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Hammer Gel from Hammer Nutrition

01 Oct

If you are heading out on a bike ride of 90 minutes or longer you need to carry some form of carbohydrates with you. I am a distance cyclist and it is very rare for me to go on a ride of under 90 minutes, so I consume one package of commercial carbohydrate gel 15 minutes before I leave home, and then another package every 30 minutes as I am riding. In addition, I normally drink one 20-ounce bottle of a sports mix every hour. My goal is to take in about 300 calories per hour while I am on the bike. There are many great commercially made carbohydrate gels on the market, but recently I have been buying a lot of Hammer Gel. While I am never going to settle on just one brand of carb gel, I think Hammer Gel is something all cyclists, runners or other endurance athletes ought to consider.

Hammer Gel

Hammer Gel

The primary ingredient in Hammer Gel is maltodextrin, a long-chain complex carbohydrate—this provides for a steady release of carbs without the “sugar rush” found in some gels. Each single-serving package (33g) has 80 to 90 calories, depending on the flavor. These gels also contain sodium and potassium in varying amounts, depending on flavor, and a small amount of Amino Acids (L-Leucine, L-Alanine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine). These gels are gluten-free, vegan friendly, MSG-free, and Kosher Certified (and delicious).

Hammer Gel is available in several flavors, including: Apple-Cinnamon, Banana, Chocolate, Espresso, Montana Huckleberry, Orange, Peanut Butter, Raspberry, Tropical, Vanilla, and Unflavored. My favorite flavor is Montana Huckleberry—it tastes a lot like blueberry (and huckleberries look a lot like blueberries). The Apple-Cinnamon and Raspberry are also great tasting, and the Tropical flavor has a bit of caffeine (25mg per serving), and the Espresso has twice that amount (50mg per serving). The only flavor I did not like was the Chocolate—it wasn’t bad, but it had a slight aftertaste.

Hammer Gel 26-Serving Jug and Flask

Hammer Gel 26-Serving Jug and 5-Ounce Flask

Individual packages of Hammer Gel sell for about $1.50 a your local bike shop, and a bit cheaper if you buy them by the box (12 packages of gel per box). As carbohydrate gels go, Hammer Gel is one of the least expensive gels on the market. However, if you really want to save some money you can skip the individual gel packs and buy a 26-serving jug for $20 (this comes out to just .77¢ per serving). You can use the gel from the jug to fill your own flask—but the Hammer Gel 5-Ounce Flask is your best bet—it is made of high-density polyethylene and has molded finger tip groves.

A few days ago I went for a Century ride (100 miles) with a couple of Hammer Gel flasks (one filled with Huckleberry and the other with Tropical gel). This flask is incredibly easy to use while on the bike—I can get the gel out faster from the flask than I ever could with a single-serving package. In addition, small packages usually spill a few drops of sticky gel into my jerseys, but the flask seals lock-tight and I didn’t spill a drop!

 
 

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25 responses to “Hammer Gel from Hammer Nutrition

  1. Wild Juggler

    October 1, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    Not a bad product, great review. Huckleberries are closely related to blueberries, they are almost the same thing which may explain why they look and taste similar.

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 1, 2013 at 9:16 PM

      I did look up huckleberries online — they look nearly identical and in a blind tastes test I don’t think I could tell them apart — but they are a different plant species.

       
  2. whybike

    October 1, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    I am a big fan of Hammer Gels. I tend to rely on the raspberry. I would not recommend the orange however as it tastes like orange tic tac flavored icing.

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 1, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      Thanks for the note about the Orange — the bike shop was out of that flavor so I couldn’t try it.

       
  3. Jason Pearlman

    October 1, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    I live on these, as they’re the only kosher gels available. Hammer and Clif are the only manufacturers producing kosher energy products, so they get a lot of business from me and other Jewish/kosher riders and racers. And yeah, they are delicious, though they flavor gets judge more off the bike when you can actually take the time to concentrate on the taste and not on the bike when you chug these things down while trying to stay upright in the paceline.

