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How Often?

Running a sports nutrition company for endurance athletes the question we get asked at 33Shake more than any other is: ‘how often should I take a gel?’ Which I completely get – it was the question I asked the most when I was trying to dial my nutrition as I started running ultras eight years ago.


How often should I take a gel?


What they are really asking…


What athletes are really trying to unlock when they ask this question is The Holy Grail, the one perfect nutrition schedule that will allow them to nail their race goals now and forever more.

Look at it logically and you’ll see how daft this idea is. The weather changes, race distances, speeds and conditions change, race location around the globe changes, as do the times of day (and night) races are held. Heck, we even change ourselves from year to year and even hour to hour, and all this is before we start factoring in individual differences in size, shape, speed and gender between the seven billion-plus of us inhabiting this crazy planet.

Yet among this insanely ever-changing landscape with its endless permutations for personal preference, performance and needs, otherwise smart and educated athletes still expect that there’s one nutrition plan out there for everyone that once found, can be set and forgotten. Job done, nutrition sorted.

If only they could just find it all would be well.


Ludicrous doesn’t come close.

Don’t laugh at them…


But before we laugh at how stupid these folks must be, let’s take a minute. Because they’re not stupid at all, they’ve simply been incredibly well brainwashed by the powerful marketing onslaught of the big sports nutrition companies.

Every single one of these companies heavily promotes the idea that perfect nutrition for endurance performance is as simple as ingesting their prescribed balance of products, in the correct order and variety and all will be perfect. And when we look at these plans what do we see?

They all involved ingesting a TON of product. And the recommendations only go one way as time goes on. They increase. Always backed up by a ‘latest study’ from a sports science lab which, when you look a little deeper, turns out to be funded by one or more of the major companies selling these products.

In one way you have to hand it to the companies involved, it is a killer business model after all. Need to raise profits fast to please shareholders? Then just cook up a study and tell your customers to consume more. They’ll do it!

Trouble is, this approach is also cynical, manipulative and damaging beyond belief.

Capitalism of course is a fine thing, but when it’s abused like this then, as we’d say in England, it’s not cricket. Or as you may say across the pond there in the US, it sucks.

Follow the rules and what happens?


Because when athletes follow these guidelines, what happens?

They get sick, they bonk, they blow up, they suffer stomach issues, they force down product they increasingly dislike, their energy levels bounce up and down uncontrollably and their races and performances suffer.


The tough world of endurance is made tougher, and they’re paying for the privilege.


Beyond these race day maladies, the longterm health benefits of pouring down these products in such volume are even worse.

The takeaway here is scheduled nutrition plans do not exist to serve athletes. They exist solely to serve the companies selling product.

It’s why I’ll be back for part 2 of this piece to give you the one simple trick that will unlock a bombproof nutrition plan that will work for anyone, in any race, anywhere in the world. It’s crazy how tiny this one small attitude change is, but it’s even crazier the results you will get from it.

Unlike the rest of the industry, at 33Shake we’ll never do scheduled nutrition plans, because we believe athletes deserve much better. We were so disgusted with how poorly athletes were (and are) being treated by sports nutrition companies that we invented our own products and went into business to make a stand and do athletes justice. We began four years ago in our kitchen and today 33Shake is on sale in 25 countries worldwide – seems folks like what we’re doing and we’re not stopping any time soon!

See you next time!

2016-05-22 16.38.31Warren Pole should know a thing or two about the difference between crap ingredients and good ones, he has spent the last few years of his life perfecting his healthy gels with 33Shake.  We have partnered with the 33shake team because we love good products, good people, and small business!

Learn how to support Becoming Ultra and 33Shake HERE,

OR, just use the code beultra33shake at checkout for 10% off at 33 Shake.


Scott is the founder of Becoming Ultra and spends most of his time with his family and ideas to get people moving!