An innovative new product now gives you a more calculated way to fuel during a workout or race: FuelStrip Custom Sports Energy ($12 for starter pack of three bags of chews and two vials of tester strips, Fuelstrip.com).
FuelStrip has designed tester strips that, when moistened by sweat, change color, depending on your level of glycogen depletion—as in, whether you’re burning glycogen (good), fat (OK) or muscle (bad!) during a workout. Orange indicates a full tank, yellow is a ¾ tank, green is half a tank and blue is a quarter tank. You then refer to the color-coded key on the outside of the FuelChew package for how many energy chews to take (between one and four). Each 10-gram chew contains 7.5 grams of carbs, plus the four key electrolytes, and comes in a very palatable, gummy-like mixed berry flavor.
The strips are meant to be used every 15 to 30 minutes during a workout, and are a great tool for newbie endurance athletes who want to educate themselves on how to fuel effectively and what glycogen depletion feels like. The biggest drawback to the strips is having to pause to open the vial during workouts where you don’t have two free hands (e.g. cycling), so FuelStrips might not be ideal for every triathlon workout, but it may be worth the trouble if you’re struggling to dial in your nutrition.