The food and supplements you consume prior to and after your workout are crucial to both your performance and rate of recovery.
The food and supplements you consume prior to and after your workout are crucial to both your performance and rate of recovery. However, it’s also important to consider the role of nutrition during your workout. If your goal is to build muscle, the middle stage of this three-part process can make a significant difference to your results.
When choosing an intra-workout product, the following ingredients have been shown to be effective:
To increase muscle mass, it’s necessary to achieve something called ‘net protein balance’. In simple terms, this is about augmenting you body’s muscle-building potential, whilst limiting muscle breakdown (catabolism). When in a muscle-building (or anabolic) state, this is described as having ‘positive protein balance’, and can be achieved with an adequate, ‘drip’ supply of amino acids.
Of particular relevance here are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine and valine, which are vital to muscle protein synthesis. In supplement form, these are usually added in the ratio of 2:1:1 (as per the order above); according to extensive research, this is the most effective dose.
Since glutamine is conditionally essential, it can offer great value to intra-workout products. Maintaining muscle stores of this amino supports muscle development, and facilitates the immune system. Citrulline malate may also be a featured ingredient, as this is said to help combat fatigue during intense training by increasing blood flow to muscles.
An electrolyte blend helps to sustain adequate hydration levels – something which cannot be achieved through plain water alone. These are nutrients that are naturally present in the body, but subject to depletion during intense exercise, and include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphate and chloride. They have many functions, such as the assistance of muscle contractions, and regulating heart beat.
Intra-workouts are particularly valuable when training ‘fasted’ – i.e. first thing in the morning, before eating. Used in this way, they can enhance your workout performance and kick-start the recovery process. Often, they will contain zero carbs/sugar (with sweeteners instead), making them suitable for fitness enthusiasts of all levels, and in accordance with all goal-setting. For maximum results, add intra-workout powders to your drinking water, and sip before, during and after training. They’re usually available in a wide range of refreshing, fruity flavours and are easy to mix.
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