It is hard to get used to styling products. You don't have to use them. And, no they don't have to be gummy or heavy, unless you are into that sort of thing.
Every product has a different amount of gummyness and weight, and that varies for the same product with how much you use, the weather, the current condition and properties of your hair, and whatever else you have on your hair. Some people only use a pea sized amount of product, might be good to start there and move up if needed.
There are a lot of folks who don't like producty feel or get weighted down easily. If you are one too, you might search for posts with the key word = easily weighed down, producty, etc..
What gel are you using? If you are very specific, you might get some responses by other users of the same stuff. If you post your hair properties (in your signature would be good, just say "best guess" if not sure), and list what you are looking for (something that does not weigh down, not producty, etc.) I bet you'll get some good recs. Also ask how much people use if they have the same hair properties as you.
Oh, yeah, you might have product build up. You might benefit from doing an ACV rinse, lowpoo, etc., and start up with a lighter hand.
Very interesting articles that will answer many of your questions: Curl Whisperer on Curly Nikki