We were excited to sit down with Daan, one of the founders of Victus, to discuss the introduction of their new product: the 02 During Gel. This gel is going to provide a complementary option to the fueling system that serves to give athletes more options without more hassle. Check out the following Q & A style interview for more!
Q: Break down your new Gel product for us, including why you sought to create it. Was there a “need” to fill?
The gel we created is an extension of our original 02 During product, the drink mix. They both contain the exact same blend of nutrients: 343 mg of sodium and 45 grams of carbohydrates in a fast-absorbing and gut-friendly 2:1:1.5 ratio. We did that because we wanted to reduce the number of drinks and gels you need to use each hour to get adequate fueling in - so instead of having to take 3-5 gels containing 18-30 grams of carbs per unit to get in 90 grams of carbs per hour — with 02 During, you only have to use two units. And that adds up. But the question isn't just "why we created the gel", per se, but why we created 02 During.
Too often, we see athletes mixing and matching different products, different types/ratios of carbs, throwing in extra sodium tablets, and continuously looking for novelty ingredient, when they really should be focusing on keeping it simple and structured. And from a brand perspective, I get why you would offer, let’s say carbs and sodium, separately, but it’s not in the best interest of the athlete to do that. It just drives cost and makes things impractical. With 02 During, we wanted to create a no-nonsense yet highly efficient fuel and hydration system that tackles some of the most frequently seen problems: too many products to carry, managing an energy deficit, stomach/gut issues, trouble getting in large quantities of carbs per hour, sticky hands on the bike, etc.).
Both the gel and the drink mix contain 45 grams of carbohydrates and 343 mg of sodium. This way, you only have to use one or two units per hour to get to 45/90 grams of carbs and 343/686mg of sodium per hour. This drastically reduces the number of products you need to carry with you, which makes things a lot more affordable, too. This system enables people to train with the same high-quality products they use during their races – and that was our goal.
Q:Tell us about the 02 During portion of your lineup and how that can help athletes with fueling.
If you use it the way we intended it, the 02 During can have a serious impact on your performance. That has nothing to do with a magic ingredient because there isn't such a thing (nothing legal at least). Maintaining your glycogen levels during longer, more intense training sessions or races is the ticket and it has everything to do with three ingredients: carbohydrates, water, and sodium. Nothing more.
Understanding how your body processes different types of carbohydrates, and what role hydration and sodium play, enables you to optimize that aspect of your training. If you understand the interaction between the three, you can easily maintain your energy and fluid balance. Focus on that, and you’ll perform better. It really is that simple.
What makes 02 During special is the high-carb contents, the combination of three different types of carbs (maltodextrin, glucose, and fructose) and the high-sodium contents, all combined. The specific carb-ratio we use reduces the stress you're putting on the system that processes these carbs – the so-called “transporters”. In other words: it makes it much easier for your stomach to process high quantities of energy per hour and you drastically reduce the chance of gut/GI-issues – even when using 3 units per hour (135g/h). To add that many carbs and sufficient sodium in one gel, while still creating the right viscosity, was a bit of a challenge — but we’re very happy with the result.
Q: How would you suggest athletes include the O2 During Gel in training and racing to get the most out of it?
As we mentioned, it’s best used in combination with the drink mix. That way, you know you are achieving both your hydration and energy goals.
If you’re planning a short (<2hr) or low-intensity training, one 02 During (45g carbs/343mg sodium) per hour is enough - it’s more about finishing as “fresh” as you started and keeping your glycogen levels in check. For longer, high-intensity training or races, we advise using two units per hour. Ideally, you drink one drink mix evenly over the hour, and you take a gel at the 30-minute mark. That way, you are getting in 700-ish mL of water, 90 grams of carbs, and 686mg of sodium per hour. For just two units, that’s extremely effective and, equally important, wallet-friendly. For really active athletes, if you only need to use 2 gels per hour, that difference adds up over time.
We created a Fuel Guide that lays out, in detail, exactly what to use, when, and why. Currently, our in-house performance coaches work on the advice manually, but we’re working on having it automated in the near future. This makes it even easier for athletes to plan their intake. We will have that tool available at The Feed sometiem soon.
Q: Is there an interest and/or focus on elite athletes, and if so, why?
Yes, we have been focusing on high-performance and elite athletes from the start and we supply numerous professional teams and clubs around the world, and we work closely with a lot of professional performance coaches and renowned nutritionists, and they were closely involved during the development phase of all four products. We just don’t openly sponsor in this phase because we believe in a more "organic growth" as a result of word of mouth, rather than buying our way into people’s world. Our focus is on learning as much as we can and use that to further optimise our products. We do have some very interesting collaborations coming up next year, but that’s for later…