Home Gear 11 Best Energy Gels and Chews for Athletes in 2021

11 Best Energy Gels and Chews for Athletes in 2021

by Joe Obringer
triathlon gels

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Whether training for a marathon or triathlon, you’re probably familiar with energy gels and chews. If you feel it’s time to step up your game, you cannot go without readily available nutrients to fuel your performance. But, chances are, the endless options out there overwhelm you, as you wonder: What’s the right one for me?, or how do I get started? 

So, if you’d like to discover the best gels and chews, you’re in the right place. With hundreds of different brands, we’ve selected a handful of the best products for each individual.

We have selected the best energy gels and chews considering several factors, such as nutritional profile, benefits, overall consumer experience, flavor, and texture. So, here are our top picks:

Best Energy Gels

1. Best Overall Energy Gel – Gu Energy ($32.99)

GU Energy Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gel, 24-Count, Assorted Flavors

Gu energy gels are the perfect combination of nutrient-packed and energy-boosting ingredients along with good taste, texture, and overall macro and micronutrient breakdown. Nutritionally speaking, Gu Energy Gel contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), an energy source for prolonged physical activity that prevents muscle damage.

But that’s not everything Gu developers had in mind when creating a top-quality and energy-boosting product. Gu gels also contain electrolytes to keep you hydrated and caffeine to enhance performance and promote focus along with simple carbohydrates that quickly restore glycogen and provide instant energy.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 100
  • Carbohydrates: 21-23g
  • Sodium:  50-125mg
  • Potassium: 30mg
  • Magnesium: Not listed.

Our Review

With a solid 4.8-star rating on Amazon, Gu gel sits among Amazon’s Top-rated energy gels. And with an overwhelming 86% 5-star review, clients often say that Gu fulfills its quick-energy boost promise. Among reviews, it’s not uncommon to find people who claim that the energy effect they feel with Gu is unprecedented. Another common benefit that many people celebrate is the taste and the good value for money. 

Flavors:

Gu offers a wide range of flavors to choose from, including Salted Caramel, Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry Banana, Jet blackberry, and our favorite: Tri-berry.

2. Best Caffeinated Energy Gel – Cliff Shot Mocha ($26.95)

CLIF SHOT - Energy Gels - Mocha- Non-GMO - Non-Caffienated - Fast Carbs for Energy - High Performance & Endurance - Fast Fuel for Cycling and Running (1.2 Ounce Packet, 24 Count)

If you’re looking for a true energy push, look no further! With customizable caffeine levels going from 0 to 100mg, Cliff is, by far, the best option for caffeinated gels. Designed for athletes by athletes Cliff gel combines plant-based non-GMO ingredients, including sugar, water, cocoa, coffee extract, sea salt, and green tea extract.  

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 100
Carbohydrates: 24g
Sodium: 60-95mg
Potassium: 85mg
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:

Among its impressive solid 4.7-star rating on Amazon, users claim to have never tried other brands after trying Cliff and keep returning for more. Among pro athletes, both young and over 50, Cliff offers the best caffeine and electrolyte ratio in the market.

Flavors:

Clift offers eight flavors, including ​​caffeine: Chocolate Cherry, Double Espresso, Citrus, Strawberry, and Mocha. And other caffeine-free options like: Chocolate, Razz, and Vanilla.

3. Best Energy Gels For Triathlons – Sis Isotonic (Price not available)

SIS Isotonic Energy Gels, 22g Fast Acting Carbohydrates, Performance & Endurance Sport Nutrition for Athletes, Energy Gels for Running, Cycling, Triathlon, Tropical - 2 oz - 30 Pack

Undoubtedly, Sis Isotonic is the best fast-energy gel. It perfectly combines fast-acting and long-lasting energy sources with a unique formula that doesn’t require water. The result? The perfect gel for triathlons. Besides, their low sugar formula (only 1g) keeps stable energy levels.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 90
Carbohydrates: 22g
Sodium: Not listed.
Potassium: Not listed.
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:

Among thousands of 5-star reviews, a common claim most users agree upon is that this gel is easily digestible. While due to its texture, most people find it more pleasant than other gels. And while many claim the flavor is not the best, most people stopped taking other gels after testing SIS ISotonic gel.

Flavors:
Available in eight flavors: Pineapple, Vanilla, Apple, Cherry, Tropical, Lemon and Lime, Orange, and our top pick: Tutti Fruti.