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 2, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      Two more Kosher suggestions for you: First, my favorite energy product, Honey Stinger Waffles (http://wp.me/p1sFbY-J). All Honey Stinger protein and energy bars are Kosher certified. Second, Jelly Belly Sports Beans (http://wp.me/p1sFbY-1lO). Jelly Belly Beans are Certified Kosher (Orthodox Union). I hope this gives you a few more options!

       
  4. thehomeschoolingdoctor

    October 2, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    My exercise physiology is rusty and will be for awhile while I devote reading to other things right now. Do you have to do this or do you just have a slump until the body starts burning ketones? Do you just never want to switch over to ketones? I know, I know. I ought to know. Is a piece of fruit too difficult to break down/carry/etc on a ride? And I know this is a review. So ignore the question if you want! LOL! Are there colors and preservatives in these? I ride 90 minutes and do okay. I don’t ever ride more yet.

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 2, 2013 at 10:10 PM

      I would normally feel intimidated talking to a medical doctor about nutrition, but I actually might be able to pull this one off (though I would be more comfortable talking about the rise of early civilization in the Levant).

      I’ve read your blog so I know you understand the Paleo diet (which is what I primarily follow). Burning ketones would be preferable in many sports, but in endurance sports (like distance cycling) it simply isn’t going to work because your muscle and liver glycogen stores are going to hit empty in about 90 minutes (cyclists call it “bonking” and runners call it “hitting the wall”). During high intensity exercise when you are nearing your anaerobic threshold (85% max VO2) your intestinal system basically stops functioning — which is why apples won’t do the job. In addition, out on a bike ride the last thing you want is a high-fiber food product.

      A few weeks ago I wrote a review of “The Paleo Diet For Athletes” by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel (http://wp.me/p1sFbY-1ZC). As I said in the review, “The biggest difference between the normal Paleo Diet and the Paleo Diet For Athletes is the use of carb gels before, during and after exercise.” Several times the authors mention that they made a mistake in earlier books by recommending that athletes try to get by with just fruit during their exercise. In my case, for example, they would recommend that I consume a 100-calorie pack of carb gel 10 minutes before my bike ride, then 300 calories of gels and/or sports drinks per hour during the ride, followed by 600 calories of carbohydrates within 30 minutes after the ride (along with protein powder). For the record, my average bike ride is three to four hours long and I’m not exactly the slowest cyclist on the road.

      One more note about ketones that I think you will find very interesting. Last week I read “Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was A Cure?” by Mary T. Newport, M.D. She is a neonatologist whose husband developed early-onset Alzheimer’s.

      Researchers have discovered that neurons in certain areas of the brain in Alzheimer’s disease are unable to use glucose — but they do respond well with ketones since they are transported into cells by a different mechanism than glucose. The bottom line is that if she keeps her husband in ketosis his mental acuity is greatly improved. In fact, his Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) showed a major improvement once he went into ketosis and was fed coconut oil (a medium chain fatty acid) three times a day.

       
      • thehomeschoolingdoctor

        October 3, 2013 at 7:16 AM

        Thank you for the great reply with lots of great info and leads for me! “Bonking”–who would have known? I’m glad I can say that I did read your review last week! Thanks so much for the Dr. Newport story. I will check that out. I have been following with great interest regarding Alzheimer’s being a “metabolic disease”–a disease like diabetes–what you mentioned could back that up in real action! I have a dear medical school friend with a family history of early dementia who I’ve been sending links to. I have also followed Georgia Edes, MD blog about ketosis. As a medical doctor, I was trained to believe that ketosis was “bad” and “dangerous.” Obviously certain kinds are. But, clearly, the body can manage quite well with ketosis, and perhaps thrive! Nutrition is HUGE, and I think can be manipulated for each individual to help them feel better, function better, and alleviate some illnesses–but would they change? Changing gears just a bit–thanks for the no fruit on a ride explanation. I understood that. Makes sense. However, what if your wall is 2 or 3 hours? Perhaps you wouldn’t need the “gels.” Or–what if you lived on ketogenic diet already, and your body was already in ketogenesis so you never reached the wall? I’m sure there are stories out there on this, and I could Google it. But I’m still working through my reading list of things that apply to me! And as my ride is only 90 minutes, and I AM the slowest biker on the trail, this is only curiosity. Gracious, got to go look up Levant. Thanks.

