Complex carbs are not necessarily better than simple carbs. Don’t pay extra for sustained energy or long-lasting energy claims.
You don’t need to use your sports fuel every day. In fact, you probably only need it once a week at the most. Start out with none and see how you feel. Don’t be afraid to bonk in training in the name of learning more about your body. Add sports nutrition in incremental doses until you get to the point where you are eating enough to sustain energy but not so much that you get stomach upset or consume more than you burn.
Consider convenience. If you are training for a long race and will need a supply of nutrition over the course of many months, consider how widely available your preferred nutrition is. Do you have to order it online or can you find it at a gas station?
Start simple and cheap and add more price or complexity if the simple and cheap doesn’t work. Simple and cheap might mean a bag of skittles, a handful of raisins, or a banana. More complex might mean sports gels or bars with caffeine, protein, or amino acids.
Taste. If you like the taste, you will eat it. Remember, sports nutrition cannot perform miracles – and you don’t need it to. Your body is capable of performing an amazing amount of work without these highly processed supplements. Let your body show you what it can do before you look for supplements.