4. Best Tasting Energy Gel – Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel ($32.99)

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel, Fruit Smoothie, Sports Nutrition, 1.1 Ounce (Pack of 24)

Looking for a tasty pick-me-up? Honey Stinger is by far the best choice! Flavor matters, especially in longer races. Testing several energy gels is essential for training if you don’t want to suffer every time you refuel. So, next time you show up to your next race, you’ll have a variety of flavors you already know you fancy. And, thousands of users have repeatedly claimed that Honey Stringer has nailed down their flavors.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 100
Carbohydrates: 24g
Sodium: 50mg
Potassium: Not listed.
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:
Besides being among the best-tasting energy gels in the market, it’s one of the few USDA Certified Organic and Gluten-free gels. Honey Stinger stands out among its thousands of solid 5-star reviews as the best in flavor and most reliable gel for people with diabetes and soy or nut allergies.

Flavors:
Honey Stringer organic gels come in 6 different (and delicious) flavors: Açaí Pomegranate, Fruit Smoothie, Mango Orange, Strawberry Kiwi, Vanilla, and their signature flavor: Gold.

5. Best Energy Gels For Running – Gatorade Endurance ($19.99)

Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel No Caffeine 4 Flavor Variety Pack of 12

Fuel your resistance with Gatorade Endurance, a better choice for running compared with other gels. Its formula is much easier to drink, and it goes down way smoother than other alternatives to meet athletes’ needs.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 80
Carbohydrates: 20g
Sodium: 100mg
Potassium: 35mg
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:
Most users claim that the main benefit of this product is that it is among the best ones in the market when comparing value and quality for long runs. Its formula is excellent for an energy boost and hydration balance and its easy-to-drink texture.

Flavors:
Gatorade gels come in Blackberry, Apple Pear, Vanilla, and Mango flavors.

6. Top Stomach Friendly Energy Gel – Huma Chia ($26.95)

Huma Chia Energy Gel, Variety 12 Pack - Stomach Friendly, Real Food Energy Gels for Endurance Exercise

If you usually suffer from stomach pain or poor digestion, pick no other than Huma’s Gel exclusive Stomach-friendly formula.  All Huma Gels are made with real food and are gluten-free, dairy-free, and Vegan. Huma’s developers are proud of their easy-to-pronounce list of ingredients, including strawberry purée, evaporated cane juice, water, brown rice syrup, chia seeds, strawberry concentrate, sea salt, and citric acid. Simply put: real food. 

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 100
Carbohydrates: 23g
Sodium: 105mg
Potassium: 45mg
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:

Compared to most ‘chemical’ gels, they’re not only good on the stomach but also delicious, and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by thousands of its loyal consumers.

Flavors:

Huma’s gels come in eight flavors of which four are caffeine-free, including Strawberries, Mangoes, Apples and Cinnamon, and Blueberries. And the other four containing caffeine are: Raspberries, Chocolate, Cafe Mocha, and Lemonade.

Best Energy Chews And Gummies

1. Best Overall Energy Chews – Cliff Bloks ($29.17)

CLIF BLOKS Energy Chews - Black Cherry with 50mg Caffeine - Non-GMO - Plant Based Food - Fast Fuel for Cycling and Running-Workout Snack (2.1 Ounce Packet, 18 Count)

When it comes to chews, Cliff Bloks is hands-down the best choice as it ticks all the boxes: it’s easy to digest and doesn’t upset your stomach, the flavors are superb, it’s easy to carry, and provides instant readily-available energy.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 100
Carbohydrates: 24g
Sodium: 50mg
Potassium: 18mg
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:

Apart from being non-GMO and plant-based, it contains a variable amount of caffeine (from 0 to 50mg), ideal for those needing an extra pick-me-up during a race, and it comes in a handy easy-to-open packaging. 

Flavors:
Caffeine flavors: Black Cherry, Orange, and Tropical Punch.
Caffeine-free flavors: Citrus Flavor, Cran-Razz, Margarita, Mountain Berry, and Strawberry.

2. Best Chews For Running – Gatorade Energy Chews ($15.84)

Gatorade Prime Energy Chews, Fruit Punch (Pack of 16)

Runners, look no further than Gatorade Energy Chews to fuel your races! Gatorade Energy Chews are packed with energy-boosting ingredients to keep you going for extended periods. 

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 100
Carbohydrates: 24g
Sodium: 70mg
Potassium: 0mg
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:
When going through its thousands of reviews over the years, a few features that stand out are how quickly it’s absorbed, plus the tasty flavors compared to other brands.

Flavors:

These delicious chews come in four different flavors, including Cool Blue, Fruit Punch, Green Apple, and Strawberry.

