Running a marathon or competing in a triathlon is a grueling experience for all athletes. Regardless of your skill level or experience, competing in endurance sports can take a huge toll on your body both physically and mentally.
No matter how much you eat in the early hours of race day, your body can only store so much fuel for so long, making the race that much tougher to finish. With that in mind, fueling during a race can be just as, if not more, important as fueling before a race. GU’s Roctane Energy are the perfect sports nutrition gels to bring during a race or training as they pack all the nutrients to reduce mental fatigue and help promote muscle repair.
GU launched the Roctane products to help you outlast endurance sports. In order to perform at the highest level, you need a boost in essential nutrients to keep you from cramping or feeling hungry midrace. The Roctane Energy sports nutrition gels have key electrolytes, amino acids and carbs to help keep you going.
What is GU?
GU is among the most trusted brands in fueling athletes. GU’s original sports nutrition gel is known for its portability and the fact that these gel snacks pack calories to help the athlete keep up with the demands of their sport. While GU is known for their sports nutrition gels, the company also sells energy drinks, nutrition capsules, snakcs like Stroopwafel, chews and energy drink tabs. (EDIT: As of March 20, 2019, Gu is the official energy gel sponsor of the 2019 North American Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events - so you if you haven't tried Gu yet, you might be seeing it on race day!).
How it All Started
GU’s story is well-versed in the fitness nutrition community. GU started in the early 1990s, when founder Dr. Bill Vaughan was looking to develop a more digestible form of fuel for his daughter, who was training for ultramarathons. In a Berkeley, Calif. Kitchen, Vaughan created the first GU sports nutrition gel, a product that allows athletes to fuel on the go and be able to perform at their absolute best. In 1992, his daughter Laura used the new gel to fuel her way to the podium as she won the Wasatch 100-Mile Endurance Run.
The family-owned business then became a big name in the fitness community in 1997 after GU became the first energy sponsor of the Ironman World Championship in Kona. GU also went on to become the sponsor of the first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.
Fast-forward to 2019, GU continues to offer a wide variety of nutrient-rich products to keep athletes hydrated and fueled. The company’s mission is to “optimize every aspect of diet and nutrition,” which is GU’s way of serving athletes everywhere.
The Roctane Difference
At first glance, both the original GU formula and the Roctane formula may appear similar with their identical packaging and texture but the Roctane formula has several distinct features that have inspired pro athletes to turn to the newer formula. While the original GU sports nutrition gel is more than capable of fueling you during workouts and races, the Roctane formula has boosted the supply of branch-chained amino acids (BCAA) and additional minerals you need to keep going during the high-intensity workouts or long-distance races.
The original formula is a 100-calorie packet that contains carbohydrates (maltodextrin and fructose), sodium and BCAAs. The Roctane formula also comes in the form of 100-calorie packets with carbs, electrolytes and BCAAs. The difference, however, is that the Roctane formula has more sodium and a higher concentration of BCAAs. Roctane also has taurine, an antioxidant that improves insulin sensitivity and balance electrolytes, and beta-alanine, which can reduce fatigue during intense workouts.
The Roctane formula in the sports nutrition gels features BCAAs that prevent mental fatigue and reduce muscle damage. Beta Alanine, a type of amino acids, helps buffer acidity levels in your muscles to prevent soreness and reduce fatigue in your muscles. Roctane also has Taurine to improve heart contractility. Some of the flavors contain 35mg of caffeine to help improve focus and feel less exhausted.
Push Harder and Go Further
GU’s Roctane has all the ingredients you need to take your workouts to another level. The Roctane formula in the sports nutrition gels features BCAAs that prevent mental fatigue and reduce muscle damage. Beta Alanine, a type of amino acids, helps buffer acidity levels in your muscles to prevent soreness and reduce fatigue in your muscles. Roctane also has Taurine to improve heart contractility. Some of the flavors contain 35mg of caffeine to help improve focus and feel less exhausted.
Electrolytes contained in the sports nutrition gels maintain water balance and help with hydration. Carbs deliver ready-to-use energy and delay bonking by sparing glycogen. With a GU Roctane sports nutrition gel in your system, you will feel energized, stay focused and not have to feel hungry during the long, grueling workouts and competitions.
Unlike most competing nutrition formulas, GU Roctane is very easy to digest and is pleasing to the athlete’s taste palette. The Gu Roctane sports nutrition gels are available on Clever Training in sea salt chocolate and cherry lime flavors.
As for the original formula, Clever Training sells over a dozen different flavors which include birthday cake, blackberry, campfire s’mores, chocolate, espresso, gingerade, lemon lime, macchiato, mint chocolate, orange, salted caramel, salted watermelon, strawberry banana, triberry and vanilla.
In addition to tasting great, the GU Roctane sports nutrition won’t violate the dietary restrictions of almost all types of athletes. GU Roctane’s ingredients are all vegan, kosher and gluten-free so almost every type of athlete can try them without having to worry about hurting their digestive systems.
Caffeine vs. No Caffeine
Some of the GU Roctane flavors contain caffeine so it’s important to check the labels if your body is sensitive to caffeine. If your body is able to safely digest caffeine, the caffeinated versions of the Roctane sports nutrition gels will help improve focus and decrease perceived exertion. Each of the caffeinated flavors contain about 35 mg of caffeine while an average 8-oz cup of coffee has about 90 mg of caffeine.
If you wish to not have caffeine in your GU sports nutrition gels, make sure to check and see if caffeine is included before you click “Checkout” on the Clever Training website. Of course, it never hurts to check with your doctor, trainer or nutritionist to see if caffeine mixes well with your workouts.
Athletes Who Use Roctane
GU takes pride in fueling the pros. Whether it's personal best and podium finishes, GU takes inspiration from the athletes who rely on them for the immediate, digestible race day fuel.
GU has come a long way from trying to just fuel the founder’s athletic daughter. Five years after Laura Vaughan won the Wasatch 100-Mile Endurance Run, pro triathlete and GU athlete Lori Bowden finished second in the IRONMAN in both 1997 and 1998 before winning it all in 1999. Bowden used GU’s products to help her stay fueled and keep her in peak form. In 2000, professional endurance runner Ann Trason won her 11th Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run using the GU Energy Gel. Twelve years later pro cyclist Rebecca Rusch credits GU for helping her stay fueled in the Leadville 100-Mile MTB Race, which was her fourth victory at the time. In 2014, pro triathlete Mirinda Carfrae won her third IRONMAN World Championship and she also credited GU for helping her win.
Now, over 30 professional athletes compete with Team Roctane. From professional climber Steve House to triathlete Miranda Carfrae, they rely on the GU Roctane to give them the calories and BCAAs to power through their grueling events and races.
GU Roctane Verdict
Although the athlete’s ability to fuel themselves during a race plays a major role in their performance, the reality is that no athlete will ever have the time to have a sit-down meal mid-swim or mid-run. Thankfully, the GU Roctane sports nutrition gels are the next best thing in keeping athletes from starving before the finish line. Packed with key nutrients and amino acids, these sports nutrition gels will keep you from feeling burnt out, or worse, damage your muscles during the middle of the race. And backed by athletes everywhere, GU Roctane is a widely-trusted formula in the fitness community. That being said, the GU Roctane sports energy gel is a must-have for all endurance athletes looking to take their game to another level.