My top gel
Months ago I went out and bought two of almost every brand of gel I could find in the store. With long training runs and a lot of races I get to use gels fairly often. I recommend that you personally try a few different brands and flavors to find what works best for you. My taste buds and stomach say one thing, but yours say something completely different.
With all that said GU is my favorite gel out there. They have a good selection of flavors, my personal favorite being espresso love. I find that GU’s tall and skinny packages fit very well into a pocket or a water bottle holder. Once you pull it out of your pocket you can very easily bite the top off, its also very easy to take that piece and put it in your pocket so you don’t litter. These are clean and easy to get from the tube to your mouth.
The only complaint I have is that it has become very hard to find GU without caffeine in it. Sometimes I might want a caffeinated gel, but if I don’t want caffeine I have to turn to another brand. If you want to know how much of a boost these give you I would say that there is very little difference between gels, but this one seems to be identical to the other brands I have tried. Just like most gels, too many of them will mess you stomach up a little.
Peanut Butter? Can I have anutter?
I got a deal on the peanut butter flavor of the GU gels, skeptical at first. The other flavors I have tried were good, but peanut butter? Well, a couple of packets during a long ride convinced me that is the flavor for me!! I love the fact I get the peanut butter flavor without the stick to the roof of your mouth stickiness. (Plus, it's tough to carry a jar of peanut butter in your jersey pocket). I have also tried Justin's nut butter packs, but this stuff goes down much easier. I am going to try mixing with another flavor in the future, try to get that PB&J taste maybe?? The boost of energy is gradual, but lasts for awhile. Great for rides. The other flavors I've tried are great too, but nothing to bring back that feeling as a kid eating a PB and banana sandwich so much as the peanut butter GU.
For those who have a hard time swallowing these, don't just gulp them down. Let the GU sit in your mouth for a little bit, your saliva will soften it up. If you don't have saliva, your issue isn't energy, you need some liquids. Plus, drinking a little bit after a GU shot helps. I've never had that "sit in the bottom of your stomach" feel with the GU gels.
I picked up two packs before a recent 14 mile day hike with 4000' of elevation gain and am glad I did!
Tri Berry and Jet Blackberry both tasted great. The effect was both subtle and noticeable. Meaning no sudden jittery boost but sustained energy for that extra push. I downed one of these approximately 6 miles in, just before the summit, and everyone commented on how I just "took off" during the last push to the top. Everyone else agreed that the last climb was noticeably difficult for them but I sailed up as fresh as if I'd just begun the hike.
Recovery was quick too. Much quicker than other hikes done without GU. Not sure if there is a correlation or not but thought it worth mentioning. Also, these were easy on the stomach and I tend to have a sensitive digestive system and steer away from excessive amounts of caffeine.
As other reviewers have mentioned, they do make you thirsty so be prepared. All in all, great product! These will be in my backpack and possibly my desk drawer from now on!
Huge energy boost in very small packet
Espresso Love, which has caffeine and chocolate, tastes best to me as it tastes like a rich chocolate pudding. The vanilla bean is like vanilla pudding and the peanut butter also has a good true flavor. Sea caramel is decent. The fruity ones are too sweet for me. I'm not a fan of energy bars as most are too sweet; these have the advantage of smaller more lightweight packets than any energy bar I tolerate. Took the espresso and vanilla on my recent trek to Mt Everest and was impressed with the quick energy boost they gave me. Better than any other energy snack I've tried. Now carry them in my back pack or bag for local hikes and daily use. Not low cal, but they are better than most weight loss things at curbing hunger.
Tasty and effective
A friend handed me a Gu gel during a trail run. Not only did it taste really good (Chocolate Outrage), it also gave me a much needed energy boost.
I know they try to save packaging material and therefore they don't have the don't-loose-the-little-tab like Clif gels. But on runs, that little tab can be a little awkward. When riding my bike, I tape the tab to my bike's top tube so I can single-handedly open the gel packet and no accidental littering with that little tab.
Be sure to wash the gel down with some water though or it will leave you very thirsty.
GU is GREAT!
I love GU! I depend on it to keep me from bonking on my long runs. It's easy to ingest while running, and it's also very convenient! Small size easily fits in a pocket. Use as advised, it will keep your energy up for hours - perfect for marathon/half marathon training - or any endurance activity! Must use with water - but you wouldn't think about endurance activity without water anyway, so that shouldn't be considered a problem.
I love the Chocolate Outrage the best- not only is it palatable, but it's actually quite delicious; the taste and consistency is like chocolate fudge. Yum!
Banana Strawberry is INTENSE
Dang, this is NOT lacking on flavor. I'm not sure how 'many' bananas/strawberries they had to use to get the "natural banana flavor", but holy smokes! This little guy does not leave you wanting in the flavor department. This is basically the same consistency as taking a shot of honey. My stomach made some funny gurgling noises not even three minutes later, so we will see what that is all about later. Ya, this one is SUPER banana flavor. I may not get this one again. I love banana's, but this is a bit much.
Pick your flavors carefully
I've tried a few flavors and my favorites are Vanilla and Salted Caramel. On cold days I love the Vanilla, it tastes just like vanilla pudding and the cold gives it the right thickness. Even though it's a winter flavor, the Salted Caramel is awesome when warm. I had it on a hot day, it was delicious like caramel syrup and the heat made it thinner and easy to swallow. Both of these are sweet, so if you don't have a sweet tooth, it may not fit your individual taste.
GU is Great!
I road bike a lot and just got into mountain biking. If I hit a stretch that zaps my energy, I take GU and within 1-2 minutes I feel 100% again. The value of this product in long distance rides is extraordinary. Even if I'm training doing bike sprints or hills, I take GU whenever I start to feel sluggish. They travel easy with you and are easy to take while riding. Take a drink afterwards from you water bottle and life feels good again. I love them.
This stuff is really great because it really works. The consistency throws you off at first and can make it hard to swallow, but you get used to it. After trying a few different flavors, I've decided that Chocolate is the flavor for me. To me, it is just like chocolate pudding. One packet of this before any activity like climbing, hiking, or cycling and you should have energy for about an hour. Like they say, stay hydrated or you'll wish you hadn't even eaten the Gu.