What are Intraworkout Supplements?
You may have heard people talking about intra-workout supplements, or seen someone at your gym sipping on a shaker cup filled with some type of colored liquid while they train. So what exactly is an intra-workout supplement and why do people take it? An intra-workout supplement is something you take during your workout in order to maximize your performance while you train or compete. Unlike a pre- or post-workout supplement, an intra-workout is not consumed immediately and is instead slowly consumed throughout a training session or competition in order to keep the body fueled with certain nutrients over a period of time. If you are already using a pre-workout supplement as well as something to maximize your recovery after your workout, adding an intra-workout supplement just may be the piece of the puzzle you are looking for to help take your training to the next level.
Here are some key elements you should look for in an intra-workout supplement to get the most bang for your buck.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) have been used by top bodybuilders and other athletes for years due to BCAAs’ ability to support training endurance and recovery! BCAAs are comprised of three powerful amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. When you train hard, your body produces cortisol in response to the stress being put on your body. Rising cortisol levels will speed up the breakdown of muscle tissue in your body and convert the released amino acids into glucose (carbohydrate) to fuel the intense training. If you want to combat muscle tissue catabolism during hard training, you need to fuel your body with BCAAs so you can focus on building muscle, not breaking it down! Most high-quality intra-workouts will contain BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio to help fuel skeletal muscles, preserve muscle glycogen stores and reduce protein breakdown.
Leucine is one of the branched chain amino acids discussed above. You should always look for an intra-workout supplement that has at least 4g of leucine per max serving if you want to get the real benefits of this powerful amino acid. In a clinical study that used a dose of 4g of leucine, it was shown to help subjects increase their 5-rep max strength by over 40% in 12 weeks! Using leucine during your workout might be just what you need to increase your strength performance!
An important part of workout performance is endurance. A good intra-workout supplement should have something to support your endurance levels. An example of an endurance-boosting nutrient is the amino acid taurine. A 1g dose of taurine has been clinically shown to improve athletic performance in endurance athletes. Make sure you are getting a full 1g dose per serving, so you aren’t holding yourself back from having results-producing, intense workouts!
Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes affect many important factors, like the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), and your muscle function. Electrolytes are lost when you sweat and you need to replenish them. Two key electrolytes are sodium and potassium. During intense exercise, both of these are quickly reduced in the body and should be replenished. Look for an intra-workout that supplies you with electrolytes, so you can continue to perform at your best over time!
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