A gel that promises to be packed full of high-performance ingredients to provide both quick and sustained energy to keep you going all day long.
An excellent gel to have readily available for your longer races.
Here we go. Another review on a nutritional product. We are writing this review based on our personal experiences and use of this product. Just because it worked or didn't work with us, doesn't mean it will do the same for you. It is also important to mention that we do not hold a degree in nutrition or chemistry or the like. We are simply avid triathletes that have tested almost every nutritional product out there in many environments. So, with that as our informal disclaimer, let's talk about GU Roctane.
We are going to be honest here, as we are in all reviews, it had been a while since we had used GU products. But throughout this year, after a suggestion from a fellow athlete, we found ourselves using GU Roctane more and more for 70.3 and Ironman distance races. We have found that it is a nice compliment to your liquid calories during the bike leg of the race and occasionally have opted for it on the run leg.
So, what exactly is Roctane? How is it different from regular GU? What makes it more expensive than regular GU? These were a few of the many questions we asked before deciding to give Roctane a try during this racing season.
GU has a pretty nice analogy on their website that describes how they view GU vs GU Roctane:
"Original GU is like premium unleaded - it'll power the most sophisticated engines on the planet with no problem. Roctane is our high-octane, racing-grade unleaded. It burns hotter and stronger and will keep an engine running near red-line all day long."
Yes, we agree, that is some pretty clever marketing jargon. But, it also simply explains the difference between the two products. So, what makes Roctane like a "high-octane" fuel? The ingredients look fairly similar:
The key differences from above are:
- The amino blends are are different in each gel
- Roctane has the magic Omithine Aplha-Ketoglutarate
- The antioxidant blend of Vitamin E and C is not present in Roctane
So, what sets the Roctane Amino Blend apart from GU? Well, actually it is the exact same blend as the GU Amino Blend except with a lot more (1220mg) of the four ingredients (Histidine, Leucine, Valine, Isoleucine).
But, GU claims it is the combination of the increased amino blend with their other amino complex, Omithine Aplha-Ketoflutarate (say that 10 times). OKG supposedly buffers the catabolic process, or slows the body from breaking down muscle. (We have no way to prove this, but felt it was important to mention while examining the ingredients)
Lastly, GU claims the Vitamin E and Vitamin C have been removed from Roctane in order to make room for the additional amino blends and increased concentrations of other ingredients. While we have heard of studies that show these antioxidants might help in the absorption of important nutrients, GU simply suggests getting your antioxidants from other sources.
Here is a look at side by side nutritional information for GU and GU Roctane:
Some important points from comparing the nutritional information:
- Roctane has 5g more of Total Carbs
- Roctane has 85mg more Sodium
- Roctane of course contains the enhanced Amino Blend and OKG
- Lastly, Roctane has 35mg of caffeine compared 20mg of the GU flavors that do contain caffeine.
On that item above. Most energy gels with caffeine range from 20-50mg. Since we don't experience any of the negative effects of caffeine, we would love GU to push their caffeine to 50mg or even take a step forward and go to 75mg.
So, that is a lot of information on a little 100 calorie package of gel. But hopefully it is a little easier to understand why Roctane is categorized as "high-octane" fuel.
We can't show you how to justify the extra expense of Roctane, but we do feel it is worth the price. This is easy for us to say because we are not using Roctane as our primary caloric source while racing, so we don't require as much.
Roctane is currently available in 5 flavors: Chocolate Raspberry, Blueberry Pomegranate, Vanilla Orange, Cherry Lime and Pineapple. While they are all fairly tasty, we seem to lean towards Blueberry Pomegranate and Cherry Lime.
After many different trials, we have determined that our favorite use for Roctane is on the bike for 70.3 and Ironman races. We take 1 Roctane for each hour we expect to be on the bike. (generally 2 for 70.3 and 4 for 140.6) Towards the end of each hour, consuming 1 Roctane is a nice change from the liquid electrolyte calories and provides just a little bit of satisfaction from ingesting 100 calories of goodness.
TriBomb Bottom Line
GU Roctane has been a magic addition to supplement our bag of caloric tricks. We have found it to be especially useful in the two-wheeled portion of longer events.