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Best Energy Gels and Great Benefits for Runners

Energy gels are convenient, individually packaged gels that contain a concentrated source of carbohydrates. Endurance runners and athletes often use them in longer training sessions to improve performance and maintain adequate blood sugar levels.

Most energy gels are made of a quick-digesting carbohydrate source, often in the form of maltodextrin, sucrose, fructose, or glucose.

In addition to the carbohydrate source, gels may include caffeine, which has been shown to improve exercise performance, especially for long-distance runs, as well as branched-chain amino acids, which can help relieve muscle soreness.

How to Choose an Energy Gel

When deciding on a gel for our running needs, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Carbs per serving: Most energy gels have 20–25 grams of carbs per serving. The recommendation is consuming 30–60 grams of carbs per hour when exercising for longer than 1 hour. We may need to do a little number crunching to determine how many gels we will need to meet this recommendation.

  • Sugar source: The carbohydrates found in energy gels often come from simple sugars such as dextrose, maltodextrin, glucose, or fructose, as these are easily digested and absorbed. Some gels contain other sources of sugar, such as maple syrup or honey.

  • Ingredients: In addition to a carbohydrate source, we may see other ingredients on the label, such as gelling agents like xanthan gum and gellan gum, which help with texture. Some gels may contain artificial sweeteners and colours, as well as additives and preservatives, which may be a downside if we prefer a more natural product.

  • Caffeine content: Caffeine may help boost performance. However, some people are more sensitive to side effects of caffeine, and too much caffeine may cause unwanted side effects. To balance our caffeine intake, we should alternate between caffeinated and non-caffeinated gels or skip the caffeine altogether.

  • Electrolytes: Some gels contain added electrolytes that can be beneficial during training and workouts. This can be a convenient way to get in carbs and electrolytes together. However, if we use another source of electrolytes, it may be best to choose a gel without them, or drink plain water with the gel.

Recommendation for runners, is to experiment with a few different types of gels to figure out what sits and digest well in our stomach. We need to test different gels to avoid stomach issues, especially during long-distance runs.

Our training runs are not just to train our legs but also gives us the chance to train our gut and figure what fuel source works best for our body type. Race day is not the day to experiment with a new fuel.

We also need to choose the proper type of gel according to the current weather conditions and climate, if the weather is very hot and humid, we will need more electrolytes, minerals and vitamins.


  • Flavours: salted caramel, chocolate outrage, strawberry banana, tri-berry, jet blackberry, vanilla bean, espresso love, caramel macchiato, birthday cake, lemon sublime, campfire s’mores, and more

  • Carbs per serving: 23 grams

  • Caffeine: in some flavours

  • Sugar source: maltodextrin, fructose

Gu Energy is known for offering sports nutrition products in a variety of fun flavours.

More than 25 flavours are available, some of which contain 20 or 40 mg of caffeine from green tea extract. Fans of the gels appreciate the flavour variety and pleasant taste.

What’s more, Gu energy gels are vegan and gluten-free.


Flavours: lemon, red berries, apple, coffee

  • Carbs per serving: 21g

  • Caffeine: in coffee flavour

  • Sugar source: fructose, maltodextrin, glucose syrup

Energix Gels: Long-Distance Energy

The ENERGIX gel was specially designed for long distance sports practice (marathons, trails, cycling, triathlons, etc.) by maintaining performance throughout a sporting activity lasting longer than 2h.

Antioxidant Gels: Antioxidant Energy

The ANTIOXIDANT gel contributes to good muscle function thanks to its supply of magnesium. Its effectiveness is boosted by antioxidants that help protect cells against oxidative stress.

Coup de Fouet Gels: Instant Energy

A true instant energy concentrate, the COUP DE FOUET gel is perfect during a competition at times of intense effort (tough speed, climbing a mountain pass, etc.) and as we approach the finish line.

Red Tonic Gels: Energy for intense sporting activities

We should take the RED TONIC gel during a sporting activity any time we need to replenish maximum energy as quickly as possible and be at the top of our game again.

Cafein’ Gel: Cafein' Gel contains natural caffeine from guarana and coffee for a real stimulating action and an instant energy source during intense physical exertion.

Cafein' Gel is used during physical exertion, at any time to reconstitute maximum energy as fast as possible (difficulty, climbing, exertion it will give you again maximum efficiency.

