View Full Version : Goo, Powerbars, Powergel - HELP!?

03-03-2004, 01:24 PM
Hey everyone - I'm a newbie and have been reading through all the posts and I'm not seeing anything (or I'm missing it) regarding power/energy bars, "goo?" and drink supplements. I'm a roadie and have been taking a spinning class 3 - 4x's a week and one of the classes is taught and primarily attended by people trianing for triathelons and some are using "goo" right before the beginning of the class. I don't see anyone in the other classes doing this and I'm wondering what the benefits are.

I'm still figuring out the eating/riding thing - I ride mostly 15 - 30+ miles and have bonked pretty hard a couple of times after not eating correctly before riding. (I hooked up with a couple other riders one day and didn't ask the route before leaving and ended up being a 40 mile ride on a bagel - not good!)

So in my round-about way - what experience and information does anyone have on these supplements? I've been experimenting with powerbars before spinning, but not sure if I'm eating them at the proper time and if they are the right kind.

Any info - I'd appreciate!

03-03-2004, 02:09 PM
I'll bite ( oops, sorry!);-)

Sounds rather posuer-ish to me for a one hour spin class. There are a lot of so called hard core folks out there that would disagree with me. One of our spin instructors really pushes some sort of drink (that she sells, of course) that we should really be drinking. Me? I just eat a healty carb breakfast and leave it at that. I figure if i'm ready for more food after class is over, I've timed it just right.

as for gu etc. I do always take cliff bars and gu packets. I only use the gu typically in the last half of some sort of epic ride, when I don't need more food, just that extra bit of energy for the last 5 miles. I may take a recovery drink ( cytomax) but I dilute it becasue full strength make me want to puke.

Most of my intown rides are >10 miles and a couple of hours. Once they get longer I do find I need to fuel regularly, and not always with food - this is where bars come in handy.

I get cliff bars by the case at Costco.


03-03-2004, 03:48 PM
I take Gatorade in my water bottle if I'm doing an afternoon/evening class. It's been too long since lunch and I don't generally have time to eat before I go. I've found that if I just bring water, I get hungry during class. I also bring Gatorade for those days I'm doing two classes back to back or going to swim after a class.

As far as bars go - experiment and find out what you like. Buy a few diffrerent types and take notes.

I don't really like to eat when I'm riding - so my water bottles are filled with Gatorade, which makes some people (like my hubby) sick. I've tried other energy drinks and I don't like the flavor as well. I just can't seem to choke down a bar as I ride, but I can eat a banana or Power Bites.

Thom loves Gu. I think it's nasty. When I open them from the back of the tandem, I'll usually have a little, just to get a few calories in. We don't usually bother with Gu unless we're doing a long ride - 100K or more.


03-03-2004, 04:56 PM
Well, everyone's different. I find if I don't eat something every 15 miles or so, I can get shaky and dizzy, and it comes on really fast. As my fitness improves maybe I'll need to eat less. In the meantime, for a 40-ish mile ride I'll generally carry about half a dozen fig newtons in a snack-size ziplock, a banana, a couple of packs of gu (I actually like Mocha Mocha Clif Shots), maybe a special K bar, and a couple of bottles of water. I might not eat all that but I'm glad I have it if I need it. The Cliff shots are especially nice near the end of the ride when I'm prone to get the shakes easily. I tried Cytomax drink once and it didn't appeal to me, but you might like it and find it effective. I also make sure to have some sort of breakfast about an hour before I set out, generally a big bowl of special K cereal.

I did a 55-mile ride this weekend and I had all that plus a bagel and cream cheese at a coffee shop en route, and I didn't get the shakes (my thighs were pretty tired at the end though, we rode into a headwind for the last 5 miles, eww).

hope this helps, - Jo.

03-04-2004, 04:11 AM
Originally posted by Irulan
Sounds rather posuer-ish to me for a one hour spin class.

Irulan has a good point. Most people (there are always exceptions) can get through exercise lasting an hour or less on stored glycogen (TONS of info on that on the web; do a google).

