Review: Maurten Hydrogel Sports Fuel
With the extreme emphasis on proper fueling during training and racing, runners are willing to try anything if it will help with their performance. There are numerous options out on the market from sports drinks to flavored electrolyte water and energy bars to gels and gummies. There are so many to choose from, which can get overwhelming. Runners should be including some sort of performance hydration supplements with the right amount of electrolytes to avoid dehydration, but also enough calories from carbohydrates to fuel their muscles and keep their energy levels high for those long races. If only all of this fuel and hydration was available in just one easy-to-digest product.
This is where the newest performance beverage comes into the picture. Maurten Hydrogel Sports Fuel is currently being used by the fastest professional runners in the world and for a reason. It is relieving to know you only need a sports drink throughout an entire marathon instead of gels, hydration fluids, and water in hopes to not get a stomachache, or worse—having to use the porta potty! Maurten has taken its time researching and working with top universities and scientists to master the sports fuel technology.
Is High Carbs the Right Way to Go?
Many other sports drinks that contain enough carbohydrates have been known to cause gastrointestinal issues. The old advice that was given to runners was to limit carbohydrate intake to no more than 60 grams per hour of running in order to avoid any stomach distress, but Maurten has proven differently. With up to 80 grams of carbohydrates per 500ml serving, the innovation behind this sports fuel has been shown to be effective at hydrating and fueling runners without causing any GI problems. Since the norm is that high levels of sugar lead to nausea, diarrhea and bloating, the formula used by this new sports fuel is one of its kind.
A hydrogel is basically a matrix that holds water and commonly used as a thickener in the food industry or a dressing for wound care. Well, in the case of Maurten Sports Fuel, hydrogels are filled with natural sugars, and used in place of a water and sugar mixture like most sports drinks have, in order to facilitate smooth digestion. This is how athletes are able to tolerate high amounts of carbohydrates without feeling sick to their stomachs. And those carbohydrates are extremely helpful throughout a marathon to keep energy levels high and muscles fueled with glycogen.
All Natural Ingredients
As more companies in the food industry are leaning towards organic ingredients, so is the sports fuel world. Maurten emphasizes their focus on using all natural ingredients, which are simply maltodextrin, fructose, pectin, sodium alginate, and sodium chloride. The pectin and alginate are the ingredients responsible for the formation of the hydrogel. No other flavors or preservatives are used in their drink mixes, which you will notice when you taste it. Most who have tried it have stated it simply tastes like “water with sugar”. It may be more refreshing and satisfying to chug a fruit-flavored sports drink, but you can bet you will be more satisfied with the aftermath of using Maurtan Hydrogel Sports Fuel when you are able to sustain your energy and feel great from inside out until the last mile of your race!
For now, the sports fuel comes in Drink Mix 160 and Drink Mix 320. The 160 and 320 refer to the calorie count in each packet. For the maximum carbohydrate amount, it is best to go with the 320 mix, which supplies 80 grams of carbs per serving. The instructions for mixing are precise—mix with 500ml (17 oz) of water. If you are used to having much fewer carbohydrates than 80 grams per hour, as most runners are, it is advisable to start with a low dose at a time. Since marathoners should be fueling frequently, smaller runners can get away with having 200ml every 20 to 30 minutes, which would equate to about 64 gram of carbohydrates per hour. For shorter sessions, fewer carbohydrates are needed, so the 160 drink mix will work.
Although Maurten Hydrogel Sports Fuel has done wonders for many elite runners, it is not for everyone. The elite runners are able to have their Maurten mixed drinks ready for them at aid stations whereas the non-elites must rely on either lugging their own bottles or just drinking whatever is at hand at the aid stations. When you use Maurten for the entire training block and attempt to consume what is available at the races, you do not want to risk getting an upset stomach. Slower runners can do just as well with what is offered at races of course, especially since they have more time to grab and drink at aid stations. There are several other all natural sports fueling options out there that are less expensive and work for the majority of us. No sports drink will make us faster, but they can make us feel better while we run!