Triathlon Nutrition Plan Part 4: Gels vs Chews vs Bars vs Liquid

– Hey, what’s up triathlon traniacs. Triathlon Taren here with
your daily triathlon video helping you nail your training,
your racing, hopefully, become a better triathlete
which then, hopefully, results in a funner, more
daring and enjoyable life. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Today, in the fourth
and final video in our “Figure Out Your Race Nutrition” series, we’re gonna be talking about
where you get your calories from and we’re gonna be
talking about the pros and cons comparing the most common
places to get your calories. Those being gels, chews,
bars or the new option, primarily, liquid based. Now, the first option we’re
gonna talk about is bars and some of the pros to using bars during a race is that it’s a solid food. It tends to settle a lot
of people’s stomachs. You also won’t get that feeling
of becoming hungry or having like, that real sugary, gut
rotty feeling that you get from just taking on really
processed, high sugar things like gels and chews. You’ve also got a ton of
options for different taste. You can get sweet potato bars. You can get gluten free
bars, soy free bars. You have tons of different options depending on what your palate likes. Now, the cons however, is
one, you might not think about this, but, it can be, depending
on the consistency of the bar, tough to chew during a
race and with some certain bars that are really chewy, are
really big in your mouth, it’ll actually throw off your
breathing which can then, lead to developing a side
stitch or some cramps. In addition to that, some bars
aren’t packaged up well and they’re not dosed in a form
that is really good for a race where we’re trying to take anywhere from 80 to 130 calories every half hour. Some bars come and
there like 230 calories. What are you gonna do with that? The second option is primarily,
liquid based and you’re seeing a lot of triathletes
go towards a liquid nutrition solution in their races. Lionel Sanders has done it and
that’s because it tends to be the most customizable to your specific, say, sweat rate or taste palate. It’s also, probably, very
easy to digest because it is customed designed for you
and because it is so new, they’re coming at it with
a lot of new science, so, it tends to be formulated
with things that are easy to digest and process and
then, the last thing is that it’s really easy to carry. As long as you can fill up
some bottles and you can swap them out easily and you’ve got
that dexterity on the bike, it tends to be really easy to
carry and it’s an all-in-one solution that boom, from
fluids, to electrolytes to all the calories,
everything done, one bottle, bing, bang, boom, thank ya. The cons of this as an option
however, are that you might potentially, have taste
fatigue if you aren’t able to customize the taste to what you like. The second, I mentioned in the
video yesterday that if you end up somehow losing it or
you need to top up at the last minute while you’re at a
destination race and you got this super customized nutrition
solution and you don’t have access to it anywhere,
could be tough to source. The third downside is what
I talked about with the bars is that because it’s all liquid,
you don’t feel like you’ve really eaten anything
throughout the day and you might feel a little
bit of an empty stomach and that’s just a distraction from taking you away from performing in that race. The third option is chews
and I think that this is the unsung hero of race
nutrition for a few reasons. Number one, it’s a really nice
balance of easy to digest, typically, very sugary,
high, dense calories in a small little container. It’s also, essentially, food. So, it feels like you’ve
taken something on and in my experience, gives you
that nice settled stomach that you get from solid food. Third thing, is it’s very
easy to dose because the doses are anywhere from 25 to 40 calories each. You don’t have to dose every
25 to 35 minutes with a chew. You can do it every 10 minutes,
15 minutes, 12 minutes, 11 minutes because they’re so
small, you can get that amount of calories you need
absolutely dialed into what you specifically want and there
are dozens of flavors. All kinds of chews that are
glucose based or fructose based or tapioca syrup based. There’s all kinds of different options. So, you can even trade different
taste throughout a race, so, that you don’t develop
that taste fatigue and the two main downsides, however, to
chews are that, number one, it does require that chewing which can throw your breathing off. They’re like (chewing). Feel like a horse just
working through the chews, developing a little bit
of soreness in the jaw, distracting you from
performing in your race and then, the other downside is
that a lot of these chews, they unfortunately, come with just a ton of air in the packaging. So, if you’re stuffing
it in your jersey pocket, you might be stuffing
like, only two packages in. Clif Shot Bloks, I’m a big
fan of how they package it up because it’s just like
a tube and then, you’re (pop) and then, the final
gold standard of them all that just about all of you know
about and rightfully so. This is the option that
most triathletes go with. It’s gels and it’s for
a number of reasons. Number one, there are
tons of different flavors, everything from Canadian maple syrup to vanilla espresso coffee. So, you can change up the taste flavor throughout the course of a race. Two, very easy to carry. The packaging itself has no air in it. Three, very easy to digest, typically. Four, very easy to transport;
tape to a bike, shove in a jersey pocket, you can
actually tape it to the top tube of a bike in a way
that as soon as you grab it, the top tab gets ripped off
and it’s opened for you and they’re also easy to dose. If you want 92 calories, you
can go and get a 100 calorie gel and then, just leave a
little bit at the end and toss the wrapper in the garbage and you’re not carrying a ton of stuff. The cons, however, of gel
are that they’re messy. Some of my favorite gels
that I like all the time are actually, really, really light
and they’re not even syrupy. It’s almost like straight liquid and it just gets everywhere. That’s a downside. Second thing is that old,
very traditional gels, they’re the exact opposite. They’re like chewy and you’ve got to work your way through it. It’s almost like paste
in your mouth and then, related to that is because
a lot of these gels are very syrupy, pasty in your mouth,
tends to stay in your mouth. So, you get that fuzzy feeling
on your tongue developing a little bit of taste fatigue even if, you’re switching from
one taste to another. Personally, how I like to
mix it up, is I’ll take a gel before the race ’cause it’s easy to ditch. I will get onto the bike and
my first bit of calories will probably be chews because
they’re very easy to take on and it’s easy to just slow roll that start into getting nutrition. My next nutrition will be solid
food with a bar to get that solid food settled stomach
feeling in that’s gonna last me through to the end of the
race and then, from then on in, it’ll be a mixture of gels and chews. Really just depending on
what I feel like at the time. On the run, it’ll always be
gels because I can just be on the run, take a gel,
squeeze it in, done, easy. Guys if you haven’t done it
yet and you want to get the guide on how you can figure
out the amount of calories that you need to take, the scheduling
that you need to take them in, guidelines on what type of calories, what types of fluid are good
for you and how to customize that based off of when you put on weight, when you lose weight, exactly
how many calories you need to take, what you need to
do in hot weather races, if you have digestive problems, all these things can be
downloaded by going to
and over the course of four days, you’re going to be walked
through start to finish, how to nail your nutrition
strategy, so, that it isn’t holding you back from
having your best race. If you aren’t yet subscribed,
hit that subscribe button below and hit the notification
bell, so that you don’t miss any of our daily triathlon videos. You can check out the entire
race nutrition guideline video series by clicking the
playlist here and if you just want to see some really
good race coverage, check out the Iron Man
corner video we did up here. I think it’s my favorite. Thank you for watching
this four part series. I hope that it helps
you have better races. If you have any questions, hit
me up in the comments below.