3. Best-tasting Energy Chews – Stinger Energy ($22.94)

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews, Sports Nutrition, Cherry Blossom Cherry Blossom 1.8 Ounce (Pack of 12) 21.6 Ounce

For every foodie out there, Stinger energy did it again! As per thousands of reviews, Stinger developers managed to combine the best flavors with the best texture.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 160
Carbohydrates: 39g
Sodium: 65mg
Potassium: Not listed.
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:
Apart from being labeled the best-tasting chews in the market, users often highlight digestibility and quality of ingredients, which, unlike other brands, Stinger’s only contains natural ingredients.

Flavors:

This brand delivers the best flavor and variety, offering eight delicious flavors, such as Cherry Cola,  Fruit Smoothie,  Limeade, Pink Lemonade, Pomegranate Passionfruit, Cherry Blossom, Orange Blossom, and most people’s favorite: Cherry Blossom.

4. Best Chews For Cycling – SKRATCH LABS Sport Energy Chews ($23.50)

SKRATCH LABS Sport Energy Chews, Raspberry (10 pack) - Developed for Athletes and Sports Performance, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan

Cycling for long hours can be exhausting, but not with Skratch Labs’ chews. A top solution for cyclists for its caffeine content, which offers a boost that not many other chews can, thus making it an ideal ally for long trails or races.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 70
Carbohydrates: 18mg
Sodium: 80mg
Potassium: Not listed.
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:

Compared to most energy chews, which contain around 50mg of caffeine per packet, Skratch Labs managed to fill 6g per chew. However, the amount of caffeine varies depending on flavor. Another commonly acclaimed benefit is that it’s easy to chew, which shouldn’t be ignored, ad it allows you to stay focused on performance rather than chewing.

Flavors:
Skratch Labs comprised various interesting and punchy flavors, like Matcha Green Tea & Lemon, Orange, Raspberry, and our go-to: Sour Cherry.

5. Best Energy Chews for Hiking – Jelly Belly Sport Beans ($25.60)

Jelly Belly Sport Beans - Energizing Jelly Beans - Assorted Flavors, 24 x 1 Ounce Bags

Sport Beans Jelly Beans are an excellent quick carbohydrate replenishment, formulated to refuel energy, especially for hikers for the convenience of the packaging and because they’re super easy to chew. Jelly Belly assorted sports beans make an essential add-on for anyone who needs sustained energy to keep going for hours.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 100
Carbohydrates: 25g
Sodium: 80mg
Potassium: 40mg
Magnesium: Not listed.

Most Acclaimed Benefits:
Unlike other brands, Sport Beans contain a cocktail of energy-boosting nutrients, such as electrolytes, vitamins, Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin to improve energy extraction and prevent oxidative damage.

Flavors:

A bag of beans contains six assorted flavors, including Lemon-lime, Orange, Fruit Punch, Berry, Juicy Pear, and Green Apple.

Frequently Asked Questions about Energy Gels and Chews

Why Use Energy Gels or Chews? 

Food is fuel. And, one of the main factors that enhance an athlete’s performance is proper nutrition. However, when training for a marathon or simply improving running or cycling capacity, we need extra energy. While food is great for replenishing energy, we cannot eat while exercising. But, fortunately, energy gels help replenish glycogen stores when exercising. Quick, handy, light and compact, energy gels and chews are a great alternative for any athlete regardless of the sport.

Probably one of the best reasons why gels and chews are so beneficial is because they help fuel the muscles with readily available and easy-to-break-down quality fats and carbohydrates. The combination of carbohydrates and fats works like a charm: studies show, carbohydrates offer instant energy, and fats provide a more sustained energy source. So, this combination is ideal for boosting performance.

Digestive Issues 

Besides being an excellent energy source, gels and chews are a great alternative to avoid digestive issues. But why? Like most processed foods, gels and chews are easily digestible because they’re not rich in fiber and other nutrients that slow digestion, making them great allies for runners, cyclists, or hikers. Now, not all gels and chews are perfectly digestible. Some may cause pain and inflammation, while others are just fine. But don’t worry, we’ve selected only those that don’t upset the stomach!

When to Use Them 

Both energy gels and chews can before or during physical activity, depending on your needs and preferences. Although most experts recommend taking one thirty minutes before the activity and replenish every hour with 30–60 grams since gels and chews instantly raise your blood sugar levels; you’ll notice the effect almost immediately.

How to Use Energy Gels and Chews 

It’s no secret that we need to drink water when eating any type of food, and both gels and chews are no exception. While some athletes take them alone, the recommendation is to take them with at least 8 ounces of water to promote dilution and absorption. This will not only give you instant energy absorption but also prevent upsetting your stomach.

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