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The best energy gels for Ultra-Trail

Discover the new Näak energy gels designed for ultra-trail running!

Why are our energy gels the best for ultra-trail running? Because they were developed with our professional athletes from UTMB and Western States!

Should you eat energy gels during an ultra-trail race? The answer is yes, but not just any gels and not at any time! Indeed, nutrition is the key to a successful ultra-trail, and this is why we have developed, with our professional athletes, a Ultra Energy™ Gel perfectly adapted to the specificities of ultra-distance running.

How ? To summarize, without revealing the keys given in the article below, we have: listened to the advice of our pro athletes; provided carbohydrates, but not only; combined simple and complex sugars; focused on responsible ingredients, a semi-liquid texture and delicate flavors.

Profits ? Gentle energy and digestive comfort throughout your race, without hypoglycemia, stomach aches or nausea!

To discover this Ultra Energy™ Gel on which we have been working with our pro ultra-trailers, at the Näak Lab for almost 2 years, and to taste the little bombs of energy, naturalness and deliciousness that accompanied Mathieu Blanchard, Marianne Hogan or Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon during their performance at UTMB and Western States, click here !


Our new Ultra Energy™ Gel was born from an observation: there are many energy gels on the market, but none that truly meet the specific needs of ultra-trailers.

Grégoire Guyot, director and head chef of Näak Lab, explains: "We have condensed the science ofUltra Energy™ Gel in a gel format, to provide long-lasting energy to trail and ultra-trail runners. Indeed, most traditional energy gels only contain carbohydrates, more precisely simple sugars. "

This traditional composition can lead to intestinal problems as well as spikes in blood sugar, the rebound of which manifests itself as drops in energy. You've probably heard it before: "Energy gels are not recommended for ultra-trail running because they cause hypoglycemia and stomach problems." It's wrong ! The truth is that the energy gels mentioned were not suitable.

Grégoire Guyot bounces back: “Our idea is to remedy this by developing the first energy gel suitable for ultra-trail running! This Ultra Energy™ Gel offers more complete nutrition specifically adapted to long-distance races!”


What makes our energy gel unique on the market and specifically suitable for ultra-trailers is above all its composition:

1/ The key lies in the combination of simple and complex sugars that our energy gels provide. In fact, of the 27 g of carbohydrates contained in our Ultra Energy™ Gel:

14 g come from simple & fast sugars (7 g of fructose & 7 g of glucose) from maple syrup.

13 g comes from longer & more complex carbohydrates (11 g maltodextrin & 2 g sunflower).

This is essential to maintain a constant blood sugar intake, without energy cuts or digestion problems.

2/ Our energy gels contain the essential "carbohydrates", the body's preferred fuel: 27 g per gel, the highest average on the market. Carbohydrates but not only! Carbohydrates are important in ultra-trail running, but they are not the only effective source of energy. Fats and proteins also play a crucial role. This is why at Näak we prefer to talk about calories rather than carbohydrates.

The 9 g of lipids contained in each of our gels help stabilize blood sugar levels, thus ensuring the progressive and continuous energy sought by ultra-distance runners.

The 2 grams of natural proteins, including 235 mg of BCAAs provided by pea proteins and sunflower seeds, help to reduce muscle fatigue during exercise.

3/ Finally, the 420 mg of electrolytes contained in our energy gels - a blend of micronutrients including potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium - help reduce muscle fatigue during exercise.


The composition was one of the key points on which we worked with Mathieu Blanchard, Marianne Hogan or Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon during this 2-year process. But it was not the only one: four elements make our Ultra Energy™ Gel little bombs of calories, naturalness and taste, perfectly suited to ultra-trail running:

1/ Their semi-liquid texture, for better absorption and assimilation. Thanks to this texture, our energy gels are neither gelatinous nor sticky.

2/ The presence of caffeine provides an extra boost to stay awake at night on an ultra-trail, or after several hours of running.

