I received SiS (Science in Sport) energy gels to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!"
Before trying these gels out, I had heard about them a handful of times and the feedback was always positive. I usually never get the feeling from energy gels that others do so I always level set myself on what to expect from my own previous experiences. I've come to realize that's the best way to review them fairly as my body responds to them differently than others.
One of the first things I judge them on is taste. I mean, it makes sense since that's the first thing you usually notice other than the texture. I am not a fan of bland tasting products and tend to enjoy the ones that have a sweet taste compared to a sour or bitter taste. I sampled the Tropical, Berry and Salted Strawberry flavors. Of the three, I can honestly say flavor wise, the only one I didn't mind was the Salted Strawberry. Again, this is just my personal taste buds and preference. For me, the Tropical and Berry were not easy to swallow and I definitely wanted to wash them down quickly with fluids to remove the aftertaste. The Salted Strawberry wasn't great, but I was able to consume it with more ease. Of all the gels I've had in the past, these are definitely not the worst tasting to me, but not one I would look forward to on the regular.
As for the texture, I enjoyed it. I tend to prefer the gels that are more like a liquid texture and less like a pudding texture. I can consume them easier, they seem to work faster and they sit in my stomach better. With the SiS gels, all three were enjoyable to consume and didn't leave me with that sticking to my teeth or roof of my mouth struggle. All three had positive experiences as far as digestion and I never experienced any cramps, GI distress, etc. It's always a pleasure to be able to consume a gel that allows you to continue performing and doesn't cause issues that hinder you.
Now, what really matters in the end, is the performance of them. They can taste amazing and be a pleasure to consume, but not work or benefit you at all. In that case, what's the point of using them, right? Since each one was different, I made sure to use them on the exact same route, at the same time of day, for the same distance, just to see how they worked in similar situations. I sampled the regular gels, the caffeine gels, and the electrolyte gels. I definitely felt a difference when taking all of them.
To give you perspective, I've never felt the energy boost that many people feel. For me, I always notice that I'm just not as mentally fatigued, I'm more focused and feel less of an energy drop over time. With all three kinds, I felt a consistent result in the time between taking them and starting my run. As for during the run, I would say I felt a little more energetic with the electrolyte gels since I'm running in South Florida and sweat like crazy. As most of you know from my 100 mile race stories, caffeine products never really help me like they do for others so those produced the same result for me as the regular gels. All three would be good for me for shorter runs but I'd definitely prefer the electrolyte gels for middle to long distances.
So based on my experience trying the SiS gels, I would definitely keep using the electrolyte gels, especially for my ultra marathons. With that said, I would like to try the Lemon and Mint flavor to see if that would taste better than the Salted Strawberry. If that flavor was appealing, I would call it an overall winner. It would be a gel I enjoy consuming, trust to work with my body and trust to help me perform.
I would definitely recommend the SiS gels and encourage you to try them out as well as their other products. As always, compare their nutritional information to what works for you to make sure it's something that will provide what's known to work for you. If it doesn't and you still try it, just keep that in mind so that you judge it fairly knowing it may not help you produce the same results as your current favorite. If you do decide to try them out, you can use the code “BIBRAVE20GEL” for 20% off (not applicable to already discounted products or special offers.)