Competition is increasing as each day advances. Meets after meets, maintaining best times or dropping them gets only difficult. Swimmers have been trying out every new trick available on the shelf. Some work some don’t. And if they work, how sure can we be that it isn’t just another placebo effect?
In a similar context, there has suddenly been a huge trend of carbohydrate gels. Swimmers take it pre-training/ during training/ pre-races or events and many find them beneficial and many find no significant difference.
The rationale behind using a gel is nothing but that
- It is a denser source of energy and yet easy to consume without feeling too heavy.
- It is a quicker source of energy
- It’s a great source of electrolytes
- It also contains caffeine for mental stimulation.
- A non-caffeinated gel can equally play a role in recovery.
The question is, can this gel be any better than our age-old banana?
In my personal opinion, well, not significantly better!
Bananas provide similar functions like gels do. They are a great source of electrolytes, faster and denser source of energy. Of course, they do not have caffeine. But then what is coffee for?
The problem is who would go about having a banana? When Gel is an easier/ cooler alternative?
One might argue that bananas are heavy to eat and feel heavy on the tummy. But also know that gels when taken without adequate plain water can also just hang in your tummy and give you a bloat.
Therefore, isn’t it, time to think if the supplements that you are trying could be beneficial more because of a placebo effect?
Author: Mihira A R Khopkar
B.Sc. Dietetics, M.Sc. Sports Nutrition
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SwimIndia does not guarantee results of any sort, before making any changes to your diet plans, please consult an expert.