In other words, if you are eating a healthy balanced (carbs/protein) diet throughout the day (think "many small meals" rather than three large) you should be able to make it through a spin class. If your class is late in the day you might try to sneak in a snack ~ 30 min to an hour before class. This snack could be an energy bar (if that's most convenient) but don't forget that "real food" is often less $$$. An apple or a banana usually works for me. I'll try to get some protein (PB or yogurt usually) after a workout.

I did think of two reasons the tri-folk might be GU-ing before class: 1. They are training for a specific race or event and want to experiment with different gels and drinks to see how they react with their bodies while under stress and 2. The "one hour spin class" may actually be part of a longer, "brick" workout. In other words they may have just come from the pool or a long run.

If you plan to use energy gels, bars and drinks on your rides trying them in spin class is not a bad idea (you can always hop off the bike if they don't agree with you :) )

Personal favorites? For training and riding: Clif bars, granola bars (mucho cheap), Fig Newtons, and Gatorade.

For racing or endurance events I'll splurge on Cytomax and either Clif Shot or Hammer Gel.

03-04-2004, 06:09 AM
Thanks for the info! I have been experimenting with the bars as an afternoon snack prior to spinning - just to see how they sit. I eat a good balance of carbs/protein throughout the day and know what I need for rides, but just wasn't sure where the gu came into the equation

Some of the people in spinning class are from the bike club and are serious roadies/criterium racers and when they use these supplements in class, it made me think that I should be doing something extra - I think you're right pedalfaster, they're using spinning as training.

Last summer I was trying to drop some add'l #'s and was in the induction phase of Atkins and went out on a 40 mile ride - not a smart thing to do. I was sick when I got home and have come to the conclusion that if I'm gonna ride, gotta have the carbs.

So now I eat 5-6 small meals a day and amazingly enough, have been losing weight and inches. Something is working.

I am training for RAGBRAI - 490 mi ride across the state of Iowa and will be doing several longer rides, 40 mi, 60 mi and a couple of centuries prior and wanted to try some different supplements but just wasn't sure when to use them. It sounds like I just need to try them out to see what works for me.

This is a great board, I've learned alot and appreciate the support - I'm basically a "lone rider" and it's good to know others have questions too! Thanks gals!

03-04-2004, 07:06 AM
Originally posted by ragbrai40
...just wasn't sure where the gu came into the equation

Gels are kinda an acquired taste. I think of them as "intensity" foods more than "endurance" foods, i.e. if I am riding 100 miles at "touring pace" with a group of friends I'll stick with solid food. A two-hour duathlon would be a situation where I would use gels/energy drinks. My tummy rejects solids when the intensity rises :p

A gel flask or packet is also a good insurance policy "just in case". Slip one in your jersey pocket and if that 30 mile spin turns into a 70 mile death march you'll be prepared :D

03-04-2004, 07:11 AM
both veroninca and pedalfaster mention time of day.... I think if I was doing classes in the afternoon it would be a different story for me for a bar munchie. Currently I go to the 9 am class.

Last spring when they offered 2 hour endurance spin classes, 6-8 pm, I could have used a cliff bar!!!

Regarding Gu, there are a bunch of difference brands and flavors.


03-04-2004, 07:45 AM
Vanilla Gu.......... yummy! Gu, or any other gel shot will you give you a quick burst of energy. It won't last long, maybe 20-30 minutes, but you notice it fast. It's easy to carry as a back-up if you run out of energy. It digests easily, also, so if you are feeling shaky, it will help quickly. I keep a couple in my bike bag just in case....... I've never used it in spinning.

I'm with Veronica on Gatorade. I use that more than anything else. It's always worked. I've tried Cytomax and some other replacement-type drinks, and they make me sick. I think you just have to try stuff and find out what works for you. Just make sure you do it before the event you are training for.

