>> Saturday, February 06, 2010
Let’s cut to the chase. Here’s the real issue: “Regular” Gu is about $1.35 / packet, and Roctane Gu is about twice that ($2.50 / packet). Is it worth it?
I asked for some info from Gu, and they sent me a very official write-up with medical references. (There were 26 references for a 1.5 page write-up.) Here’s how it started:
Roctane is GU Sports’ new, high-performance energy gel that utilizes a similar formulation to our original GU Energy Gel, but with significantly higher concentrations of amino acids and citrates. Roctane also utilizes an amino acid complex – Ornithine Alpha-Ketaglutarate (OKG).
Roctane has been in use as a nutritional research tool with in-house and sponsored elite athletes over the past seven years to test new ideas for improving athletic performance and recovery. We have utilized third-party scientific studies and our own practical feedback from athletes in a variety of sports.
They go on to write about key ingredients in Roctane. Here’s my take on the “science-talk” that they have in there:
• Higher levels of Histidine (by 3 times) to encouraging the biosynthesis of buffering proteins, to help with muscle fatigue and metabolic acidosis.
• Higher levels of citrates (by 2.5 to 3 times) to basically give you more energy.
• Higher levels of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs - Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine [by 3 times]) to promote protein synthesis and it “may delay the onset of central fatigue by blocking the tryptophan transport into the brain, thus limiting the production of serotonin.” This basically fights off the feeling of fatigue and keeps you alert and focused.
• Amino acid complex that’s NOT in regular Gu. It blocks the body’s entrance into a destructive catabolic process.
And sorry if this part gets too boring, but it’s better to have too much information than too little (right?). Here are their closing comments on these thoughts above:
The benefits of these ingredient groups can be summarized as improved muscle buffering by mitigating the effects of lactic acid build up; more efficient energy production and better recovery through decreased exercise-induced muscle damage; and greater mental focus through delayed onset of central fatigue. These characteristics allow the athlete to perform at a higher intensity for a longer period of time.
Roctane does not contain the vitamin C or vitamin E that is in original GU in order to make room for the additional volume of ingredients in Roctane. Since it is fairly easy to obtain your daily recommended intake of vitamins C and E by ingesting one or more packets of original GU, we removed them in favor of accommodating the added OKG and other increased concentrations of ingredients which are beneficial on those really hard days. If you are concerned about getting enough antioxidants, we suggest including a packet of original GU in addition to Roctane as a part of your nutrition program during intense training and racing.
With the exception of OKG, the original GU formula contains each of the beneficial citrates and amino acids mentioned above. It is the increased concentrations of these ingredients, and thus the enhanced level and efficiency of their benefits, along with the addition of OKG, which sets Roctane apart as the maximum performance gel for serious endurance athletes.
OK, OK... but, DOES IT WORK?
I used Rotane during all my races after about the Apple Duathlon in May of last year. It’s expensive and (in my opinion) unnecessary to use during regular workouts. I still use regular Gu during longer rides or runs when I need some calories, but I save the Roctane for pre-race and during the race.
Roctane Gu: Grade of B+ / A-. I’m cheap, and Roctane is a little expensive. Roctane could move into an “A” or “A+” if it got cheaper (but didn’t sacrifice quality [yes, I know I’m demanding!]). But that being said, I’ll still ALWAYS grab a Roctane or 2 for a race and keep the regular Gu for routine workouts. I think it DOES work in the way that they describe it above. Really. I feel like I’ve had a increase in the time it takes for me to feel fatigued while racing this year. And BTW, the flavors are GREAT - I love the Blueberry Pomegranate.
Have you tried Roctane? Do you think it’s “better” than regular Gu? Click on the “Does It Work” tag to see all posts in this mini-series. Happy weekend!!
Reminder: BIG GIVEAWAY NEWS ON MONDAY!