Cafein'Gel is also very adapted for activities which require vigilance and concentration- night competitions.


  • Flavours: orange, lemon and mint, salted strawberry, apple

  • Carbs per serving: 22 grams

  • Caffeine: no

  • Sugar source: maltodextrin

SiS is a nutrition brand that offers various endurance nutrition products, including gels, powders, drinks, and bars.

SiS is a very good gel overall because it’s convenient for long runs.

“Science in Sport” (SiS) has an energy gel that is meant to be consumed without water. This can be helpful if we don’t have access to water stops, when we take our fuel. Most gels require water to be consumed at the same time to help with absorption. Available at Decathlon shop.


  • Flavours: unflavoured

  • Carbs per serving: 25 grams

  • Caffeine: caffeinated and non-caffeinated options

  • Sugar source: glucose, fructose

Maurten energy gels are overall runner-up because they’re known to be a great choice for athletes with sensitive stomachs.

Maurten sells sports products that include their patent-pending hydrogel, which behaves like a sponge and can hold carbohydrates.

Maurten claims this allows for better transportation of carbohydrates to the intestines, which decreases digestive issues.


  • Flavours: mocha, double espresso, razz, citrus, vanilla, strawberry

  • Carbs per serving: 24–25 grams

  • Caffeine: in some flavours

  • Sugar source: maltodextrin, cane sugar

Clif Bar & Company is known for its bars and snacks, but it also offers a line of organic energy gels.

Clif Shot Energy gels are made from organically grown, non-GMO ingredients.

Some flavours contain 25, 50, or 100 mg of caffeine per serving.


  • Flavours: acai pomegranate, gold, fruit smoothie, strawberry kiwi

  • Carbs per serving: 24–26 grams

  • Caffeine: in some flavours

  • Sugar source: organic honey, organic tapioca syrup

Honey Stinger is known for its use of organic honey in its sports nutrition products.

The energy gels are certified non-GMO and free of gluten, soy, nuts, and dairy, making them a suitable choice for runners with allergies.

These gels have added electrolytes to help stay hydrated during longer training sessions, but we will still need to take them with water.

Many runners find these honey-based gels easier to digest.

Strawberry kiwi is the only caffeinated flavour, providing 32 mg of caffeine from green tea extract.


  • Flavours: apple cinnamon, banana, chocolate, espresso, huckleberry, hazelnut, orange, peanut butter, peanut butter chocolate, raspberry, tropical, vanilla

  • Carbs per serving: 22 grams

  • Caffeine: in some flavours

  • Sugar source: maltodextrin, dextrose

Hammer Nutrition sells various types of sports nutrition fuel, supplements, and bars.

Hammer Energy Gels are available in 12 flavours, including peanut butter, tropical, and apple cinnamon.

The espresso and tropical flavours do contain caffeine.

Every flavour is also gluten-free.

Every flavour except hazelnut is also vegan.


  • Flavours: canaberry

  • Carbs per serving: 17 grams

  • Caffeine: no

  • Sugar source: basmati rice, fruit, maple syrup

Spring Energy uses 100% natural, real-food ingredients in its sports nutrition products.

The Any Distance Fuel comes in just one flavour, canaberry, which is described as mildly sweet.

It’s also gluten-free containing ingredients and produced in a gluten-free facility, making it a good option if we have a gluten-related disorders.

In addition to Any Distance Fuel, Spring Energy offers other gel products- Speednut, Hill Aid, and Long Haul, which vary in calories, caffeine, flavour, and other ingredients.

Many runners appreciate the gel’s real-food ingredients, such as basmati rice and fruit.

Recommendations of Running Gels

Running gels may not be necessary for all runners, especially when exercising for shorter periods of time.

The recommendation is using them on any runs 90 minutes or longer. We can use them on shorter runs as well, but we need to make sure we don’t ignore them when our runs get longer distance. Everyone is different and some runners may find they do better when fueling more often than these guidelines, so it’s important to experiment and see what works best for our body type.

Remember, consuming water with gels is important, taking a few sips of water before and after taking the gel will help with absorption and keep you hydrated.

That being said, some runners or athletes prefer to use a food, such as dates or bananas instead of gels.

Choose Your Favourite Energy Gel, Consume According to Your Run, Appreciate High Levels of Energy and a Nice Runs!


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