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The Birth of Intra-Workout Supplements

This is a relatively new class of supplementation, which started in late 2008 with the release of BSN’s Volumaize. There is, however more supplements in this category that will assist you to get the most out of your training. During, or ‘intra’ workout supplements help to control body temperature and supply ATP to working muscles during exercise, resulting in physiological and metabolic changes, such as a counteracting decline in performance and fatigue. The severity of these declines will be reduced with appropriate nutrient intervention. Like with pre-workouts, you want to enhance nutrient delivery to the working muscles, and assist with faster recovery for when the workout is over.1,2 Nutrient supplementation during exercise improves your workout and assists your recovery later on. At this stage, water will help replenish fluid, but consumption of a carbohydrate/protein formula would be far more effective.3

High GI Carbs Help Trainers & Bodybuilders

Generally speaking, high-glycaemic carbohydrates are a bad nutritional choice because they cause insulin spikes and subsequent blood sugar crashes. This results in greater fatigue and can also trigger hunger and over eating. However, at this particular time, their powerful effect on insulin also makes high glycaemic sugars valuable during and immediately after exercise. They not only provide energy, but also, through their action on insulin, enhance your anabolic state. These benefits are best achieved when combined in the proper ratio with protein.4

Ingredients in Intra-Workout Supplements

Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source for anaerobic exercise. During intense, short duration training such as heavy resistance training, the body gets its energy form the muscle glycogen. This comes from carbohydrate consumption. If you are low in carbohydrate, you will have trouble completing a heavy, intense workout. A carbohydrate drink containing mostly simple sugar provides immediate energy and can be consumed during a workout to assist replenishment of glycogen stores.5 Fortunately, rather than trying to make your own intra-training drink, there is a range of complete and pre-formulated bodybuilding supplements on the market today to help you during your workout. These drinks include fast-acting hydrolysed protein and a highly specialised carbohydrate blend for immediate absorption, electrolytes, branched chain and essential amino acid compounds, creatine, and high-molecular weight glycogen replenishing polymers. Beta-alanine is included to increase power output and anaerobic endurance. L-Histidine is included to acts as an antioxidant protecting against radiation damage by helping to remove heavy metals from the body. It stimulates the secretion of gastric juices; therefore helping with digestion.

Intra-Workout Supplements For Bodybuilders

Intra-workout supplements rehydrate the working muscles, assist muscle and liver glycogen resynthesis, increased muscle protein synthesis, muscle anabolism as well as faster recovery. Intra-workout supplements have been designed to boost strength, performance, and recovery through replenishment of glycogen, essential amino acids and ATP through protein and carbohydrate synthesis. Nutrients can be infused into muscles better during exercise when blood flow to the muscles is at its highest.15-20 times more blood pumps through your muscles during exercise. This is the ultimate time to saturate your blood with key nutrients to achieve improved uptake of these nutrients, putting your muscles into a better growth state. Whilst this is a more recent category of bodybuilding supplementation, there are a few supplements available on the marketplace to ensure that you are optimising your workout, whilst you train. As with other supplements with stimulants, you can build up a tolerance to supplements of this nature. For this reason it is recommended to cycle these supplements, to enhance the benefits you derive from them in the longer term. Additionally, if you are a heavy coffee drinker, you may want to reduce your caffeine intake to ensure that you get a better responsiveness from these types of supplements during training.

1 Nutrient Timing by John Ivy, Ph.D., and Robert Portman, Ph.D., p. 13
2
Ibid., p. 37
3
Ibid., p. 43
4
Ibid., p. 130
5
Natural Bodybuilding – a proven program for developing a winning physique, by John Hansen, p. 104

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