Monday, 11 September 2017 08:56

Science in Sport GO Energy gels tested and reviewed

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Over the last few years sports nutrition has become an increasingly important part of a runner's kit list. Gels, in particular, have filtered down from the elite ranks to club runners and regular hobby runners so we decided to put them to the test in the hands of Vertebrate Publishing's MD and regular runner Jon Barton.

What the manufacturers say:

Energy gels are a convenient way to boost your carbohydrate intake during endurance exercise. Our word-famous Isotonic Energy gels are carefully designed to digest quickly and easily, but don't miss out on our Energy + Caffeine gels, great for a mental boost, our Energy + Electrolyte gels, designed to help keep you hydrated and our brand new GO Energy + Immmune Gels wich have a blend of vitamins & minerals to support immune funciton

SiS 2 

Science in Sport GO Energy gels on test with Jon Barton:

Carbohydrate supplement during exercise is well established amongst endurance athletes to offset fatigue, particularly at the one hour plus activity level.

The smart solution is to use energy gels, and supplement this with plain water or electrolyte drink. Gels are portable and designed to be easily consumed. Jog along at the back of a marathon field to see just how popular, the road is littered with them, used and unused dropped ones.


The body can absorb about 60g of maltodextrin carb/hour so if you are refuelling then you need to look at how many grammes are in each gel and use accordingly. SiS’s Go Energy + Electrolyte and the SIS Go Energy + Caffeine contain 22g of maltodextrin (carb) per sachet, so that’s three an hour, bearing in mind if you are also sipping carb drinks then that will mean surplus carbs so adjust accordingly. They contain 38g of water and thus feel less sickly sweet than other gels and don’t necessarily require a slug of water as a chaser. The downside is a bulkier and heavier sachet. They also contain artificial sweeteners in the form of Acesulfame K, not necessary in my opinion.

SiS 3

The sachets opened easily, and in about twenty five opens none spilt and none were spilled, splitting sachets can be a big problem if fatigue is high and you’re relying on that last gel. The opening tag can be torn off about ¾ of the way, keeping the litter in at least one piece for recycling or disposal. The sachet should be put well into the mouth and one squeeze up tends to get 95% of the gel, unless you are really dying out there little more can be squeezed out, so less favving around.

How do they perform? SIS have been making gels for long enough to get it right. They caused no stomach issues, even at high levels of activity, they performed well as a meal supplement before short races (5k runs), also were effective at relaxing the stomach when nerves or other foods were making their presence known. As a gel the SIS Energy is faultless in its performance. In training I would tend to consume after one hour of exercise then take three an hour up to 40 mins before finishing, when I would have the last gel. That is four gels for a three hour run, seven for a four hour run. I also use immediately after exercise, one gel, which just keeps everything topped up before ordering the pizza. The caffeine gel contains 75mg of magic power, certainly one per three-hour block is worth taking depending on your experience with caffeine supplements.

SiS 1

Overall – a bulky gel that is ideal for short distance events where the need for additional hydration isn’t always necessary and not too many need carrying. If you are not carrying this gel it is the best gel I have used. Faultless performance, but consider gels with more carb content if you are doing lots of carrying but water is alternately available.

The gels were tested in a month of generally hot weather, used almost exclusively before, during or after road and trail runs of twenty minutes to three hours in length. Some gels were used to supplement biking and climbing sessions. One was eaten after the pub, by mistake.