As a second year member of Team Running Free Newmarket, I was excited to be a lucky lottery winner of a GU credit to try two kinds of hydration mix: regular energy drink mix (blueberry pomegranate flavour) and Roctane energy drink mix (lemon berry flavour) and 2 flavours of GU chews (strawberry and blueberry pomegranate). I was already a fan of the strawberry lemonade drink tabs, so I picked up one pack of those as well.
I was able to train and race with all of these products, and I am extremely satisfied with all of these products. Both tubs recommend drinking 20-30 ounces per hour, but I stuck to my regular ratio of 8 ounces of electrolytes and 8 ounces of water in a separate bottle every hour.
I first tried the regular energy drink, and was surprised that I needed 2 scoops in a 16 ounce (473 mL) water bottle (so 30 servings per container). The powder dissolved quickly, and the colour was a pretty purple. The nutrition facts are 100 calories per 28 g serving, with 26 g of carbohydrates (10 g sugar), 500 mg of sodium, and 40 mg of potassium.
Next I tried the Roctane drink powder, which specified 2 very large scoops per 21 ounce water bottle (so only 12 servings per container – so I had to be careful not to run out before my race in September). The powder took a lot of shaking to dissolve, and there was no real colour, which led me to forget that it wasn’t water and unfortunately poured it over my head and got a bit sticky. The nutrition content was significantly different per bottle: 250 calories per 65 g serving, 60 g of carbohydrates (17 g sugar), 320 mg sodium, 50 mg of potassium, 1900 mg of Roctane amino acid blend, and 35 mg of caffeine. The label claims it is gluten free (I didn’t find the same claim on the regular blueberry pomegranate flavour).
The drink tabs don’t specify a rate of consumption, but are very convenient to pack for a long ride where you can stop at a washroom and refill the water bottle and plop in a tab, which fizzes while it dissolves, to have a low calorie electrolyte drink. The tabs are made with all vegan ingredients and are 10 calories per 4.7 g tab. Each tab contains 3 g of carbohydrates (1 g sugar), 320 mg of sodium, and 55 mg of potassium.
The GU energy chews were very tasty, and I prefer these to gels while on the bike. Each serving is 4 chews (27 g), and there are 2 servings per pack. They pack 80 calories per serving, with 20 g of carbohydrates (10 g of sugar), 40 mg of sodium, and 40 mg of potassium. Note the strawberry chews have 20 mg of caffeine, but there is no caffeine in the blueberry pomegranate (raspberry has 40 mg!). These chews are a bit smaller than other cubed chews I have tried, so they are easier to pop in my mouth. Both flavours are gluten-free and dairy free. The package recommends 1-2 servings every 45 minutes, and points out that it will take a little longer to feel the effects of the semi-solid chew compared to a gel. I trained for and raced the Muskoka 70.3 triathlon and ITU Standard Distance Triathlon World Championships in Lausanne Switzerland with these products, and I am very pleased with how these products performed. I decided to mix 1 scoop of the regular energy drink mix with the Roctane drink mix (for colour to keep it straight from my water) Knowing now how hard all three segments of the race were in Switzerland, I wish I had used more of the Roctane mix (I didn’t realize how much more energy it contained). I will happily purchase more of these GU products in the future.