What are energy gels?
Small sachets of fuel for the muscle and brain
Football relies heavily on carbohydrate to fuel the intense actions such as sprinting, jumping, changing direction and shooting that often dictate the outcome of games. The issue is, stores of carbohydrate in the body are very small and are used up rapidly.
Gels provide a concentrated source of easy to absorb carbohydrate that provides the fuel to allow your muscle and brain to repeat those intense actions and compete until the final whistle.
Think of an energy gel like a traditional sports drink, minus the water. Removing the water allows for smaller, more practical packaging, with all the benefits of combined carbohydrate and electrolytes.
Why do I need them?
To fuel the muscle and brain during intense competition, allowing you to perform to the best of your ability for 90+ minutes.
A steady supply of glucose to the muscle and brain is essential to maintain performance. At roughly 70-minutes the body’s internal supplies of glucose run out, so consuming gels at regular periods during a game can ensure that those internal stores are topped up and replaced, allowing you to perform.
If you want to try out our energy gels designed for the needs of footballers, why not try our Soccer Supplement Starter Pack, which includes 1x Fuel90 Gel, 1x Focus90 Gel, and 21x Hydration Drinks, all for only £9.95.
What would happen if you did not take them?
Your body would run out of fuel at roughly 75-minutes and your performance would deteriorate.
Picture the scene, it’s the 85th minute of the county cup final, the score is 0-0. You are playing left back and the ball is played over your head, you turn and prepare to sprint after it. But unfortunately all you have been drinking during the game is water, so your body’s fuel stores are completely empty and have been for the past 10 minutes. Your muscle attempts to generate the power required to sprint, but the lack of glucose in the muscle and blood does not allow for this. The opposing right winger has fuelled with various energy gels throughout the game, so has a steady supply of glucose that his muscle can tap into to generate the power to sprint past you, latch on to the through ball and dispatch the winning goal into the top corner.
Believe me when I say that a steady supply of glucose during a game can be the difference between you performing to your best and being able to sprint to make a goal saving tackle and not.
Why Fuel90® and Why Focus90®?
Fuel90® provides maximum fuel (28.4 grams) in two forms, both glucose and fructose in a 3:1 ratio to maximise absorption and minimise stomach upset, alongside key electrolytes to support hydration and the transmission of nerve signals from the brain to the muscle. When you consume 30 – 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour, the equivalent of 1 – 2 Fuel90® energy gels, the body can only burn roughly 1 gram of glucose per minute. If you add more glucose a backlog forms as the membrane transporters are saturated, this can lead to stomach issues and poor performance. By using two different forms of carbohydrate we make use of two different membrane transporters, so the glucose transporter is working at maximum capacity and adding fructose can divert more fuel through a different transporter. This ultimately means you deliver more fuel to muscle and much quicker - roughly 1.75 grams of per minute to be precise - powering those intense actions that dictate games. This also prevents a backlog of sugar in the stomach, leaving you fully fuelled without the stomach issues.
Focus90® packs a real punch by combining fuel (20.4 grams) with caffeine, beta alanine and citrulline malate. Caffeine is a stimulant that makes exercise feel easier, improves decision making and concentration, and can improve both endurance, high speed running and power output. Beta alanine can improve performance of repeated intense actions that maybe limited by a build-up of hydrogen ions. So if you want to sprint back to defend, stop, tackle and launch an immediate counter attack you certainly should consider adding beta alanine to your daily routine. Finally citrulline malate works its magic by increasing the production of nitric oxide, a natural gas that boosts blood flow, the delivery of oxygen to the muscle, and endurance performance and potentially power.
Many brands add these ingredients in low doses so they can talk about them in marketing, without actually having any physiological benefit. But at Soccer Supplement® we let the performance of our products do the marketing for us. Caffeine, beta alanine and citrulline malate are required at specific dosages to benefit performance. So when you take Focus90® you will literally feel the benefit, not just read about it.
How many should I take and when?
One before kick-off and one at half time, just before the second half begins.
It’s unlikely that you will need to consume energy gels during training that lasts less than 70-minutes as your body should have sufficient fuel for this duration. However, when you train for longer than 70-minutes at high intensities similar to game intensity, then these fuel stores will be depleted, so consuming additional fuel in the form of gels is highly recommended.
Recent research suggests that elite football players may require 60 – 90 grams of carbohydrate per game to optimise performance across 90-minutes.
Be mindful that you will also need to consume fluids to maintain hydration and consuming sports drinks such as Hydrate90® that provides water, electrolytes and carbohydrate can maximise fluid retention and hydration. It’s recommended that you combine gels with a sports drink to ensure you meet hydration needs and optimise the absorption of carbohydrate.
That being said if you want to optimise your performance over 90-minutes it would be a good idea to consume a Focus90® gel just after your warm up and before kick-off in the first half and a Fuel90® energy gel before you walk out for the second half, combined with Hydrate90®.
If you want to add energy gels to your routine and boost your performance on the pitch, check out our range of caffeinated and non-caffeinated energy gels for footballers.
Updated April 2022