diy: endurance gels



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Emma Cutfield is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Education Manager at Vega, specializing in sport performance. In this post, Emma shares her favorite DIY recipes for Endurance Gels, to help fuel your personal best…naturally!


An endurance gel may not seem significant in portion, yet can mean the difference between “hitting the wall” or, reaching your personal best on race day and during your long runs.

You don’t need a culinary education or science degree to prep your own homemade gels. Promise! All that’s required is a passion for clean and natural ingredients. The base recipe given here replicates the Vega Sport Endurance Gel, which will be available on course during the SeaWheeze and is made primarily with dates and coconut oil.

Gels based from whole food, plant-based sources are easy to digest maximizing your energy gain. Because they’re made primarily with simple yet functional sugars, they’re also packed with naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and electrolytes which help your muscles function properly through-out the demands of endurance running. Supplying your body with additional carbohydrate mid-run also helps prevent muscle breakdown, helping you crush goal, after goal, after goal.

Instructions:

1. Use the base recipe as your foundation. Have these staples on hand and a DIY gel becomes just as convenient as a pre-packaged option.

2. Pick a flavor variation & follow the prep instructions

3.Store your gels in 50g/small zip seal baggies. If you’re not using food grade, make sure you double bag to avoid punctures.

4.Ready to run? Pick a serving suggestion and go find your happy pace!

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Base Recipe (makes 2 servings)

  • 8 dates (pitted) and soaked in warm water for at least 4 hours (ideally overnight)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (unrefined)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup (unrefined), or raw honey
  • Sprinkle of sea salt

Variation 1: Pink Grapefruit Cinnamon

  • 2 tbsp pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Blend the above ingredients with the base recipe in a food processor until smooth
  • Makes 2 X 45g servings

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Variation 2: Pomegranate Lime

  • 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tbsp pure pomegranate juice
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • Blend the above ingredients with the base recipe in a food processor until smooth
  • Makes 2 X 45g servings

Variation 3: Mocha Mint

  • ½ tsp ground coffee
  • 1 tsp cacao/cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp water (or use tea alternative below)
  • 1 tsp finely diced fresh mint leaves (or use 2 tbsp of brewed mint tea. Steep it strong!)
  • Add the above ingredients with the maple syrup from the base recipe into the food processor and pulse until the mint leaves are well blended
  • Add the remaining base recipe ingredients into your food processor and pulse again until smooth
  • If using mint tea, simply pulse all ingredients in the food processor until smooth
  • Makes 2 X 45g servings

For more great DIY Endurance Gels, check out the free, online Endurance Nutrition Lessons at thriveforward.com

Serving Suggestion 1: Traditional, light & easy

Take one serving every 45-60 minutes during long endurance runs or cross training cardio sessions exceeding 60 minutes in duration.

Time your gel intake with either a water fountain or water station on course (they will wash down easier), and consume them proactively. Even the most well absorbed carbohydrates need time to be digested in order to affect energy levels, aim to consume your gels 15 minutes before you usually notice energy slumps in your long runs.

Serving Suggestion 2: Hydrate and Energize

Dilute a gel into a 250-500ml (1-2 cup) handheld or hip-belt water bottle, the Hydraform is a great option. Shake with water, chilled tea, electrolyte water, or coconut water. Sip intermittently through-out your long runs.

Alternatively, you can blend the gel paste further with the above fluids prior to bottling. Whatever’s most convenient!

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Serving Suggestion 3: Spread on Toast

Spread one serving onto sourdough, gluten free, or sprouted grain toast as a super-powered jam alternative. This is a great meal/snack idea for 1-2 hours prior to racing or completing a long training run.

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This year, Emma’s running in her second SeaWheeze and 9th half marathon. Check out Emma's other natural recipes  to get you from start to finish line.

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3 Comments »


I’ve never thought of making these for myself. Must give them a try.

Comment by Rich — July 3, 2013 @ 9:50 am


How long do these gels stay good for?

Comment by KG — July 5, 2013 @ 7:35 am


Hey KG,

The gels contain no preservatives other than citrus juice so they’ll last you about a week in the fridge.

~Tess

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — July 9, 2013 @ 8:44 am


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