I'm fairly new to lifting in general, so please bear with me.
As an avid cyclist and runner, like many of you, I tend to have lots of GU and other sports gels ready for my longer endurance exercises. My main question is if I would physically benefit from eating a sports gel before beginning my weight lifting workout each morning.
Does anyone else have an energy gel before lifting?
Sports gels are designed to give your blood sugar a boost. That's all. They are basically just sugar. I just use them in emergency situations when my blood sugar has dropped too low, or when I can't eat anything else.
You would get the same, or more, benefit from eating a piece of toast with honey half an hour before your workout.
I thought I should add ... if you had no time for breakfast before going to the gym, a gel might be useful to boost your blood sugar and get you through the workout. Also if you were doing a long workout (2+ hours), and started not feeling too well (weak, dizzy, hungry) as you got toward the end of the workout, a gel might help boost your blood sugar and get you through to the end. So you might toss a couple into your gym bag, but in general real food is better.
I would mix you up a drink instead of either Fruit Juice / Gatroade / Milk and some Protein Powder to sip on While working out, and this will help with recovery. Just Eat some fruit en route to gym - apples, bannanas, grapes etc. Drink a coffee first if you need caffeine.
Your muscles should have enough stores so this is topping off and helping start recovery. No use working our more than 45-HR as you are then out of energy and focus.
Gels are for when you do not have real food or for convenience / portability.