         
        • All Seasons Cyclist

          October 3, 2013 at 7:26 PM

          My father has Alzheimer’s and I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject during the past few years. I do believe it is a “metabolic disease” (or, as some physicians now call it, “Type 3 Diabetes”). The best book I’ve read on the connection between glucose/ketones and diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and MS is “Stop Alzheimer’s Now” by Bruce Fife, N.D.

          If you are looking for an in-depth book on sports nutrition, I would suggest “Sports Nutrition For Endurance Athletes” by Monique Ryan. The book made me wish I’d paid more attention in biology class! I’m sure you can breeze through the book rather quickly — but I kept getting bogged down because it was so in-depth (which is why I bought it in the first place).

          The bottom line for me is that I burn about 1,050 calories an hour while riding, and usually ride for at least three hours (and sometimes up to seven hours straight). At the speed I ride I’d “bonk” in far less than the 90 minute time-frame (90 minutes is usually considered the make or break point for needed extra carbs in endurance sports).

           
        • thehomeschoolingdoctor

          October 4, 2013 at 6:49 AM

          Thank you for the book referrals. (And I hope I didn’t ever come across as doubting if you needed something while riding! I never do anything that’s too painful so it’s out of my realm completely!) (And I’m sorry about your father. AD robs.) But I am happy that you started your blog, and I am looking forward to that finished winter riding so I can plan on that next winter!

           
  5. tlsylvan

    October 2, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    I love love love the Montana Huckleberry! I love all things huckleberry actually :)

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 2, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      “All things huckleberry”? I didn’t know that anything else came in Hucklebery (seriously).

       
      • tlsylvan

        October 2, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        What?! No way! If you go to Wyoming or Montana in the summer, everything is huckleberry! Ice cream, pies, wine, baked goods… Worth every calorie.

         
        • All Seasons Cyclist

          October 2, 2013 at 5:47 PM

          Sounds like it’s time to plan a vacation out west for next year!

           
  6. Brittany

    October 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    I just started using these (I still also like Gu’s), but I think I might have to try the flask soon – the big bottle seems convenient! I also like the berry & apple cinnamon flavors the best, kind of a nice tart flavor as opposed to too much sweet!

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 2, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      Apple & Cinnamon certainly brightens up a long ride — nice crisp taste. The those big 26-serving bottles will save you a lot of cash!

       
  7. rpmx2

    October 3, 2013 at 4:47 AM

    Sounds like the perfect gel for the Hammer Time Power Puff Girl! ;)

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 3, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      I don’t know if they have a distributor in “Townsville, USA” :)

       
  8. cyclistatthemovies

    October 3, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    I am certainly going to try these. Your post made me curious. Thanks.

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 3, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      They are certainly one of the better gels on the market (both in content and taste).

       
  9. Fred

    October 3, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Awesome info you gave to thehomeschoolingdoctor!

     
  10. Fred

    October 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Hammer gel or Gu, right before you workout! I keep some in my boot at the fire house. If we get a confirmed working fire I pop off a shot and chug water while we are driving to the job. Then I usually pop off another shot when we go back outside to change our tanks. Good stuff.

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 3, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      Just don’t forget to take some water with the gel on your way to the truck — otherwise the gel basically sits in the stomach longer than you want — water helps get it into your system.

       
  11. Fitnesstroop

    October 14, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Reblogged this on Fitnesstroop.

     

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