GU Gu GU Gu GU Gu GU Gu GU Gu

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Baby talk? Nah, we’re past that. We got a nice sponsorship from GU energy foods. I just hope my level of fitness does it justice. Liking the Chomps, and the Roctane. Lots of caffeinated and non-caffeinated options, but watch what you consume if your caffeine intake is limited. I’m also digging their recovery drink for days I’ve got enough self discipline to limit my caloric intake after my workouts (otherwise known as eating everything in sight after exercise).

GU food for ski mountaineering.

GU food for ski mountaineering.

WildSnow GU drawer, ready for winter.

WildSnow GU drawer, ready for winter.

I’ve experimented with athletic gels and drinks for years. When I’m at average to poor fitness level, they don’t seem to help more than simply eating a healthy snack every hour or so during exercise, and drinking plenty of water. But once I get somewhat fit, I honestly notice an excellent effect in terms of increased endurance and strength when I use the more scientific stuff according to instructions. Not sure why that is; perhaps because the racing metabolism when your fit uses the readily available carbs of the gels in a more important way.

I’m also experimenting with GU version of athletic drink they call GU brew. Basically an electrolyte replacement, I think I might prefer more substantial athletic drinks that include plenty of carbs. But perhaps the GU way is the way. We shall see. Always fun to experiment with fueling the human machine.

Esteemed Wildsnowers, what’s your opinion on this stuff? Bagels cheaper and just as effective? Roctane rock your world? Pray tell.

Comments

28 Responses to “GU Gu GU Gu GU Gu GU Gu GU Gu”

  1. Andy M October 11th, 2011 10:24 am

    I cut my backcountry teeth in Austria, and thusly prefer a mug of Jägertee as an after-ski brew.

  2. Scott October 11th, 2011 10:58 am

    Gu rules. I just wish they could come out with some slightly more minimal and less messy packaging for the GU gel.

  3. bobby October 11th, 2011 11:20 am

    love gu. love clif shotblocks more.

  4. Greg Louie October 11th, 2011 11:28 am

    Yeah, I’ll eat any energy food my friends or kid’s bike team gets for free, but If I’m buying it’s ShotBloks FTW . . .

  5. Greg October 11th, 2011 11:34 am

    Shotbloks come in a better package for on-the-go eating. Aside from that I don’t have a preference between those and the gu chomps. Both great for keeping fueled in the skintrack.

    It’s a constant challenge to get my non-endurance-geek friends to embrace eating sticky gels and blocks to avoid that midafternoon bonk.

  6. Nick October 11th, 2011 12:04 pm

    I like the Gu gels, but similar to the above also like the Clif Shotbloks. As far as energy drink. Cytomax for the win! (But I have to go 1/2 dose as anymore can mess up the stomach). Really only Cytomax on the biggest of days.

  7. Gaper Jeffey October 11th, 2011 12:21 pm

    What others said about Shotblocks. ShotBlocks are easier to consume one-handed. You just open an end then squeeze them in your month. Not sure why Gu hasn’t adopted the same packaging.

  8. Pat October 11th, 2011 1:36 pm

    I also like ShotBloks. Then I tried Honey Stinger fruit chews. Those are really the best thing I’ve found so far. Haven’t been a huge fan of Gu, but in all honesty probably haven’t given them a fair shake. I need to check out more of their offerings.

  9. Bryan October 11th, 2011 3:00 pm

    Why would anyone choose to ingest GU gels when there are 1,000s of options to eat REAL FOOD THAT IS GROWN IN NATURE OVER PROCESSED GEL?

  10. Joshua October 11th, 2011 4:43 pm

    Personally, i’m all about real foods. Homemade protein bars seem to work just fine for me without all the junk. I get energy spikes very easily with processed foods like GU. Plus, real foods taste way better in my opinion. My wife whips up some wicked protein bars that are perfect for touring. Give them a shot. http://www.beyondthepeel.net/category/protein-bars

  11. Greg Louie October 11th, 2011 4:53 pm

    x2 on the Cytomax stomachache syndrome – I’m back to original (non-diet) Gatorade. Alpine hot apple cider in winter.

    Gels seem to all work about the same for me – I like fruit flavors with some citric acid to cut the sugar. Favorites: Gu Mandarin Orange, Hammer Gel Montana Huckleberry, Clifshot Razz and Strawberry.

    I’ve lost my taste for just about all energy bars and now carry a bag of Trader Joe’s mixed salted nuts . . .

  12. Michael October 11th, 2011 4:58 pm

    +1 in favor of real foods. For packaged real foods, I like Lara bars-dates and almonds form the base, no added sweeteners. The couple times a year I do a mt bike race, I like the blocks and goos

  13. Scott October 11th, 2011 5:06 pm

    Real food is great, but if you are really moving and don’t have time to chew much or the energy to digest anything, energy gels are the ticket. I’ve got to admit, that isn’t my usual touring day.

