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How To Make Your Own Energy Gels & Bars For Endurance Training

by Alexandra Parren
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endurance athlete running marathon

If you're an endurance athlete, you'll know how expensive it can be to buy countless energy gels and bars for long training rides, runs, and races. A great alternative is to make your own, as this is more economically sustainable and also means you know exactly what is going into them.

Trail Mix

One of the easiest things to make for an endurance event is trail mix. As is hinted in the name, trail mix was originally developed for long hikes as a source of energy which is easy to make and suitable for carrying long distances. The great thing about trail mix is you can put whatever you like best into it and leave out anything you don't like.

Trail mix is usually made up on granola, oats, nuts, seeds, and even chocolate. If you want more protein, add more seeds and nuts into your mix. If you feel you need a larger sugar boost, add more chocolate, and if you feel you need lots of carbs to keep you going, bulk out your recipe with more granola and oats.

There is no right or wrong way to make trail mix, and tasty additions can include dried coconut curls, banana chips and dried fruit.

trail mix hiking outdoors endurance activity

Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Another easily portable and tasty snack to keep you fuelled on a long endurance trip is a granola bar. Branded bars can set you back quite a lot even though they're easy to make, so why not make you're own? Try our homemade no-bake granola bar recipe for your next run or ride.


  • 100g oats
  • 30g butter
  • 25g sugar
  • 50g honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g flaked almonds
  • 30g raisins
  • 20g chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4.
  • Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with baking parchment leaving about an inch sticking over the top.
  • Put the oats and almonds on a small baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring them around occasionally. Put to one side.
  • Combine the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Stir occasionally until the butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.
  • Pour the butter mixture into a bowl and add the toasted oats and almonds. Mix well.
  • Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes then stir in the raisins and half the chocolate chips.
  • Transfer the mixture to the lined pan and press down so it's even. 
  • Scatter the remaining chocolate chips over over the mixture and gently press them into the top.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.
  • Pull the baking parchment up so that the block of granola comes out of the tin in one piece then slice into bars.
  • Store bars in an airtight container for up to one week. If you prefer soft bars, keep them at room temperature or for slightly harder bars, store them in the fridge.

homemade granola bars trail mix sugar energy

Energy Gel Recipe

If you prefer something less bulky and solid for your training, then energy gels are for you. Making your own is easier than you'd think and can save a lot of money!


  • 130g brown rice syrup (this can be expensive, but there are cheaper versions available in most supermarkets)
  • 70g barley malt syrup (again, opt for the ones you find in the supermarket)
  • 35g coconut oil
  • 35g smooth peanut butter (make sure it's an organic version with no sugar, salt, or palm oil added)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 60 ml hot water


  1. Place a glass jar in a saucepan then fill the saucepan with water so the jar is a little more than half immersed.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients except for the hot water and put them in the jar.
  3. Warm the mixture over a medium-low heat, stirring frequently until it’s runny and well combined. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the hot water to the jar, stir, and shake vigorously until well combined and no separation occurs. Allow to cool completely
  5. Fill gel containers as needed for workouts.
  6. Store extra gel in the jar with a lid in a cool, dry place.

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