By Mike Mathewson
Water, Water, Water
Water is the key to proper gel usage, whether you are using e-Gel or
one of our competitor's products. Gels are absorbed in your small
intestine, and water is the transport vehicle that allows this to occur.
If you fall behind on your water intake during longer workouts, you run the
risk of dehydration, delayed benefits from the gel and possible stomach
When ever you consume energy gel you should follow it with enough water
to properly flush it down (usually a few swallows is sufficient).
However, it is important to understand that each pack of e-Gel will take
approximately 16 ounces of water along with it when it enters your
cellular system. If you are properly "pre-hydrated" before
your workout you will have 20 to 30 ounces of available water in your
stomach and intestinal tract that can be used to assimilate the gel. If
you fail to replace this water over time then you will become dehydrated
and your performance will suffer as a result.
Translated, in workouts where you are using multiple packs of e-Gel, we
strongly recommend that you drink 16 ounces of water before you rip open
your second pack (and so on). For example, if you down your gel with 4
ounces of water, you should consume an additional 12 ounces over the
course of the next 30 to 60 minutes before moving on to your next gel pack.
If that seems like a lot of water, your not alone. The majority of
endurance athletes fail to drink sufficient amounts of fluids during
competition to remain properly hydrated. Nutritionists typically recommend drinking
16 to 32 ounces of water per hour during endurance events. Studies have
shown that even moderate dehydration can negatively impact your
performance - therefore, it is recommended that you learn to drink
during long runs - whether or not you are using an energy gel.
What about Sports Drinks?
Most leading sports drinks (including e-Fuel)
are designed to provide hydration, energy
and electrolyte replacement. While these products can work great alone,
they can cause problems when used in conjunction with energy gels. When
a gel is mixed with a typical sports drink, the combined solution is
more concentrated than your body fluids (hypertonic) which can result in
delayed gel absorption and potential dehydration and stomach irritation.
If you want to use a sports drink and energy gels during the same
we strongly recommend that you also consume plain water to adequately
dilute your gel. One alternative is to use gels and water during one
stage of the workout and then a sports drink later in the workout.
Depending on the concentration, an ingested fluid can be either
hypotonic, isotonic or hypertonic:
- a solution that is less concentrated than your body fluids
- a solution that is approximately equal in concentration to your
- a solution that is more concentrated than your body fluids
solutions such as water do a good job of hydrating your body.
Unfortunately they bring very little, if any, energy and electrolyte
replacement benefits into the cellular system.
Isotonic solutions can also provide rapid hydration, and they
have the potential advantage of bringing significant energy
and electrolyte replacement benefits into the cellular system.
Hypertonic solutions can have several times more energy than
isotonic solutions depending on their concentration level. All energy gels, including e-Gel, are extremely
Hypertonic solutions need to be diluted down at least to an isotonic
concentration before they can be absorbed. If you do not ingest water
(or another hypotonic solution) to dilute the gel, then your body will
dilute it for you by drawing upon available water in your stomach and
intestinal tract if available, and from your cellular system if
necessary. The result is potential dehydration, delayed benefits from the gel and possible stomach
Isotonic and hypertonic sports drinks can not by themselves dilute an
energy gel down to the required isotonic state - the combined solution
will remain hypertonic. Therefore, to ensure optimum performance with
energy gels, proper water consumption is critical.
For more information about e-Gel, visit cranksports.com