Welcome to the second half of Energy Gel Central….the ‘Do It Yourself’ part of the site. You’re in the right place if 1) you like to cook and often use your kitchen as a laboratory, 2) you’re tired of spending too much money on individual packets of gels, or 3) you want a more active role in what ingredients go into your sport nutrition products.
Hopefully you’ve read some of the articles on the other half of Energy Gel Central (the Gel ABC pages) as a primer. Making energy gels isn’t difficult. No special equipment is needed. A short evening spent with a pot, spoon and your own creativity can yield a great tasting energy gel ready for your workout the next morning….with enough to last the next 2-3 weeks of your training and/or competition schedule.
Some might ask, ‘Why on earth bother to make your own energy gel’? While it’s true that commercial energy gels are highly convenient and come in a vast array of flavors and choices, their cost adds up quickly and taste is oftentimes not an asset many can boast about. As mentioned several times on this site, the importance of a good tasting energy gel can’t be reiterated enough. You know your palate better than anyone, so creating a flavor that you're excited about and will actually look forward to on your next long run, ride, etc can have a significant positive impact on your performance.
I originally got into the sport nutrition business as a poor graduate student who couldn’t afford to buy energy bars and knew I could make a better tasting (and more functional) one anyway to support my athletic activities. Of the three main ‘on the go’ fuel sources for endurance athletes (drinks, bars, gels), energy gels are probably the easiest to reproduce at home and can be done so for less than half the cost of what you’d pay online or in the store. Added benefits of mixing it yourself include a switch to eco-friendly containers (gel flasks) and the ability to personalize flavors and ingredients.
Whatever your reason, roll up your sleeves, empower yourself with information and start fueling your passion for athletic performance in your own kitchen. You’ll have a lot of fun along the way and a much fatter wallet to boot.
There are two 'DIY' avenues to explore on this site...
1. If you want to make gels completely from scratch I've recently added a 'gel cookbook' to the store, Secrets from Inside an Energy Gel, that includes full recipes for creating your own energy gel bases, clone recipes for popular commercial gel brands and loads of other useful tips. More information is available here.
2. If you're looking for a slightly 'lighter' DIY route, pre-mixed energy gel base powders ready for your own flavor concoctions are also available for purchase. More information can be found here.