Best Energy Gels For Swimmers

Dive into a world where vibrant strokes cut through the water like graceful pirouettes. Where the pursuit of peak performance merges with the exhilarating rhythm of the pool. Yes, fellow water dwellers, we’re talking about swimmers, those relentless souls who find solace and strength in the watery depths. But what fuels these aquatic dynamos, you may wonder? Enter the unsung heroes of the swimming realm – energy gels! These magical inventions hold the key to unlocking maximum potential, providing a burst of energy exactly when it is needed most. So, strap on your goggles, grab your towel, and embark on a quest with us as we explore the finest energy gels tailor-made for swimmers. Let the journey begin, stroke by stroke, as we dive into the world of the “Best Energy Gels for Swimmers.

Energy gels can be a valuable way to boost energy and fuel workouts when out and about. Most gels are quickly absorbed to provide easily-digestible energy for your body, whereas fat and fiber in traditional foods take longer to digest and can sometimes lead to bloating and cramps.

I tried five of’s latest energy gel products to give you a “flavor” of what’s available out there and compare them to each other. Everyone’s taste buds and wants are different when it comes to fueling up but hopefully this helps when reviewing what’s out there that meets your needs.

GU Energy Gel (24 pack – $36)

I was familiar with this particular product from my running days, as GU Energy Gel packs are frequently included in road race goodie bags. I was able to try out flavors such as strawberry banana and tri-berry, both of which I found satisfying, but extremely sweet-tasting. For athletes with a more decadent flavor palette, GU also makes flavors such as Caramel Macchiato and Chocolate Peanut Butter.

With any energy gels, the goal is simply to fuel your next workout, which the GU accomplishes by maintaining one’s glucose level for 45 minutes. According to the company, the maltodextrin, which makes up 70-80% of the carbohydrate blend (depending on flavor), allows muscles to enjoy a steady stream of energy instead of one gigantic sugar rush and a corresponding crash.

One gel was enough to keep me going into CrossFit after swimming and not make me feel weighed down or ‘full’ in any way.

Most of the GU Energy Gel flavors carry 100 calories for the 32g package, which is a typical little squeezable tube with a tear-off top to funnel right into your mouth. Some also include caffeine for when athletes need an extra kick for their workouts. The package is very easy to keep in running shorts pockets, right there on the pool deck or in your car to swig down on your way to your workout.

Gu Energy Gel also boasts 450mg of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), which is aimed in reducing muscle fatigue. The sugar content is relatively modest compared to other gels, with the strawberry banana, for instance, having 23g carbs, but just 7g of sugar.

Clif Shot Energy Gel (24 pack – $30)

The Clif Shot Energy Gel is meant to be taken during exercise, as opposed to before, giving your body a fast-acting source of carbs to keep your strength and endurance up during the workout.

I kept the 34g packet on the side of the pool and found it easy to slip out, down the packet and hop back in with no real workout interruption. The Razz flavor was tart and invigorating, but made me a tad thirsty, so I chased it with a quick swig of water.

In terms of ingredients, the average 12g of sugar in the GU brand was more than I personally was comfortable with for such a small source of fuel. As such, on another occasion at CrossFit I only ingested half the packet mid-way through my workout and saved the rest in a plastic bag for the following day. The ½ packet was enough to give me a little boost that water alone wouldn’t provide.

The package is designed with a ‘litter leash’, which enables the top of the tube to be ripped, but not entirely untethered from the package to reduce waste, if you’re eating this while running on a trail or road. I like that added touch.

This product comes in fruity-flavored varieties, as well as richer types to the tune of Mocha and Double Espresso, both of which contain caffeine.

Huma Chia Energy Gel (24 pack – $54)

I’m personally not a fan of chia seeds in everyday food recipes, so I was pleasantly surprised by these Huma Chia Energy Gels. The seeds are in powdered form within the gel, so their presence was almost undetectable. The flavor I loved the most was strawberry, whose ingredients include fruit puree, reminding me of a freshly- made jam.

