The very best mid-workout gas for endurance athletes

Any good endurance athlete knows that diet is just as important as training. If you're not properly fueled, you won't perform at your best - and even risk falling mid-race or in practice. Whether your M.O. Running, biking or swimming, this quick and easy snack or supplement should be packed with nutrients to keep you energized during a long training session. With too many options out there, just trying to find the right fuel can be tiring. Here are eight of our favorite workout energy boosters.

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1. GU Energy Gel

Designed to provide energy and essential nutrients that are lost during exercise, GU Energy Gels are one of the most convenient snacks during exercise. Available in a variety of flavors, GU Gels contain the perfect blend of complex and simple carbohydrates to help you through long workouts. They're portable and easy to eat (and digest) while moving, making them ideal for snacking on mid-race or during a workout. Pro tip: if you have trouble with the consistency, mix with some water to make it easier to swallow.

(From $10; guenergy.com)

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Try one of these snacks and supplements for your next tough endurance test.Image courtesy

2. SaltStick Capsules

It's probably ingrained in your mind that sodium is bad for you — but for endurance athletes in particular, salt is your friend. Sodium is important because it helps maintain fluid balance in the body. Salt and electrolytes are quickly lost through sweat, so it's important to replenish them during long workouts. As the name suggests, SaltStick capsules are packed with salt and electrolytes that reduce muscle cramps and increase endurance while preserving the five electrolytes (potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride) lost through sweat. Take one capsule every 30-60 minutes to maintain peak performance.

(From $13; saltstick.com)

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Try one of these snacks and supplements for your next tough endurance test.Image courtesy

3. Downwind Endurance Fuel

Tailwind's Endurance Fuel mixes with water to provide athletes with essential calories, electrolytes and hydration. Made from all-natural ingredients and natural flavors, the combination of water, fuel and electrolytes has a synergistic effect, allowing the body to absorb more of each and sustain them for longer periods of time and at higher intensities. Just mix some powder in a to-go bottle and stay fueled and hydrated during those longer workouts.

(From $2.50; tailwindnutrition.com)

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Try one of these snacks and supplements for your next tough endurance test.Image courtesy

4. Pickle Juice

It might sound gross, but if you're prone to cramps, pickle juice might be the elusive solution. Why pickle juice? It contains 10 to 15 times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks, is zero calories and zero sugar, and is packed with vitamins and minerals. Although there is no science to prove this yet, researchers believe that pickle juice is effective in stopping and preventing spasms because it triggers muscle reflexes when it hits the throat. This, in turn, prevents the misfiring of neurons that trigger spasms. If you're prone to cramps, try packing a shot of pickle juice for your next workout.

(From $20; picklepower.com)

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Try one of these snacks and supplements for your next tough endurance test.Image courtesy

5. BonkBreaker Energy Chews

BonkBreaker Energy Chews work like energy gels - they combine fast-acting carbohydrates and electrolytes to support muscle contraction. But while energy gels are traditionally eaten all at once, energy chews come in small bites and can be eaten in whatever serving the athlete needs. Packed with 240 mg of vital electrolytes and 100 mg of caffeine from all-natural white tea sources, BonkBreakers provide a much-needed boost of energy while remaining easy to digest. If you struggle with the taste or texture of energy gels, here's your chewable alternative.

($22; bonkbreaker.com)

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Try one of these snacks and supplements for your next tough endurance test.Image courtesy

6. Clif Bar

You'll be hard pressed to find a more classic trail snack than a Clif Bar. While they're not as quick to eat as some options out there, they're sufficiently filling and packed with essential nutrients, making them a great workout snack. Available in a wide range of flavors, Clif Bars blend carbohydrates, protein and fat to provide sustained energy for long workouts. Made with sustainably sourced ingredients and containing simple sugars, organic oats, plant protein, nuts, seeds and oils, Clif Bars offer a proven blend of flavor and energy.

($16; CLIFBAR.com)

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Try one of these snacks and supplements for your next tough endurance test.Image courtesy

7. Kate's Real Food energy bar

As the name suggests, Kate's Real Food energy bars are made with organic, all-natural ingredients to keep you nourished. Each bar features organic almond or peanut butter blended with organic rolled oats, brown rice chips and organic honey for a nutritious snack with flavors you'll truly recognize. Bars take a little longer to consume than gels or chews, so they're better suited for training than racing.

(From $15; katesrealfood.com)

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Try one of these snacks and supplements for your next tough endurance test.Image courtesy

8. Baby food

As strange as it may sound, baby food is becoming increasingly popular as a snack for endurance athletes. Made from simple and natural ingredients, it's packed with sugar and carbohydrates, easy enough for a baby to digest and provides fast and reliable energy for larger humans. Many brands of baby food are available in convenient on-the-go squeeze pouches that are as easy to carry as they are to eat. Also, maybe you forgot, they taste surprisingly good. You can buy squeeze pouches from various sports snack manufacturers, or just buy some from the baby food aisle at your local grocery store.

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