So many different energy bars to try out there! Try a bunch and find what you like and can stomach and then buy them by the case. They're cheaper that way.

ragbrai40, HAVE A GREAT TIME ON RAGBRAI! Maybe I will see you there.:p
If you have questions about the ride, just ask.

03-04-2004, 08:10 AM
You all are confirming what I was thinking, but it's nice to get feedback based on actual experience! All the spin classes I take are in the evening so I try to make sure to eat something late afternoon (I have a kitchen at work which makes it easy) and if I get too busy I'll grab something at home before class.

I had some questions about the food issue cause some things haven't set very well if I've eaten too close to class time - like I've burped yogurt the whole class - yuck! It's no fun when you think you're gonna let out a loud belch at any time! The last couple of classes I've tried a powerbar before in lieu of food seemed to work ok.

I was really worried how to eat on RAGBRAI last year and it went better than expected. Except - don't EVER eat tacos at lunch, I was out of the saddle more than in - what a "tootin" experience!

I have to force myself to eat before riding in the mornings, I'm just not hungry until later, but that's where I get into trouble with bonking. Or when the 30 miler turns into 50 - with no food!

I'm going to stock up on bars for the bike bag, I have everything else but that! Annie - are you riding RAGBRAI this year? My husband is going for the first time and hasn't ridden much at all hopefully we won't kill each other!

03-04-2004, 11:32 AM
After experimenting all last year with energy stuff, I am down to this as the combination that works best for me: If I'm riding more than an hour, I take water bottles with 1/3 Gatorade (orange), a little less than a scoop of Cytomax (which I think works great to eliminate leg burn) and top off the bottle with water. Then the Cytomax and Gatorade don't upset my stomach and I still get enough of what I need. I will have an energy bar, granola or ceral bar with me and maybe some candy in case I really run out of steam. But I don't like to eat while I'm riding because my stomach seems to prefer being empty. It took me all summer last year to figure out what works for me, so just keep experimenting until you're happy.

03-04-2004, 11:44 AM
I've never tried the Cytomax - I've seen several drink mixes and wasn't sure which way to go. I'll pick some up and give it a try.

I've had rotten luck drinking Gatorade during a ride, makes me kind of sick so I just make sure to drink some after.

I'm anxious to get out there and try some new ideas I've picked up on these posts! This is the year of experimentation!


03-04-2004, 12:31 PM
Okay, I couldn't remember the name of this stuff while at work, but I'm home now and looked in the cabinet.

If I am going to be doing a number of long, hard rides close together, I will make sure to drink Endurox at the end of each ride. I honestly think it helps in recovery. I am less tired and/or sore the next day. I don't drink it while riding - don't think I could choke it down and it's really meant to be a post-ride drink. I keep the amount I need with me in a zip-lok bag, fill one bottle with water, shake well, and drink it down immediately after finishing riding. I am sure there is a combination of food and drink that would work as well, but this is so simple and readily available. I don't use it after every ride, just the ones that take a lot out of you.

The companion to Endurox, meant to be used while riding, is Accelerade. The flavor/texture leaves something to be desired but I can manage to drink it. Again, I don't use it for most rides, just those that I know will be long or intense. Then I'll do one bottle of Accelerade to one bottle of Gatorade. That combo, plus Gu's as needed have gotten me through many a fast-paced century ride and even one double century (with some real food thrown in!) The stuff isn't cheap, but often you can find it for sale at Performance or Nashbar or any of the big bike online stores. I think GNC has a generic version that works, also.

Off-topic answer to question:
ragbrai 40, yes, I am going on RAGBRAI this year, but not the whole thing. I'm riding out to the start and then doing the first three days. Do you go with a group/team/ club?

03-04-2004, 03:12 PM
My husband is a big fan of Endurox as well. He doesn't get to ride as much as I do and says that Endurox really does help with recovery aftr I've made him work too hard. :p

I don't care for it. I like to have Red Bull (thanks to aka kim) after a ride. Or even in the middle of a long ride we'll stop at a store to get one. I've experimented with freezing them and letting them thaw so I can drink them cold and that's worked out okay as well.