The gel was smooth and easy to gulp down in the car on the go and the aftertaste was entirely tolerable in that I didn’t feel the need to wash it down immediately like some other brands.

The formula boasts a 2:1 glucose to fructose ratio, which is aimed at long-lasting performance. I was able to feel strong and fueled throughout my workout with nothing of note in digestion.

With these Huma Gels, I also wound up eating just ½ a packet after noting the sugar and carb content, which consists of around 13g and 22g, respectively. This is just based on personal preference, as I try to keep my re-fuel between swimming and CrossFit at 10g of carbs or less.

These are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, for those with any dietary preferences in that area. As a bonus ingredient, the Huma offers around 400mg of omega-3 fatty acids for heart health but you’ll definitely pay of that added ingredients. A 24-pack is almost double the price and the most expensive of this group.

If you enjoy sweet-tasting treats, then this honey-based gel is for you and Honey Stinger makes a point to highlight that its organic. I tried out the Acai-Pomegranate flavor and the honey taste was still strong against those berries.

The gel itself is quite sticky, which was a little tricky when eating this on the go. A little gel got on my hands when opening the packet and even that little bit necessitated my having to wash them to not transfer the stickiness everywhere else. I also found the formula to be a thicker consistency than I would like.

A couple of the Honey Stinger flavors contain caffeine, which is a good option, while they all carry around 100 calories per 32g packet. The carb count nears 23g with 13g sugar, to be expected with a strong honey base.

This product is meant to be enjoyed mid-workout, but I ingested it in between swimming and CrossFit and found it to be enough to tide me over.

A special feature of Honey Singer is that the gels boast USDA certified organic and gluten-free ingredients, while also being soy free and nut free.

Science in Sport GO Isotonic Energy Gel (30 pack – $50)

I was thrilled when I picked up the Science in Sport GO Isotonic Energy Gel packet to find that the product contained just .6g of sugar. Also, the first ingredient listed is water, which explains why this gel went down so easy and had a more liquidy texture than some of the other gels on the market.

Per the company, the isotonic formula allows the gel to empty from the stomach quickly, as no fluid needs to be drawn into your stomach to dilute the gel. So it definitely stands out from most of the others in this review. Also, the box comes in a 30-pack, slightly bigger but also costs more than the rest.

One packet contains 2 oz of gel, which means the 22g of quick-absorbing carbs was brought down to 11g when I ingested just ½ a serving of the SIS Go Gel. The lemon-lime flavor was pleasantly mild and even slightly thirst-quenching in itself. The brand does offer other variations like apple, mango and even chocolate. Some variations also contain caffeine.

SIS recommends consuming one gel halfway through repeated high intensity exercise, so I ingested a packet mid-way through my swim workout and felt energized through the end. Definitely a good option for those that find most gels to sweet and sticky.

1. “Powerful Pools: Dive into the Best Energy Gels for Swimmers”

Swimming is a demanding sport that requires immense energy reserves, and when it comes to powering up, energy gels are a swimmer’s best friend. These compact and convenient sources of fuel provide a quick dose of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and caffeine to keep swimmers at their best during intense workouts and competitions.

But with so many options available, which energy gels should avid swimmers choose? We’ve dived into the world of energy gels to bring you a carefully curated selection of the best ones that will take your pool performance to new heights. Check out our top picks below:

    • Aquamax Pro: This gel not only replenishes your energy levels with its blend of fast-acting carbohydrates but also provides a punch of hydration with added electrolytes. Designed specifically for swimmers, Aquamax Pro is formulated to be easily digestible during high-intensity swim sessions.
    • SwimFuel Turbo: If you’re looking for an extra boost of energy, SwimFuel Turbo is the gel for you. With its unique blend of natural ingredients, including caffeine, it provides a rapid surge of power to propel you through the water faster than ever.

2. “Fueling Stamina and Speed: Discover the Top Energy Gels to Propel Swimmers

Energy gels are convenient, individually packaged gels that contain a concentrated source of carbohydrates. Endurance athletes often use them in longer training sessions to improve performance and maintain adequate blood sugar levels (1Trusted Source).

