Saturday, March 10, 2012

How to make your own energy gel

Originally from ninelittlepiggies in RoadBikeReview Forums, I've made a few extra comments in red.

"You need to get the following ingredients:

Brew Store

Maltodextrin - Comes in many packages or bulk. Ranges from $2-5 a pound. Get this cheap as it is the main ingredient!

Citric Acid

Calcium Carbonate

Grocery Store (QFC) or similar bulk foods store

Fructose - Sold in bulk at QFC, get around 2 lbs, it'll last a long time.


Sea Salt - Also found in bulk, you don't need much.

Flavor Extract  and perhaps Gin (optional for those using non-alcohol based flavor extracts)
* I have learned a quick and easy way to flavor and color the gu is to simply use a half-teaspoon or so of your choice of powdered Kool-Aid or similar powder drink mix.

To package the GU efficiently, buy Collagen tubes from REI ($2 for a two pack). These seem to be the best way to carry GU into the mountains and in jersey pockets. The following proportions will make one Collagen tube perfectly. 
The small polyethylene flasks from Gu, FuelBelt, Ultimate, or Hammer Gel are easy to find and hold close to the equivalent of 5 commercially purchased foil packets.

Supplement Store:

Branched chain amino acids (all three): These are SO important and pretty expensive. Grind them up in a mortar and pestle.         
I haven’t tried these yet.


200 mL - Maltodextrin
50 mL - Fructose
100 mL - Water

Carefully measure out the above ingredients, and mix them together lightly. Bring the water to steaming hot and slowly whisk in the maltodextrin/fructose mix. Once this is done, mix in a "pinch" of Citric acid, calcium carbonate, sea salt, and pectin. Whisk on med heat until all the lumps are gone.  
I've been using the microwave but you need to be sure it gets hot enough to help break up the lumps.  

Now you are ready to add your flavor of choice. Almond extract is a staple flavor, but one can get more creative! I’ve tried a Pina Colada with pineapple and coconut flavorings. Make sure that you add some gin if you are not using an alcohol based extract less your GU have a nasty after taste! (Again remember that Kool-Aid works quite well.)  I then pour into the poly flasks to cool a short while before storing in the fridge for use the next morning.

The proportions I have found to work have been producing "stable" liquidy GU. Even slight variations in the ratio of maltodextrin to water cause major differences in the consistency of the GU. A little too much water and your have a clear sugary liquid, not enough and you'll have GU-chew! Below I have grabbed the ingredients list for authentic GU off their website. I have chosen to leave out some of the harder to find ingredients that they use like amino acids, who knows whether they make a difference. Read the marketing and come to your own conclusion!

I started using this recipe for mountaineering. It works very well on my 24 hour climbing marathons. One other thing that really helps is chocolate covered espresso beans. Caffeine releases fatty acids into your bloodstream with offers 9 kcal of energy/g as compared to 4 kcal from protein and carbs (there is a little more to this story, but I won't bore you with the biochemistry.)

I hope this helps,
Doug (ninelittlepiggies)"

from the Gu website...gel ingredients:

Maltodextrin (Glucose Polymers), Filtered Water, Fructose, GU Amino Acid Blend (Leucine, Valine, Isoleucine, Histidine), Potassium And Sodium Citrate, GU Antioxidant Blend (Natural Vitamin E And Vitamin C), Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, GU Herbal Blend [Chamomile, Cola Nut (Has Caffeine), Ginger], Fumaric Acid, Pectin

Gluten-free. Dairy-free. With ~20mg of caffeine.

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