03-04-2004, 03:21 PM
we started getting Cytomax for my hubby. He ski patrols on tele gear, and has been known to do up to 40K of vertical in one day. He was getting really thrashed, due to "exercise hangover". He started putting cytomax in his camel back and he does so much better on Mondays now. I only use it on all day epic rides I have to dilute it as it makes me nauseous mixed accorging to directions.


03-04-2004, 05:30 PM
There's a new product out, made from honey. It's called Honey Stinger, besides having honey in it, it's got B complex vitamins too.

From their website: Honey Stinger uses honey as the main source of carbohydrates, as opposed to man made carbohydrates commonly found in other energy gels. Studies show that honey is low on the glycemic index and therefore provides a long, steady source of energy instead of a spike and crash. Honey is also a natural source of antioxidants.

I found some at REI in San Carlos, but haven't had a chance to try it out yet - maybe when the Cindy rides go to Calaveras?


03-04-2004, 07:58 PM
Originally posted by snapdragen
I found some at REI in San Carlos, but haven't had a chance to try it out yet - maybe when the Cindy rides go to Calaveras? Oy, remind me to pack a stretcher for when I keel over on that ride. :p

03-04-2004, 08:01 PM
Originally posted by jobob
Oy, remind me to pack a stretcher for when I keel over on that ride. :p

I'll just bring a big 'ol bungee cord, we can take turns pulling each other...OR Melissa has a nice light bike, she can pull us both! :p

03-05-2004, 05:57 AM
Thanks for checking your cupboard annie! That was exactly what I was looking for - how/when to use these products. As my rides get longer, harder, hillier I'm finding I need something but wasn't sure what to look for and when to use it.

Off subject answer to annie - Yes, I'm doing the whole week of ragbrai with our local bike club - they provide great support. Have you done/are you doing TOMRV?

03-11-2004, 05:36 AM
Truthfully, I didn't believe in Goo, Gatorade, etc, until I started racing. There's nothing in a PowerBar that you can't get in a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread. For training, I don't believe in wasting money on fake food.

My first experience with energy gel was when I stuffed the free packet (that I got with race registration) into my jersey before a 50 mile road race. Thanks to the race being totally unsupported, and me getting dropped off the back of the pack, I was hurting...until I ate the goo. Cross-country skiing has been a similar experience.

I've been doing endurance sports since 5th grade, and I've learned a thing or two during the years...what follows is my theory on race eating.

2-3 hours before the race: PB and banana, coffee, water. Stop drinking water 1.5 hours before race time (especially if you're doing a race that doesn't involve stopping at bathrooms!)

30-45 minutes before race time: PowerBar or Clif Bar, washed down with a few gulps of water

First 1.5 hours of the race: Drink water at all water stops.

If the race is longer than 1.5 hours, I eat a gel or half of a bar every hour, if not, I wait until the race is over to eat. Always drink water at every stop and in between (depends on how well the race is supported!)

Afterwards, eat fruit immediately, drink a whole lot of water, and then go out for a great meal, you've earned it!

04-27-2004, 07:21 PM
I really like Gu and Clif bars. I only do the chocolate gu and I like most of the clif bars. They seem to give me the most boost. I'm not a fan of PowerGel (blech).

05-19-2004, 11:18 AM
Have any of you tried the Gu2o drink mix? It is nice because it is not big on flavor. I use it full strength and it tastes like gatorade diluted in half. But, you are still getting all of the electrolyte goodies at full strength. Mango is my fave.

05-20-2004, 09:27 PM
I make my own gooish. Honey, molasis and some salt. On a cold day it can be a bit hard to get out of the squeeze bottle. I got the bottle from a goo manufacturer it holds about 1/2 cup. Always carry 2 cliff bars also. Any ride over 20 miles I use gatorade.

I carry my goo bottle in an old cell phone carrier velcro'd to my stem.