Most energy gels are made of a quick-digesting carbohydrate source, often in the form of maltodextrin, sucrose, fructose, or glucose.

Gels may also include caffeine, which has been shown to improve exercise performance, as well as branched-chain amino acids, which can help relieve muscle soreness (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).

Keep reading for our picks of the 11 best energy gels.

How we chose

We researched the best energy gels based on the following criteria:

  • Recommendations from experts. We spoke with running experts to get their takes on the best energy gels.
  • Reviews. We included gels with mostly positive customer reviews.
  • Price. We looked for energy gels to suit a range of budgets.
  • Ingredients. We included products to suit a variety of dietary needs and preferences, including gluten-free gels and ones made from all-natural ingredients.
  • Personal experience. Runner and dietitian Ellen Landes, MS, RDN, shared her thoughts on which gels taste the best and are easiest to digest.
  • Vetting. All the products included have been vetted to ensure they meet Healthline’s medical and business standards.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is one of the least expensive on the list, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, prices range from $1.08–$3.75 per serving, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Pricing guide:

  • $ = under $1.50 per serving
  • $$ = $1.50–$2.50 per serving
  • $$$ = over $2.50 per serving
Was this helpful?
Healthline’s picks of the best energy gels

Best unflavored

Maurten Energy Gel 100

Maurten Energy Gel 100
  • Price: $$$
  • Flavors: unflavored
  • Carbs per serving: 25 grams
  • Caffeine: caffeinated and non-caffeinated options
  • Sugar source: glucose, fructose
  • Best for: athletes who struggle to consume gels with overly strong flavors

Maurten energy gels are unflavored, so they’re a great choice for athletes who are sensitive to the strong, sweet flavors of other gels.

Maurten sells sports products that include their patent-pending hydrogel, which, according to their website, behaves like a sponge and can hold carbohydrates.

Maurten claims this allows for better transportation of carbohydrates to the intestines and thus decreases digestive issues, but there’s currently limited evidence to support this.

Still, many positive reviews mention that Maurten gels provide energy without causing any stomach upset during longer training sessions.

According to Road Runners Club of America running coach Briana Kolbo, “[Maurten Energy gels] are a bit spendy, but many people have great results with it. You can get them with or without caffeine. They claim to help you digest twice as many carbohydrates without upsetting your stomach.”

Maurten offers both caffeinated and non-caffeinated options, with the caffeinated gels containing 100 mg of caffeine per serving.

Potential downsides: expensive; Jell-O-like texture may be off-putting for some

Best-rated energy gel

Gu Energy Original Sports Nutrition Gel

Gu Energy Original Sports Nutrition Gel
  • Price: $
  • Flavors: salted caramel, chocolate outrage, strawberry banana, tri-berry, jet blackberry, vanilla bean, espresso love, caramel macchiato, birthday cake, lemon sublime, campfire s’mores, and more
  • Carbs per serving: 23 grams
  • Caffeine: in some flavors
  • Sugar source: maltodextrin, fructose
  • Best for: athletes who are used to taking gels and enjoy sweet flavors

Gu Energy is known for offering sports nutrition products in a variety of fun flavors.

Considering that they have more than 7,000 mostly positive reviews on Amazon, it’s easy to see why Gu energy gels are included on our list as the best-rated option.

More than 25 flavors are available, some of which contain 20 or 40 mg of caffeine from green tea extract. Fans of the gels appreciate the flavor variety and pleasant taste.

What’s more, Gu energy gels are vegan and gluten-free. However, they do contain some preservatives, so they’re not ideal if you prefer a more natural product.

Potential downsides: contain preservatives, may cause stomach upset in some runners

Best natural energy gel

Huma Chia Energy Gel

Huma Chia Energy Gel
  • Price: $$
  • Flavors: strawberries, blueberries, apples and cinnamon, cafe mocha, chocolate, lemonade, mangoes, raspberries
  • Carbs per serving: 21 grams
  • Caffeine: in some flavors
  • Sugar source: cane sugar, brown rice syrup, fruit
  • Best for: athletes with sensitive stomachs who prefer natural ingredients

Huma is a sports nutrition company that was inspired by the Tarahumara, a group of Indigenous people living in Mexico who are renowned for their ability to run long distances.

