy sugars. Chewing breaks it into smaller items for the digestive system.

It’s in your abdomen the place the variations happen. The standard vitality bar comprises complicated carbohydrates and different vitamins resembling dietary fiber and proteins, slowing the digestion course of. Though vitality bars present extra energy and carbohydrates, they’re slower to empty from the abdomen, that means mouth to muscle course of may be considerably slower.

This text goes deeper into the 2 processes. Have a learn.


My prime 3 execs and cons of vitality gels


  1. I normally really feel vitality surges of assorted magnitude inside 5-8 minutes; for some manufacturers, even sooner. Gels merely work, particularly for shorter and sooner occasions.
  2. Compact, mild, and matches properly in most fuel-carrying gears.
  3. Tremendous straightforward to devour when on the transfer, even at larger intensities.


  1. Clearly, the style ain’t nice and I’m at all times cautious of the dreaded sweetness fatigue.
  2. Sugar spikes and crashes are widespread uncomfortable side effects.
  3. Unhealthy and never appropriate as each day exercise gas.


My prime 3 execs and cons of vitality bars


  1. In case you decide the proper manufacturers, they’re scrumptious gas choices and in addition extraordinarily straightforward to make your self.
  2. They make glorious pre-race or pre-workout meals. Some bars are just about oatmeal in an aluminum wrapper.
  3. Many kinds of vitality bars present a extra balanced dietary profile (however most likely nonetheless can’t be labeled as wholesome).


  1. It takes longer to empty out of your abdomen and, subsequently, slower reacting.
  2. Extra blood must be drawn to the gastrointestinal system for digestion, which implies much less blood in your physique’s cooling mechanisms and muscular actions.
  3. They’ll turn out to be rock arduous within the chilly (unattainable to eat) or they’ll soften right into a sticky goo in sizzling temperatures (tremendous messy).


My vitality gel and vitality bar ideas and techniques

  • For any exercise beneath 90 minutes, I’m okay not refueling so long as I had a good breakfast.
  • I typically eat an vitality bar alone or with my breakfast not less than two hours earlier than a race or a exercise. It’s straightforward and supplies the gas that the physique wants.
  • For marathons, I strictly go along with vitality gels. When working at marathon effort, chewing and digesting a bar is just too taxing.
  • Combine in numerous gel flavors and types (keep in mind to check them beforehand) to keep away from taste fatigue. I like to save lots of caffeinated ones for afterward within the race.
  • For extremely distances, particularly path ultras, that take 10+ hours and as much as 20+, stable meals is a should for me. Getting from one water station to the subsequent typically takes a number of hours, so vitality bars are good for these conditions.
  • When consuming vitality bars, I don’t eat the entire thing in “one sitting.” It takes me 20-Half-hour to eat a bar. Take a chew, chew it totally and savor the style. Don’t wish to over stress my jaw and abdomen. By the way in which, many manufacturers supply bite-size bars.
  • Packaging is a prime precedence when choosing an vitality bar or a gel. They need to rip open simply. Any additional effort to get to my gas can get annoying when fatigued or caught within the ache cave.


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