The What and Why of Intra-Workout Supplementation
When it comes to pre and post workout supplementation, many will say that they have their personal routines covered. It’s intra-workout supplementation that can be a little confusing to some, as it isn’t necessarily a particularly developed category. In this post, we will cover anything and everything you need to know on how to supplement, during your workouts, for maximum results.
What Does an Intra-Workout Supplement Do?
For starters, we are honing in on the supplements that you take in during your workout, to boost your performance. Unlike a pre or post workout supplement, you sip at an intra workout supplement slowly and throughout your training session, in order to keep your body fueled with essential nutrients over the duration of the workout.
When you work out, you are essentially creating a protein deficit in the body, as weight training and muscular hypertrophy breaks down muscle tissue via micro-tears. The longer your training session, the larger the protein deficit becomes. This can clearly put the body in a catabolic state, if the muscles aren’t properly fueled. That’s where the intra-workout excels. The function of an intra workout supplement is to provide your body with rapidly absorbed and readily available resources, to ensure maximum anabolism and minimum catabolism of the muscles. Proper intra workout supplementation will not only maximize your gains, but improve your recovery.
What’s in an Intra Workout?
Depending on your goals, you will want to consider supplements that contain the following ingredients in your intra-workout drink:
Branch Chain Amino Acids / Essential Amino Acids - Besides supporting endurance and promoting recovery, BCAAs and EAAs prevent muscle breakdown during hard (or long) training sessions. Amino acids will fuel the muscles, preserve glycogen stores, and ultimately reduce protein breakdown.
Leucine - One of the branch chain amino acids, leucine has been empirically shown to increase strength performance in individuals.
Taurine - Another amino acid, taurine has been shown to increase endurance during hard workouts.
Caffeine - A natural energizer, a steady stream of caffeine in small quantities can keep you both energized and focused.
Electrolytes - Essential to a variety of bodily functions and rapidly excreted through sweat, it is essential to replenish electrolyte stores as you work out. Sodium and potassium are two of the big ones.
Carbohydrates - While great for both energy and muscle building for those seeking to add mass, quick carbs like glucose and dextrose will sadly “turn off” your body’s ability to use stored fat for energy. Only use these if you are in a building phase.
Nail your intra-workout supplementation to nail your workouts and gains, period.