Fueling During Exercise


Disclosure: I received a selection of ZipVit Energy gels for free in return for an honest review. I am not being paid to talk about or advertise their products. All opinions of the product are my own. See my policy page HERE for more detail.

It's a given that if you fuel your body right, your run/exericse will go much better! There are SO many different ways to fuel during a run and so many brand choices to choose from that offer these products.

If you haven't already found a fuel that works for you, figuring out where to start can feel very overwhelming! Before we get into the different types of race fuel, its probably a good idea to know WHY it's important to take them in training and races.

The Importance of Fuel
Whilst you're training or racing, your body relies on carbohydrates that are stored in your  muscles, however, your muscles can only store a limited amount of carbs. When you run or exercise these carb stores deplete and as your muscles run our of fuel, you start to feel physically fatigued and drained.

That's why, if you're running longer distances like half marathons or marathons or typically any exercise over about 75 minutes, you need to ensure that you are consuming carbs to minimize depletion and keep your blood sugar levels up.

Before I get on to some popular ways of fueling during a training run or race, I should say that it's very important to find out what works for you and not just go with the majority. I found out the hard way and tried various different fueling choices before finding one that worked for me. Unfortunately, some gels, bars and sports drinks do not agree with your stomach and can give you stomach ache, or even worse.. can make you need the toilet!

So just be wary and make sure you give your fuel of choice plenty of test drives before using them on a race, just incase!

Fuel Choices
So, like I said earlier, there are loads of different options for fueling during training runs and races. I've just picked out ones that I've used in the past and ones that are quite popular and seen most often. I'm sure there are plenty of other options that people use as fuel and probably more natural choices too.

Obviously, as I've mentioned loads of times in the past, water is essential for any sort of exercise including pre, during and post workout!

Energy Gels/Chews
Probably my most popular form of energy, these are typically what work for me the most. They're convenient single serving packets which are easy to take whilst running. Different gels have different textures, not to everyone's preference. They're a thicker, liquid consistency and I find it very similar to Calpol!

You can also find added caffeine versions of gels for an added boost of energy which is nice towards the end of your run.
Mine and Phillips Gel Stash!
Popular brands include: SiS Gels, Clif Shot and GU gels - I'm personally using ZipVit energy gels but I'll talk about them a little later. Gels come in a plethora of flavours too so it's just about finding one that you like.

Sports Drinks/Electrolyte Drinks
With a mix of water and carbs, sports drinks are another quick and easy way to provide the boost of energy that you need and they keep you hydrated too which is a bonus. They also aid in replacing what is lost through sweat. They typically help replenish sodium which enhances retention of fluids.

Electrolyte drinks(tablets) are packed with Sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, they're added to water and they again, replace what is lost through sweat and can add some extra flavour to your water.

On bigger races, you sometimes have these as a station during the race so you can take a bottle to refuel. I actually don't have sports drinks too often, at least those at races. They're typically lucozade and that doesn't tend to agree with me too well, so I steer clear of those fueling stations.

Popular brands of sports drinks includes: Lucozade, Powerade, Gatorade
Popular brands of electrolytes are:  Nuun, High5, SiS, ZipVit

Energy Bars
These are great for pre-run snacks but you can also eat the bars during a run too. I personally find things that I have to chew far too hard and causes me to get really out of breath, I usually choke on them mid chewing too, so I have just stayed away from this option.
Energy bars would be perfect for longer runs, they're packed with carbs and are a better choice if you need something that satisfies hunger during your run as this will do a better job than drinks and gels.

Some popular energy bar brands are Etixx, Zipvit Tribe, Clif bars, SiS, High5 - you could also try making your own!

Sounds like a weird thing to use for fuel and there are much better alternatives they're a cheaper fuel alternative and provide the carbs and sugars that you need for extra energy during a race. With lots of sugar, sweets are fast absorbing for energy and do the job when needed.

Popular choices for Sweet fuel includes Jelly Beans, Jelly Babies, Gummy Bears

My Current Fueling Routine
Typically, I use Energy Gels during training and races and usually take 2-3 depending on the event. For my last half marathon, I took 3 gels and spread them out over the duration of my race. I take my first gel between 30-60 minutes of a race and then every 30-40 minutes afterwards.

I am currently using ZipVit Energy gels, which I was kindly sent by ZipVit and they have been my go-to gel during my training runs and races over the last few months.

ZipVit is a family run business that offer high quality nutritional supplements in the UK including vitamins, minerals and ailments alongside their sports nutrition range which includes protein bars, energy bars, gels and supplements. To browse the wide range of different products they have available, you can find their main website is HERE and their sports nutrition products HERE.
I've tried both their ZV7 Energy Gel and ZV7c Caffeine Energy Gels. I've got a mixture of all of their different flavours of gels, some I'm more fond of than others. Both types of gels have got 51g of Carbohydrates - double competing gels!

They've got a tear off tab, which if I'm honest, sometimes isn't too easy to open and takes some effort! This is the one thing I would love for them to improve on! The consistency of the gel is fine, just a thicker liquid and the flavours are good too, they sit well in my stomach and I haven't had any issues with any of them.

All in all, they seem to do the job for me so I'm very happy and I still have plenty left for training!

Tell me: How do you fuel for your runs? What are your favourite brands?

Like this post?
Other places to find me:
** Twitter ** Instagram ** Pinterest ** Facebook ** Google+ ** Youtube **

You Might Also Like


  1. I started using the Gu Salted Caramel gels last year and fell in love with them. A tasty flavour and easy-to-consume consistency do it for me when it comes to gels! I do love some of the flavours of gels available now. It looks like these ones come in quite a few varieties too!
    For long training runs I like to snack on sour cream and chive pretzels and nakd bars though. I'm going slower so have more time to chew and digest.


Like us on Facebook