23 thoughts on “Triathlon Nutrition Plan Part 4: Gels vs Chews vs Bars vs Liquid

  1. The ad that I didn’t skip (de rien) was Mountain Dew and Doritos. I’m not sure if those are adequate nutritional options. Any advice?

  2. A+. I think this video series is perfect. The worst advice you can give about nutrition is that there is only one solution. I'm glad you went through all the available options. At the end of the day, your stomach will decide what your nutrition plan is.

  3. What’s your take on Huma Chia gells? Have you tried them? I personally love them although, to be fair, I haven’t tried many alternatives prior to settling on these little bundles of wholesome goodness. Obviously a big fan here. 😂

  4. Great series! Good information on both the pros and cons of the typically used options.  The addition information provided in the Nutrition Guide has really been beneficial in sorting out the proper direction.  It certainly helps to narrow the focus of what might be a personally optimized nutrition plan.    Thanks for all the effort you put into this, its greatly appreciated.

  5. It’s like you were reading my mind. I’m new to triathlon and I’ve always been a long distance cyclist. Nutrition has ruined far too many of my road rides. It’s great to have some concrete advice to follow and I love the calorie calculator that you sent to me in my email. Your YouTube channel is helping me immensely to plan for my first triathlon season. Thanks Taren!

  6. So far, I've found that I like gels in a reusable flask. I mix it with a little water, to adjust the consistency to what works for me. Plus I like not generating trash that may end up on the ground. My 2 cents on that. Keep up the great info and fun, Taren. Thanks!

  7. Great Video what do you think of UCAN? I used it for my ironman distance race and it worked for me. But its like$$$$$$.

  8. Awesome series! Thanks Taren! Definitely helped me figure out where to start with my nutrition plan and the different options to look into.

  9. I like the old gels… chewing them makes it feel a little like a meal in the middle of a marathon. My favorite are the Gu Gels…

  10. Hi Taren, just watched this video and wonder if you still have the nutrition guide on your website. I clicked on the Nutrition Race option but haven't get any emails regarding. Thanks

  11. This may sound like a noob question, but what about consuming a five hour energy shot before the race or during? What about coffee before the race?

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