The new frontier in sports gels… and why it’s time for change

As athletes, we love to hate gels.  We complain about the ‘one gel’ on race day that upset our tummy… or how we got sick of the overly sweet flavours on a long day of racing.  They’re too thick, too messy, have too much caffeine, are too artificial…. Yep we’ve heard it all before (and tried them all too!)

A big issue many athletes have with gels is that they are product we rely heavily on for race day, yet we tend avoid using them in training for a lot of the reasons above.  But of course, sports science tells us that if you train with a product, particularly in race-specific sessions, then chances are you will race better with it too.  When it comes to racing, we rely on gels as a readily absorbable and convenient source of carbohydrates that will enhance performance by topping up glycogen stores.  We don’t however want all the negative effects that endurance athletes love to complain about with gels.

But what if it doesn’t have to be that way?  What is there was a product that wasn’t like all the others?

Enter Kathrin… a 12-time Ironman triathlete, endurance sport enthusiast… and winemaker!  Kathrin was looking to fuel her heavy training schedule and demanding career but was fed up with the current gels on the market that either upset her digestive system or made her feel sick from the overly sweet flavours. 

So, as any good winemaker with an experienced palate and a knowledge of production would do, she started experimenting with her own home-mixed gels from wine grapes. Using grapes from local Australian vineyards and adding electrolytes, she found her mixes gave her more energy than ever before, and the natural fruit ingredients had the benefit of being easy to digest. Suddenly, a gel was created that was different to all others before them, and Kathrin worked quickly to get them into production in Australia. 

Here at Bindi we have spent many months sampling and testing these new Vindurance gels. We have given them to athletes in training, thrown them in gel bottles and tested them in race conditions too. Tried them without water on long runs and tried them alongside food too.  We had hundreds of athletes taste test them at our Busselton Ironman Expo, and they genuinely loved the flavours. 

And so, what is it we love most about them at Bindi?  First and foremost, it’s the combined carbohydrate mix.  This means quicker absorption than a simple carb gel, and so athletes can increase their overall hourly carb consumption with a reduced chance of gastrointestinal distress.  This is the same mix we have in our Bindi Sports Hydration, and we know it works beautifully. We love the Murray River Rock Salt and potassium electrolyte mix.  We think it’s awesome that Vindurance gels are free from caffeine, alcohol sugars and gluten – all things that can upset an athlete’s tummy. And quite possibly our favourite bit?  They are runny enough that you can drink them anywhere, anytime – even if you don’t have water available – and they won’t stick in your mouth afterwards.

What does this mean for you, our Bindi athletes?  Well, we are happy that we have found the best tasting, natural gels on the market in Australia, and so have brought them into our Bindi store for you. All you need to do is choose, will you have red or white?  

“Vindurance is a natural alternative to a sports gel with the sugars derived from grapes! With 20g of carbohydrate per gel, this would be beneficial for an athlete who doesn’t like to consume their carbohydrates in one big hit to reduce gastrointestinal upset”

David Bryant  – Triathlete and Sports Dietitian