The Huma Chia Energy Gel is 100% natural and gluten-free. The ingredients include whole foods, such as fruit and chia seeds, which some runners may find easier to digest.

Reviews are mostly positive, with several runners mentioning that the chia gel is easier to digest and doesn’t cause stomach upset. Additionally, many appreciate the recognizable ingredients.

While several flavors are caffeine-free, others provide 25 or 50 mg of caffeine per serving.

What our tester says: “As a runner myself, this is my favorite energy gel. I enjoy all of the flavors and find them easy to take mid-run. I also like to alternate between caffeinated and caffeine-free gels for a bit of a performance edge without overdoing it.”

Potential downsides: may cause digestive discomfort if not consumed with enough water

Best organic energy gel

Clif Shot Energy Gels

Clif Shot Energy Gels
  • Price: $
  • Flavors: mocha, double espresso, razz, citrus, vanilla, strawberry
  • Carbs per serving: 24–25 grams
  • Caffeine: in some flavors
  • Sugar source: maltodextrin, cane sugar
  • Best for: athletes looking for an affordable organic product

Clif Bar & Company is known for its bars and snacks, but it also offers a line of organic energy gels.

Clif Shot Energy gels are made from organically grown, non-GMO ingredients.

Overall, reviews on these gels are positive, especially because they’re less expensive than others on the market. However, some reviewers do recommend double-checking the caffeine content before consuming, as some flavors contain 25, 50, or 100 mg of caffeine per serving.

What our tester says: “I found the flavors of these gels to be pleasant, and they were easy on my stomach when I took them during long runs.”

Potential downsides: may cause stomach upset in some runners

Best keto-friendly energy gel


  • Price: $$$
  • Flavors: orange, strawberry banana
  • Carbs per serving: 19 grams
  • Caffeine: no
  • Sugar source: SuperStarch
  • Best for: athletes who follow a low carb or keto diet

UCAN is a sports nutrition company that sells products containing its proprietary SuperStarch, a low glycemic complex carbohydrate that’s designed to provide steady energy rather than spike blood sugar levels.

Preliminary research has shown potential benefits of SuperStarch, although more research is needed (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source).

Because UCAN Edge uses SuperStarch rather than more traditional sugar ingredients, the company claims it may be a suitable choice for those who follow a keto diet.

The gels are also gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan.

Reviews of UCAN Edge are mostly positive, with several people noting how easy the gel is on their stomachs.

Potential downsides: expensive, larger size than other gels, contains erythritol, not the best-tasting option

Best gluten-free energy gel

Honey Stinger Energy Gels

  • Price: $
  • Flavors: acai pomegranate, gold, fruit smoothie, strawberry kiwi
  • Carbs per serving: 24–26 grams
  • Caffeine: in some flavors
  • Sugar source: organic honey, organic tapioca syrup
  • Best for: athletes with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders

Honey Stinger is known for its use of organic honey in its sports nutrition products.

The energy gels are certified non-GMO and free of gluten, soy, nuts, and dairy, making them a suitable choice for runners with allergies.

These gels have added electrolytes to help you stay hydrated during longer training sessions, but you’ll still need to take them with water.

Reviews are mostly positive, with many runners finding these honey-based gels easier to digest than other gels.

Strawberry kiwi is the only caffeinated flavor, providing 32 mg of caffeine from green tea extract.

Potential downsides: original gold flavor isn’t the best-tasting

Spring Energy Any Distance Fuel

Spring Energy Any Distance Fuel
  • Price: $$$
  • Flavors: canaberry
  • Carbs per serving: 17 grams
  • Caffeine: no
  • Sugar source: basmati rice, fruit, maple syrup
  • Best for: athletes who prefer natural ingredients and don’t mind paying a little extra for them

Spring Energy uses 100% natural, whole-food ingredients in its sports nutrition products.

