Maurten Gel Review
I first came across these at a road race in China. A roommate for the event was from Holland and spoke at length about the brand, and that it’s popular in Europe from elite athletes to amateurs. Briefly, the products were designed by a team in Sweden who wanted a gel that allowed high carbohydrate intake but with reduced GI issues. I’ll leave all the marketing hype to the readers own curiosity/Google search.
Some will know that outside of running, I have a chemistry research background and have a keen interest in nutrition/fuelling for training, and life in general. Therefore, I can’t resist a little bit of a geek-out, but I also think it’s important to highlight why Maurten Gel 100 is unique in a pretty crowded gel market.
Traditional gels are water and carbohydrates mixed into syrups, with some sort of flavouring, and commonly some other additive, such as, preservatives, amino acids/protein, or caffeine. Maurten Gel 100 is different. It still has 25g of carbohydrates per serving (comparable to other gels), but what sets the Maurten Gel 100 apart is that it is a hydrogel – think of this as being more like a water-jelly, rather than the typical gooey syrup consistency. It also only has six ingredients with no added colorants, preservatives or flavours – this appeals as I target fuelling with ‘real food’ as much as possible. Essentially, Maurten Gel 100 is water, carbohydrate (sugar), and a couple of salts to form the gel.
Maurten Gel 100 also have very minimal taste; there is a slight sweetness there, but it really is like eating water-jelly. I find during longer runs that I get a bit of flavour fatigue, and not having a big sweet tooth means it can really be an effort forcing down ‘yet another’ sickly sweet gel.
I’ve been using these for about 6 months in training. First and foremost, I didn’t notice any energy difference between any other brands of gel. I was worried that having a striped-back ingredient list may require taking a gel more often – something I’ve found is the case with another brand (I won’t mention names here, but get in touch if you want to discuss).
During my training block, I had nothing but positive experience with them. I got the gels down easily due to the soft jelly consistency, and no lingering mouth coating. I usually drink water after a gel out of habit, but you can actually consume these without water.
The packet itself is easy to open on the run, even in the cold (it was winter for most of my training) and with gloves. Also, no sticky residue left on hands! I did have 1 gel packet (over the entire 6-months) that appeared to not have a pre-tear in it, making it hard to open, but 1 from numerous boxes is acceptable.
Beyond training, I used these in a recent 50-mile race I did in Colorado. The race was at altitude and, although I don’t usually suffer GI issues, being 3,000 m above sea level certainly makes fuelling a different beast. My typical fuelling strategy is to use both gels and real food (fruit, sandwiches, chips etc.). Full disclosure, in this 50-mile race, I did consume another brand of gels early on alternate with Maurten 100 Gels – basically because the other gels were available at the aid stations, I’d used the brand before, and who turns down free gels?!
However, this race is where Maurten Gel 100 was a saint in the clouds! Miles deep into the race, my stomach wasn’t wanting to consume food and the thought of a sweet gel had my belly churning. However, Maurten Gel 100 were easy to get down – not only because there isn’t a strong taste, but the soft consistency got it in before there was any chance of a revolt! Kept me fuelled and the engine burning; avoided any energy wall (bonking).
The Verdict: Nutrition is hyper-personal, but I’ve found that the Maurten Gel 100 works for me in training and races. If you are tired of the sweet gels out there, then these are worth a try! They’ll still fuel the furnace, but might help beat flavour fatigue or fuelling/GI issues.