Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gu Review

Through the good graces of Outside PR and Gu Energy, I received a package of their products to test out and review (and give away!). Here is what I got:

Here is what we bought to expand the selection:

Based in Berkeley, CA, Gu is, in their own words: “a talented crew of athletes, scientists, production superstars and don’t-judge-me-by-my-flip-flops business aces who share a common inspiration: to deliver the best sports nutrition on the planet into the hands – and mouths – of deserving athletes everywhere!” Gu makes the following products: Roctane Ultra Endurance Gel, Energy Gel, Brew (Electrolyte and Recovery), and Chomps. I received a sample of all of the products except the Roctane.

Apart from the secret recipe, here are some of the items you might find in a Gu product: mix of complex and simple carbohydrates, histidine, potassium citrate, sodium citrate, and citric acid, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, valine and isoleucine, amino acid complex Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (OKG), Antioxidant vitamins C & E, vital electrolytes, sodium and potassium. Suffice it to say, they’re healthier than eating a bunch of gummy bears and then going out to run, swim, or ride.

I used one of their Energy Gels before my Indoor Triathlon several weeks ago (read more here http://midwesttriathlon.blogspot.com/2010/04/most-average-triathlete-in-world.html). Did Gu help me win 2nd in my age group? Possibly; while I can’t point directly to the Energy Gel as the sole source of my almost complete domination (well, complete participation!), I definitely had energy throughout the entire race, which lasted for 75 minutes including transitions.

On Saturday, I sat down with my family (wife, 9 year old son, 7 year old daughter, 3 year old son) and we had a Gu tasting party. The great thing was how much our preferences differed, though we did agree on a few things. My kids will be finishing up their write-up and posting it soon on their blog, Kids Try Gear.

Here are shots of the Brews, Chomps, and Gels laid out for tasting (my, aren’t we scientific?):

Tasting Abbreviations: GF + DF = Gluten Free and Dairy Free; C = Caffeine, NC = No Caffeine, NCA = No Caffeine Added

My opinion (products in order of preference in each category):

Gu Brews – first off, these had a great smell, as did all the products. The other thing that surprised me in a great way was that these were not sticky sweet cloying energy drinks, but rather clean and fresh tasting – loved them!:

Electrolyte Lemon Lime (GF + DF): nice basic flavor, familiar to anyone who has had an energy drink before, but again, clean and crisp;
Electrolyte Raspberry (GF + DF): not being a fan of raspberry in general (though it tastes good as a syrup on cheesecake!), this was saved by the fact that it wasn’t overly strongly-flavored or sweet;
Recovery Orange Pineapple (Contains Milk and Soy): my favorite of the brews, slightly thicker texture, reminiscent of an old favorite, Orange Julius. :)

Gu Chomps – not to sweet, good fruit flavor overall, kind of similar in color (except Orange) and came out of pack sticky; not sure what could be done about that:

Strawberry (C): subtle, true fruit flavor;
Cranberry Apple (C): tart;
Blueberry Pomegranate (NC): sweeter, neither fruit comes through, more pomegranate than blueberry;
Orange (NC): much sweeter, more artificial flavor.

Gu Energy Gels:

Chocolate Outrage (C): great, authentic chocolate favor;
Vanilla Bean (C): sweet but not cloying;
Strawberry Banana (NC): sweetest of the bunch, great flavor;
Mint Chocolate (NCA): tastes like xmas or the mints at some hotels;
Tri-Berry (C): couldn’t pick out specific berry flavors, but yummy nonetheless;
Jet Blackberry (2x C): the only one I didn’t like, seemed more chemically flavored, maybe the double caffeine?

Since taste is VERY subjective, I cannot say that any of the flavors are not good. However, I personally would not purchase the Jet Blackberry, as it really did not have a natural taste to me – on the other hand, it might be the best thing ever for you. Try them all and let your taste buds guide you.

If you want to give them a try, they have a Performance Energy Sampler that can be purchased through their website. The Performance Energy Sampler has everything you need to get serious about your endurance nutrition. The Sampler box includes: 9 GU Energy Gels - includes each flavor of the workhorse of endurance nutrition, 3 Roctane Gels - when you really need to dig deep on that long training run, ride or race, 2 Chomps Packets - mix things up a bit with this delicious and chewable form of energy, 2 GU Electrolyte Brew Packets - a great tasting, balanced electrolyte mix to improve hydration, and 1 GU Recovery Brew Packet - use after workouts to recover faster and perform better the next time out.The Sampler includes details on each product and ideas for using them together to achieve your goals. Purchase from their website at http://store.guenergy.com/GU_Energy_Sampler_p/300.htm.

Here is what we’re giving away next week:

Stay tuned!

If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com.

(Disclaimer: Outside PR sent me this product for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Gu energy. I did not pay for the item, receive payment, or agree to give it a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)


  1. I just reviewed the gu chomps and lvoe them much better than shot bloks! They don't stick in my teeth. I also love the orange-vanilla and mint-chocloate gu gels!

  2. Running Diva Mom, I like them both, big fan of both Gu and Clif. Great giveaway you're doing on your blog!

  3. Have been using Gu products for about 12 years and love them. I received my sample box and my favorite product that i've been using more lately are the Gu chomps. Yummy!

  4. Love the Gu as well. Hey I quoted your comment on my blog in another post. Hope that's OK

  5. KC, I'm a texture person, so the Chomps are my favorite as well, though the Recovery Brew is a close second!

  6. Patrick, feel free to quote me anytime! I know you said you would stop posting about doping, especially for amateurs, but I fear that it is a discussion that is just starting.

  7. i am with you on the JetBlackberry not very good. But the Chocolate Outage and Espresso Love are two of my favorites and after reading the Chocolate Mint reminds you or christmas or a hotel mint I have to say i am a little bit excited about tryin it out.

    Love how you set up you product tasting and reviewing.

  8. Hey Kovas, I tried a Gel the other day and can safely say I didn't much like it. Will have to try a chew. Maybe I would prefer to chew on something while doing a longer training session or race.

  9. I love the tester plate you did!
    I love GU stuff! I actually like the shot blocks better because of the packaging however they both are about the same as far as flavor.
    I loooooove the Vanilla bean and Chocolate Mint!
    I can't drink the recovery brew because it has casein in it (the Whey) but my hubby liked it!

  10. I pretty much live by the GUs on my long runs. I think they make all the difference on 14+ mile runs. I've only tried the vanilla, espresso, and tri berry though. You have quite the spread!

  11. I have never tried these. I want to, I haven't found them at normal grocery stores around here. I need to find where I can buy them

  12. I have never tried these. I'm going to have to see if my local running store carries them. Thanks for the review.

  13. Were the kids bouncing off the walls after the tasting party???

  14. I have never tried GU's but will need to soon for I begin marathon training June 1st. I am considering purchasing their sampler pack so that I can have a try at all they have to offer. Thank you for the review.

  15. I love your tasting plate and shots! I'm just expanding into the world of GU, so this was a great review!

  16. Love the energy gels and chomps! Love the chocolate, espresso, and vanilla but I have tried them all and they are all great! I've tried many different brands and I've always come back to GU.

  17. I've been wanting to try the GU Brew. Thanks for the review!


Leave a comment, tell me what you are thinking!

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports - Patagonia.com

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women