The Any Distance Fuel comes in just one flavor, canaberry, which is described as mildly sweet.

It’s also free of gluten-containing ingredients and produced in a gluten-free facility, making it a good option if you have a gluten-related disorder.

In addition to Any Distance Fuel, Spring Energy offers other gel products — Speednut, Hill Aid, and Long Haul — which vary in calories, caffeine, flavor, and other ingredients.

Happy customers appreciate the gel’s whole-food ingredients, such as basmati rice and fruit.

Potential downsides: expensive, only one flavor available

Best vegan energy gel

PNG Refuel Gel

PNG Refuel Gel
  • Price: $
  • Flavors: orange cream, watermelon cucumber
  • Carbs per serving: 21 grams
  • Caffeine: no
  • Sugar source: maltodextrin, dextrose
  • Best for: vegan athletes who also want a source of electrolytes

Pinnacle Nutrition Group (PNG) makes sports nutrition supplements, gels, and drinks.

PNG Refuel Gel is vegan and gluten-free, but it’s not clear whether PNG’s products are processed in a gluten-free facility, so you may want to be cautious if you have a gluten-related disorder.

The gel contains added electrolytes, which can be helpful during long training sessions.

What our tester says: “I expected to particularly enjoy the orange cream flavor of these gels, but I was disappointed in the flavor and texture. Unfortunately, this gel didn’t sit well in my stomach during my run. However, every runner is different and many people enjoy this brand.”

Potential downsides: mixed reviews on the taste; sticky texture

Torq Energy Gel

Torq Energy Gels
  • Price: $$
  • Flavors: apple crumble, black cherry yoghurt, raspberry ripple, rhubarb custard
  • Carbs per serving: 21 grams
  • Caffeine: no
  • Sugar source: maltodextrin, fructose
  • Best for: vegan athletes who want a source of electrolytes

Torq offers various fueling and recovery products in the form of gels, chews, bars, and powders.

In addition to being vegan, Torq Energy Gels are wheat-free and contain added electrolytes.

Torq energy gels are designed to have a thinner consistency than others, which may help make them easier to digest. However, it’s still important to drink plenty of water with the gel for optimal digestion and absorption.

Many reviewers agree that the gels are easy on the stomach and don’t cause any digestive discomfort during exercise.

Overall, reviews are very positive, and most mention that the unique flavors taste great.

Potential downsides: expensive

Best variety of flavors

Hammer Energy Gel

Hammer Energy Gel
  • Price: $
  • Flavors: apple cinnamon, banana, chocolate, espresso, huckleberry, hazelnut, orange, peanut butter, peanut butter chocolate, raspberry, tropical, vanilla
  • Carbs per serving: 22 grams
  • Caffeine: in some flavors
  • Sugar source: maltodextrin, dextrose
  • Best for: athletes who prefer to portion out their own gels for full control of dosing

Hammer Nutrition sells various types of sports nutrition fuel, supplements, and bars.

Hammer Energy Gels are available in 12 flavors, including peanut butter, tropical, and apple cinnamon.

The espresso and tropical flavors do contain caffeine, so be sure to check the caffeine content before purchasing.

Every flavor is also gluten-free, though it’s unclear whether these gels are processed in a facility that also processes gluten.

According to the website, every flavor except hazelnut is also vegan.

Unlike other gels, Hammer Energy Gel can be purchased in a larger containers so that individuals can portion out their own gels, which may be more cost effective.

Reviewers like the wide variety of flavors, and most feel that the gels digest easily and have a pleasant taste.

Potential downsides: may cause stomach upset in some runners

Best for convenience

Science in Sport (SiS) GO Isotonic Energy Gels

Science in Sport (SiS) GO Isotonic Energy Gels
  • Price: $
  • Flavors: orange, lemon and mint, salted strawberry, apple
  • Carbs per serving: 22 grams
  • Caffeine: no
  • Sugar source: maltodextrin
  • Best for: athletes who don’t want to have to take their energy gel with water

SiS is a nutrition brand that offers endurance nutrition products, including gels, powders, drinks, and bars.