  14. Roman Rodyakin October 11th, 2011 5:40 pm

    I gave up on the mass-produced energy drinks/gels/bars: too much sugar, too much sodium, too little potassium, protein of dubious quality and packaging that is designed to attract looks, not to work in the backcountry. I make my own gel, which only has water, maltodextrin, morton lite (the best source of potassium I could find — which also happens to provide the sodium), and non-flavored whey protein. I worked out the ratios from some reading and experimentation. Then I pour the gel into a 0.5l plastic water bottle that weighs a whopping 20g, clip it to a pack (or throw it into a pocket on a really cold day), and I’m good for the day of on the go nutrition. I still eat real food during the breaks, of course.

  15. Lou October 11th, 2011 6:59 pm

    The scientific formulation of good quality commercial gels and such does work, but yeah, it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. Making your own stuff is excellent as well. We’ve done a couple of blog posts on that over the years:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/565/homemade-energy-bars-for-backcountry-skiing/

    http://www.wildsnow.com/145/culinary-delights-of-backcountry-skiing-hombrew-goo/

  16. TobyG October 11th, 2011 7:11 pm

    Nuun dissolving electrolyte tabs for drinks. Hammer gel in a hammer flask when you need energy (must keep in your jacket otherwise it won’t flow). Both are super packable and simple.

  17. Derek October 11th, 2011 7:26 pm

    One ergogenic aid not realized by most is vitamin D (D3, or cholecalciferol). Studies in the last two years have shown a direct correlation between seasons, sun exposure, vitamin D levels, and testosterone. In short, they found testosterone levels varied by as much as 50% from summer to winter, with levels following serum vitamin D.

    So……do you want to recover better between ski tours, or just waste away as the season drags on? And no, the vitamin D fortified cereal and milk isn’t going to cut it.

  18. Greg Louie October 11th, 2011 9:37 pm

    Shot Roks are pretty much inedible unless you have liter of water in your hand – I’ve gone into choking fits a couple times trying to eat them on my bike . . .

  19. Bar Barrique October 11th, 2011 10:41 pm

    I’m probably in a minority (as usual), but, I do not like this stuff. Maybe it’s because I am an older laid back skier. I enjoy real food, though, I have to admit that all my comrades do not seem to be able to travel as long without “snacking”.

  20. David Aldous October 11th, 2011 11:02 pm

    Greg Louie
    I get the impression that the Shot Roks are more aimed at post exercise recovery than the during workout food that gels and blocks are aimed at. Granted you can use the products however you like. Sometimes it is nice to have something to eat of a different texture.

  21. Philip October 12th, 2011 3:50 am

    Andy M, I cut my backcountry teeth also in Austria. For me nothing beats a ‘Radler’, after a long ski tour day.

  22. Dimitri October 12th, 2011 4:45 am

    nothing really works better than FOOD, carb load, then fire up those pistons :D

    those glucose based gels are nice and color full though and I must admit I do use similar stuff when i hit the single track on my MTB. A Whey protein drink before middle and after will do more for your muscles and their recovery in my opinion.

    Does anyone use a trial food (I use Turmat http://www.drytech.no/) for lunch stops while in the backcountry?

  23. Ralph October 12th, 2011 8:17 am

    Favorite winter drink: 1 liter thermos bottle with 3 Peppermint Tea bags (Celestial Seasonings bags won’t tear over course of a day) sweetened with honey. Great energy boost and warm-up.

  24. jim knight October 12th, 2011 10:02 am

    Take a tip from ultrarunning – trying to get a balanced electrolyte intake solely from fluids/foods is flawed and expensive. I’ve found Hammer Endurolyte capsules to be the best. Eat the foods you like and – newsflash – nothing beats pure water.

  25. marolt@rof.net October 12th, 2011 2:48 pm

    it’s amazing how a guy could totally sustain day after day on GU, the same cafinated chocolate flavor no less, but GU is the only thing i use outside of the tent wherever i find my self climbing and skiing. And no, have never inquired about a sponsorship. The stuff just works, and has for years so i just buy it by the box. Makes me sick just thinking about it, but that’s all i eat when out and about.

  26. Lou October 12th, 2011 2:53 pm

    Two words, Steve House.

  27. Tom October 12th, 2011 5:15 pm

    Another fan of Clif Shot Bloks. You can chew them for entertainment or just swallow them whole when on the move. For a less sweet enerty drink, try Powerbar Ironman Perform. But these days, I go with Shot Bloks and water.

  28. Adam October 21st, 2011 7:21 am

    I want to make a plug for Hammer’s Perpetuem powder. Taste is bland but that’s what I want when pushing hard and not trying to upset my stomach. Has some protein and fat, not just a carb drink.

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