GU, the fuel that propels many of today’s fast and light ascents. It has application to many sports and activities and if used correctly can be an excellent way to push the body farther in endurance activities such as alpine climbing.
This is a very simple recipe for making your own energy gel, it is very similar to the CliffShots (one of the many brands available). It is my personal favorite since it is so easy to make and can be made out of all organic ingredients.
6 parts Organic Brown Rice Syrup
2 Parts Organic Chocolate Syrup
1 Part Organic Espresso Beans (Turkish ground)
Pinch of Sea Salt
Once mixed an appropriate container must be found to hold the gel. GU makes a container that can be purchased and works great, but any variety of containers can be used. While ice climbing in New England this past February we used a honey bear container. It became affectionately known as our little black bear that provided us with the sending power!
Other recipes that can be used involve maltodextrine and need to be cooked, these recipes are more similar to the actual brand GU. I have not found a major difference in performance though. Both supply the body with a small load of fructose and carbohydrate to boost performance over a short time period (~1 hour).
The flavor can be modified of course, I find that that caffeine provided by the espresso gives the brain a nice boost during a long day of alpine climbing. The caffeine also has the benefit of allowing the body to more quickly metabolize the calories contained within the gel. I put in chocolate because it tastes good, dark chocolate has lots of antioxidants that can help with recovery but it is probably better to just eat some good old 70% cocoa darkness when your done.
The sea salt helps the body to retain water, always important while in the mountains.
Speaking of water, any power gel needs to be taken with a few mouthfuls. Otherwise it’s not nearly as effective. Water is the most important thing to put in your body while climbing anyway so it’s really just a little extra incentive.
Good luck out there on the Alpine endeavors, if you come up with improvements to this recipe please do let me know!