One unique feature of the SiS gel is that, unlike most other gels, it doesn’t need to be taken with water.

“Science in Sport (SiS) has an energy gel that is meant to be consumed without water. This can be helpful if water stops don’t line up with when you take your fuel. Most gels require water to be consumed at the same time to help with absorption,” says Amy Goblirsh, dietitian for runners.

Keep in mind that while you won’t need to time your water intake with your gel intake, it’s still important to hydrate during your workout.

On top of the convenience of not needing water, these gels can be a suitable option for athletes with allergies because they’re free from dairy, gluten, nuts, animal products, and wheat.

SiS isotonic gels have more than 4,000 mostly positive reviews on Amazon, many of which mention the perk of not needing water to take the gel and note that it doesn’t cause digestive issues.

What our tester says: “I personally did not enjoy these gels and felt that the consistency was a little runny and the flavor wasn’t great. While not needing to time the gel with water intake is convenient, this wasn’t an issue for me as I carry a water bottle along with gels anyway.”

Potential downsides: contains artificial additives and sweeteners, orange flavor could be better

A comparison of the best energy gels

Here’s a quick look at how our top picks compare:

Price per serving Calories Carbs (sugar) Carb source Caffeine Key features
Maurten $3.60 100 25 grams • glucose
• fructose
0- and 100-mg options • easy to digest
• unflavored
Gu $1.30 100 23 grams • maltodextrin
• fructose
0-, 20-, and 40-mg options • gluten-free
• vegan
Huma $2.37 100 21 grams • cane sugar
• brown rice syrup
0-, 25-, and 50-mg options • natural ingredients
• gluten-free
Clif Shot $1.15 110 23–25 grams • maltodextrin
• cane sugar
0-, 25-, 50-, and 100-mg options • organic
• non-GMO
UCAN Edge $2.62 70 19 grams SuperStarch no • keto-friendly
• gluten-free
• non-GMO
• vegan
Honey Stinger $1.42 100–110 24–26 grams • organic honey
• organic tapioca syrup
0- and 32-mg options • gluten-free
• allergy-friendly
Spring Energy $3.90 100 17 grams • basmati rice
• maple syrup
no • gluten-free
• natural ingredients
PNG Refuel Gel $1.35 80 21 grams maltodextrin no vegan
Torq Energy Gel $2.33 110 21 grams • maltodextrin
• fructose
no • vegan
• wheat-free
Hammer Energy Gel $1.40 90 22 grams • maltodextrin
• dextrose
0-, 25-, and 50-mg options • vegan options
SiS $1.16 87 22 grams maltodextrin no • can be taken without water
• allergy-friendly
How to choose an energy gel

When deciding on a gel for your running needs, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Carbs per serving. Most energy gels have 20–25 grams of carbs per serving. The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming 30–60 grams of carbs per hour when exercising for longer than 1 hour. You may need to do a little number crunching to determine how many gels you’ll need to meet this recommendation (1Trusted Source).
  • Sugar source. The carbohydrates found in energy gels often come from simple sugars such as dextrose, maltodextrin, glucose, or fructose, as these are easy to digest and absorb. Some gels contain other sources of sugar, such as maple syrup or honey.
  • Ingredients. In addition to a carbohydrate source, you may see other ingredients on the label, including gelling agents like xanthan gum and gellan gum, which help with texture. Some gels may contain artificial sweeteners and colors, as well as additives and preservatives, which may be a downside if you prefer a more natural product.
  • Caffeine content. Caffeine may help boost performance. However, some people are more sensitive to its effects, and too much caffeine may cause unwanted side effects. To balance your caffeine intake, you may want to alternate between caffeinated and non-caffeinated gels or skip the caffeine altogether (6Trusted Source7Trusted Source).
  • Electrolytes. Some gels contain added electrolytes that can be beneficial during training and workouts. This can be a convenient way to get in carbs and electrolytes together. However, if you typically use another source of electrolytes, it may be best to choose a gel without them.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *