As a big fan of Sage Canaday and his “any surface, any distance philosophy”, I was super excited to finally pick up some of his favorite running fuel – Spring Energy – and give it a try. I picked up a full spectrum of their “gels” (although it says “gel” on the packaging, it really is quite different from your standard gels). In this post I will focus on the CanaBerry flavor. This specific flavor was designed with input from Sage himself and is the closest comparison to traditional gel products with regards to the carbohydrate content. Some of their other products (review here) contain a bit more fat and are able to deliver even more calories in little sachets.
Here is what I discovered about Spring Energy CanaBERRY gel while out on a 25km beach fartlek.
Here are a few of the key selling points from the good people at Spring Energy and what Sage shared during his product intro video:
- No Spikes – just a steady stream of energy from real foods.
- No gastro intestinal issues – again the real foods eliminate the GI problems some runners experience due to extreme sugar rush delivered via maltodextrin mixed with preservatives.
- Great taste – by using real foods like basmati rice, fruits, and natural sweeteners like maple syrup, Spring Energy claims to be able to create superior tasting gels.
- No need to train your stomach – your body is already used to digesting real foods so you don’t need to worry about how your body will handle this type of fuel during a race.
- Vegan – no animals were harmed while making this gel.
After trying the product, I have to say that the gel lived up to these promises.
Ingredients of Spring Energy CanaBerry Gel
- Basmati Rice
- Organic Banana
- Maple Syrup
- Coconut Water
- Coconut Oil
- Soy Lecithin
- Organic Lemon Juice
- Vitamin C
- Citric Acid
You might say that is a very fancy assortment of whole foods. It is reflected in the price as these energy gels sell for around $4 per gel. One thing energy gel aficionados might have noticed is the missing source of fast sugar like maltodextrin or some variant of simple sugars. This is part of the product promise to deliver a steady flow of energy.
Each energy gel weighed in at 46 grams and contained:
- 100 calories
- 3g fat
- 17g carbohydrates, of which 5g are sugars
- 1g protein
- 60 mg sodium
So it’s not the most concentrated package of calories but there is some variety with the addition of fat and a whole gram of protein.
Taste and consistency – mashed food rather than a gel
If you’re not a fan of traditional energy gel gooey consistency, you may want to give Spring Energy a try. The texture is reminiscent of baby food or fruit smoothie, you even get a hint of real fruit tidbits as you suck down the energy.
The taste was a nice combination of sweet (Sage says from the maple syrup), and tartness (perhaps from the strawberries). Definitely felt like I was consuming real food and felt no worry of a stomach revolt.
Packaging – two holes for bib belt attachment and non-discardable top
The packaging of these gels are quite complex. There are two holes that I assume are there so you can hold your gels in a running bib belt (I couldn’t find an explanation on their website). There is also another hole which stops from you ripping the top completely off when opening the gel and thereby eliminating the potential to litter while out on the trails.
Performance – steady flow of energy
I had a light breakfast and it was getting close to lunch as I set out on a 25 km (15 mile) beach fartlek. I would run easy, then start playing with speed by setting a goal in the distance and keeping a fast effort until I reached my destination. I took the the first gel about 45 minutes into the run and the second one at about 1.5 hr mark and continued for 40 minutes more.
- Having tested so many gels lately, I really enjoyed the taste of real food, so I think if you’re looking for a break from traditional gels, then consider giving this a try.
- I didn’t feel any super energy boost but I never felt like I lacked energy.
- The gel went down easy and there was no stickiness in the mouth that comes with traditional gels. I did still liked washing the gel down with water as I tasted the natural acidity of the fruits.
- The packaging was easy to get open and I did not have to worry about the tip getting lost as it stayed attached.
- I consumed two packs and they fit quite nicely in my back running pocket – I think I could have fit another one without a problem.
Give it a try if:
- You don’t care about the “boost” that you may get from a sugar rush or caffeine from other products, you just want a steady even flow of energy.
- You need a break from the gooey consistency of energy gels, or if you miss eating baby food 🙂
- You’re vegan.
- You like fruit smoothies, the taste is quite close to a strawberry banana smoothie.
Need a little motivation to head out the door? Here are some fan-favorites from our “Inspiration” section. Happiness happens when you run.