Peanut Butter Gu and Gu Roctane review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I’ve become a bit notorious for my shifting nutrition strategies during training and racing. Some have worked and some have been a disaster (see my long walk at Florida 70.3).

Either way, I’ve been quick to move on from the previous plan to try another. I guess part of the fun of being a triathlete is trying new stuff. Even if it’s a bad idea once you find something that’s working for you., especially on race day.

When I started triathlon 11 years ago there weren’t a ton of options on the market yet. The first “gel” product I remember seeing at my local tri shop was Gu. Something about eating “Gu” was/is a badge of honor for triathletes. Normal people don’t eat “Gu”. But triathletes do. We’re “Gu” eaters.

The brand has made it’s way into and out of my repertoire of nutrition strategies over the years. Recently though I was given the opportunity to try some of Gu‘s newest products: Peanut Butter Gu and several Roctane products. Considering Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the bike has been one of my favorite nutrition approaches in the last few years, I was excited to sample Gu’s new Peanut Butter flavored gel.

And since I’m a caffeine junky too, anything called “Roctane” had to be good.

Via one of their PR Representatives, Outside PR, Gu sent me a big ‘ol sample pack, including Peanut Butter gel and several of their Roctane Gels and drink mixes. I’ve tested all of it in the last few weeks, during long rides, runs, and BRICKS as I prepare for my next long course race.

For those who loved Cliffs Notes in school here’s the short version: AWESOME! I’ll be using this mix of stuff in my next race.

For those who love details (weirdos), read on.

As regular energy gels go, the Peanut Butter Gu (100 calories) is the best tasting product I’ve ever used. (caveat: you have to actually like peanut butter). Think about the creamiest peanut butter you’ve ever eaten. Good, right? Now make it creamier. No, creamier. There you go…Peanut Butter Gu. It’s made with real peanuts, so there’s no mad-scientist flavor. Just super creamy peanut butter flavor. I’m not kidding when I say that I actually considered squirting some of bread and making a sandwich with it, just to see how good it would be. The folks at Gu recommend mixing it with their Jet Blackberry Gu for a PB&J mashup. Sounds good, but I had a different idea.

I used Peanut Butter Gu and washed it down with grape flavored Roctane drink mix. That’s how I do PB&J on the bike now instead of scarfing down an actual pre-made sandwich.This is my new go-to combo for training and racing. The combo of calories, electrolytes, and the energy were great.

I had lunch with a friend who is an elite level triathlete a few days ago and our conversation turned to nutrition strategy. When the topic of Roctane came up his eyes got big. He seemed far away and the muttered:

“That’s the stuff, man. That’s the stuff.”

“It’s good isn’t it?” I said.

“Uh yeah, I’m not sure what they put in that stuff…crack maybe….but dude, WOW. I feel it almost immediately.”

He shall remain nameless, but obviously he’s a big fan of Roctane products. As am I. Both the Roctane drinks and the Roctane Gels have an almost immediate effect on how you’re feeling.

How are the gels different from regular Gu gels? Here’s what Gu says:

Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel contains more of the ingredients that matter during long or intense activity while still being based on the proven ratio of simple and complex carbohydrates found in GU Energy Gel.

  • 3 times more Branched Chain Amino Acids
  • 10 times more Histidine
  • 2-3 times more electrolytes
  • Ornithine Alpha-Ketaglutarate (OKG)

Oh, and a blast of caffeine too. My favorite of the Roctane gel flavors were Pineapple (think melted pineapple Starburst candy) and Cherry-Lime (think Sonic happy hour). I can’t wait to try the new Island Nectars flavor.

The Roctane drink, though, is the real kicker. I felt it almost instantly. On one particular ride I was really suffering to get going, so I took a few long pulls from my bottle of Roctane. Within seconds I was powering up and feeling great. Here’s how Gu describes their drink mixes:

Each serving contains 240 calories of complex and simple carbs that is optimized for rapid absorption and energy accessibility. Key electrolytes such as sodium and potassium help with hydration. Here’s a breakdown of Roctane Energy Drink’s other key performance ingredients:

  • Ideal carbohydrate ratio – Unique ratio of glucose and fructose are podium-proven to better maintain glycogen levels than glucose or fructose alone
  • Key electrolytes – Sodium and potassium properly maintain hydration
  • Taurine – Can help maintain heart & muscle performance during prolonged exercise which would otherwise lead to fatigue and decreased performance
  • Caffeine (except grape flavor) – Can stimulate the central nervous system and reduce pain perception leading to prolonged exercise, delayed fatigue and increased performance
  • Beta-Alanine – Supplements dietary beta-alanine to improve muscle buffering capacity and performance during intense efforts
  • Branch Chain Amino Acids (Leucine, Valine, Isoleucine) – Shown to serve as an additional fuel source (when taken with carbohydrates), reduce muscle damage, enhance recovery and delay fatigue – all critical during intense or long efforts
  • Histidine Amino Acid – helps to promote buffer capacity of muscles

This may be the end of my waffling with my nutrition strategy. I’m a Gu guy now. I love you kids,

– Daddy

I was given these products by Gu, via Outside PR, for review. However, my opinions are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.