Energy Gel Review: Decathlon Energy Gel, Affordable but Lack Boost

 

I’m a fan of Decathlon. I’ve purchased many of its affordable yet quality gear for a wide range of sporting activities, but this is my first time using the French company’s sports nutrition products.

I picked up the apple flavor for a half marathon. Here are my thoughts.

 

Marketing claims

Decathlon underscores the energy gel’s micro-nutrient content. Below are three highlights.

 

Ingredients

  • Liquid glucose
  • Fructose
  • Water
  • Maltodextrin
  • Citric acid
  • Flavor
  • Citrate sodium
  • Zinc gluconate
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B12, B6, B1

 

Nutritional facts

At 32 g, it provides:

  • 92.4 calories
  • 23.1 g carbohydrates, of which 20.8 g is sugar
  • 20 mg sodium
  • 0.3 mg vitamin B1
  • 0.4 mg vitamin B6
  • 0.7 mg vitamin B12
  • 3.6 mg vitamin E
  • 3 mg zinc

The energy gel indeed provides a hefty dosage of micro-nutrients. The amount of the various vitamin Bs represents 20-30% of recommended daily value and 28% and 20% for vitamin E and zinc, respectively.

 

Packaging

The packaging is standard. The size, slightly larger than that of GU, should fit in most shorts pockets and running belts.

I’m seeing more energy gels incorporate a non-detachable design to prevent creating litter after ripping open the sachet. The Decathlon energy gel has just that.

Decathlon only sells the gel in a box of four. Hence, nutritional information is printed only on the outer box and not on the gel sachet.

Taste and consistency

The energy gel is quite syrupy with a tart sweetness. The apple flavor reminds me of Jolly Rancher’s hard candy. If you melt down one of those green ones, it would probably taste like the Decathlon apple flavor energy gel.

I find the taste okay, but wish it wasn’t as thick.

 

Performance

I tested Decathlon’s energy gel at a half-marathon. I ran the race as a marathon pace practice with the last 2km at tempo effort (3-5 seconds faster per km than my marathon pace) to get in a quality stimulus.

I took the first gel at the 30-minute mark and then a second one at one hour. The start time was at 4pm, so I had all day to eat, digest, and load up on glycogen.

A half-marathon typically takes me less than 90 minutes, and I probably could have hit my goals without additional fuel. Therefore, it was perhaps not the ideal setting for testing energy gels.

Regardless, it’s good to practice eating gels at race pace and be vigilant about staying topped up for an afternoon race at higher temperatures (around 27 degrees Celsius at the start).

Some takeaways:

  • Based on the nutritional information, the energy gel provides ample sugar, which is the primary purpose. The extra micro-nutrients are a welcome addition, but their effects are harder to verify.
  • I found the gel a bit thick for a hot day, requiring more water to chase down. The aftertaste also lingered.
  • The surge feeling was missing. Although I was able to hit my pace targets, I felt low in energy. There could be many reasons for that. Unseasonably high temperatures and late-afternoon start time (I like early-morning starts) being two.

Conclusion

The box of four costs NT$169 or US$5.42, so each energy gel is US$1.35. It’s affordable but not much different from more prominent brands I’ve tried and liked, such as GU and Hammer.

Each athlete reacts to race fuel differently, and replenishing lost glycogen and electrolytes is more art than science. I didn’t feel re-energized by the Decathlon energy gel, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for you.

The texture didn’t win me over, either. Personally, I don’t mind paying more for a better-tasting option that I’m confident will work for me. Unfortunately, Decathlon Energy Gel won’t be a part of my fueling arsenal.

 

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Looking for energy gel recommendations? Here are a few energy gels reviewed by us recently.

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels, Instant Surge

Spring Energy CanaBERRY – Even Energy Flow From Real Food

PowerGel Original Lemon-Lime, a Solid Option

GU Liquid Energy – GU Plus Water Equals Drinkable Energy

32GI Guarana Caffeine Shot, Separating Energy Gel & Caffeine

Huma All-Natural Energy Gels, Eat Chia Seeds and Run