3/ Their delicate taste. With their salted maple or chocolate taste, our energy gels are not neutral, but created to be subtle enough to avoid the feeling of nausea that can occur over the miles.

4/ Their eco-responsible dimension, since they are made from recycled maple syrup. Made from 37% recycled ingredients, our new energy gels are the most responsible on the market*.


One of the keys to Näak Science is to integrate our Näak Pro Team into our product development process. Their quest for performance is at the heart of our innovation approach and gives us a competitive advantage. If we designed these energy gels, it's because our professional athletes asked us to do so to get on the podiums of the UTMB, the Western States, and all the biggest ultra-trails on the planet.

We asked three questions to Arthur Joyeux Bouillon double top 10 at UTMB, member of the Näak Pro Team, and fully involved in the development of our energy gel for 2 years - and Adam Peterman, new athlete of the Näak Pro Team, convinced that these Gels will be a major ally in winning the Western States in 2024 after his victory in 2022, followed by a blank year in 2023 due to a stress fracture.

What role do you play in the development of Näak products? Why do you think it is important to include professional athletes in the innovation process?

Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon: I joined the Näak team two years ago, motivated by the opportunity to co-create sports nutrition products that suit me perfectly thanks to the Näak Lab. Energy gels are a good example: I ran my first UTMB (7th place, in 2022) with the first version of the prototype. I immediately felt its potential. Two years later, we have a very refined gel that I am proud of! My involvement was total. I find it very relevant that Näak listens to his Pro Team because professional athletes often push the boundaries of product development, seeking marginal gains and pushing products to their limits.

Adam Peterman: I arrived recently, but I was immediately attracted by Näak's commitment to integrating us into the innovation process. They understand how crucial nutrition is for us and want to put us in the best conditions to perform. I love when they ask us, “What are the ideal products you would like to see added to the line?” And I like even more to imagine that the products I dream of could exist thanks to the Näak Lab!

What are the criteria for a good energy gel for ultra-trail?

Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon: I see 4 non-negotiable criteria for creating a complete energy gel for ultra-trail running. First of all, the weight-calorie ratio: the product must provide a maximum of calories while being as light as possible. Then, it's about finding the right taste and texture: a gel that you know you can consume for several hours without ever feeling nauseous. This involves flavors: Salted Maple which I will never get tired of, and Chocolate which provides the benefits of caffeine without the intestinal discomfort of coffee. The combination of sugars used, between fast sugars and complex sugars, is also crucial to facilitate assimilation and provide sustained energy without hypoglycemia. Finally, the naturalness of the ingredients used is very important to me: Näak has banned processed products and opts for example for recycled maple syrup as a "sweetener". I find this wonderful!

Adam Peterman: For me, a good gel for ultra-trail running is an energy gel that is easy to digest, gentle on the stomach, with a tasty taste that the brain still craves after several hours of running. It must also provide the right combination of nutrients, that is, not only carbohydrates, but also fats, proteins and electrolytes!

How do you incorporate these energy gels into your nutrition plans for an ultra-trail race?

Adam Peterman: My perfect combo for ultra-trail running, whether racing or training, is one bottle of Drink Mix and one Ultra Energy™ Gel per hour! This provides 450 calories and 80g of carbohydrates per hour. It's a pretty simple and intuitive nutrition plan that I've tried to implement during training on my long runs for gut training, and which I'll try to follow in my next goal, the Canyons Endurance Runs of the UTMB.

Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon: Näak Ultra Energy™ Gel is the centerpiece of my nutrition plan for the second half of an ultra-trail race. In the first half, I prioritize Energy Bars as well as Drink Mixes as long as I can chew and digest solid foods. Then I switch to semi-liquid options around the middle of the race. During the UTMB, starting in Courmayeur, I switched to Drink Mix and Ultra Energy™ Gel, aiming for around 400 calories per hour. I have never experienced a drop in energy or stomach issues using this approach - it has always worked well for me!

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