Hi I'm Leonie, Collector of feathers, pebbles, words and adventures, with an overactive mind and a sunshine-filled heart.

This blog is all about: NATURE ~ RUNNING ~ ART ~ FOOD ~ LOVE ~ SELF-DISCOVERY

Red Rocket: Clean Wholefood Gel Fuel for Runners and Endurance Athletes

As per my previous post, my body doesn't really agree with store bought energy gels for distance running. They tend to lead to, *ahem*, bathroom issues which, when you are 10 kilometres or more from home, makes for some very uncomfortable long running.

So I figured I'd try out my own clean whole food energy gel - full of all natural ingredients that my body is used to, plus it still contains a good hit of potassium from the orange juice, coconut water for electrolytes, salt to replace lost sodium, and honey for an energy boost.

I don't normally include nutritional info in my recipes as they tend to look quite unhealthy at first glance due to my love of calorie-dense ingredients like nuts and coconut oil. However in this case, I wanted to make sure this fuel is a legit alternative to running fuel that will actually do what it's supposed to. And just a disclaimer - I'm no nutritionist, this is just what I've worked out based on online calculators and such, it's more of a guide than a super exact analysis. :)


1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey (I used Manuka honey)
1/2 cup coconut water

Put everything in your Omniblend or high speed blender and blend away. It's that easy. Measure out one cup of the recipe to freeze for your next run and add the other cup to your running bottle.

You can defrost the frozen half in the fridge the night before your next long run.

Makes 2 cups / 2 serves

I created this recipe as a clean, wholefood Gu alternative - nothing against Gu, it just doesn't agree with me, nor do any other fuel gels I have tried. This whole recipe makes two servings. I've measured out a serving as about 1 cup which just fits in my Nathan bottle in my hydration pack (the other bottle has plain water). The idea was to have enough to sustain me for a 2 hour run, roughly a half marathon distance. According to the Gu site they recommend a gel 15 minutes before activity then one every 30 minutes or so, so assume that one serving of Red Rocket replaces 5 gels over this kind of time frame. So here's my comparison:

Nutritional Comparison

Nutritional information for this recipe - Red Rocket Endurance Fuel
Per serving - one metric cup (212grams)

Sodium: 590mg
Potassium: 427mg
Carbs: 40.7g
Sugars: 35g

(The above was calculated using this awesome online nutrition panel maker - enter your recipe and analyse to see full nutritional information for any recipe - handy!).

If you take the above recipe VS Gu gel (assume you take one gel every 30 min on a 2 hour run, plus your pre-run gel making a total of five). I've used the Tri Berry gel as a comparison:

40mg sodium x 5 = 200mg sodium
40mg potassium x 5 = 200mg potassium
20g carbs x 5  = 100g carbs
6g sugars x 5 = 30g sugars 

Yes, my recipe is quite different, but it works for my body. And the good thing about a home made recipe you have put together yourself is that you can tailor it any way you want! I find I like the extra sodium as I have problems with cramping in addition to salt lost through sweat. And I prefer to keep the carbs down as I'm attempting a bit of weight loss too so would prefer my body to access energy from fat before easy-access carbs. The coconut water is a good source of electrolytes.

Also please note this is an adequate fuel for my body over this distance which is the upper end of my ability at the moment... if you are super hardcore and run twice as long or hard you may need to adjust levels to ensure you're replenishing what your body is using.

Edit October '14: I've found some additional info here thanks to Competitor Running if you're interested in whole foods vs gels data. Spoiler alert: it's much of a muchness. Personal preference and individual reaction to various fuels still seems to rule. So listen to your own body! :)

Happy running

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