If you train hard or long enough, you most likely have noticed the wall you hit near the end of a training session. That wall could be described as when one can no longer produce the performance that was generated at the beginning of the training session.
You may notice the inability to get a pump, hold a pump, and strength/endurance drastically dropping off or disappearing. Sound familiar? This is because your body has run out of substrate to produce the energy you need to perform at a high level.
Is well established that consuming carbohydrates during exercise can increase exercise capacity and improve performance. There is an application for intra workout for all training styles- bodybuilding, powerlifting, sport specific, endurance, etc.
When we add in intra carbs we assist in maintaining blood glucose levels at the time when muscle glycogen levels dissipate. Therefore, carb oxidation can continue at a high rate for ATP production and performance is continued/enhanced.
- Exercise 30 min or less: Not needed
- Exercise lasting 30-60min: 15-30g Carbohydrate
- Exercise 60-120min: 30g carbs per hour
- Endurance exercise lasting 2-3 hours: 60g carbs per hour
What about EAAs?
Some research suggests that EAAs during exercise may add performance benefits than just consuming carbohydrate alone. I can speak from experience of myself and clients that a complete intra-workout formula increases performance notably pretty much across the board. The feedback I frequently hear is- "my pumps last longer”, "I'm getting better contractions late in my sessions”, "I can train harder and longer".
Protein is extremely important in replacing the amino acid loss from exercise induced amino acid oxidation. Adding EAAs will support the net protein balance in the body and that allows for the adaptations to your aerobic or high intensity training to occur.
EAA intra Recommendation:
5g-10g of EAAS for most individuals added into an intra carb formula.
Lastly, to ensure you get the most out of your intra workout, the hydration status of your body will play a big role. This doesn’t just mean water. This also means electrolytes (sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, phosphate).
Your daily diet must contain proper amounts to support optimal blood volume and adequate hydration status. Without sufficient levels, expect lower levels of output and blood flood (aka less juicy pumps and performance in the gym).
Sweat also contains more sodium and chloride than any other mineral. I like to recommend my clients adding salt to all meals and even 1/4-1.2tsp to both the pre and intra workout formulas to encourage output and more vasodilation.
My personal intra-workout protocol with the context of a 240lb male bodybuilder that wants to put on muscle tissue:
- 25oz water
- 40g scoop Glycotrix (contains 5g EAAs & 25g carbs)
- 30g scoop Super Carb (contains 25g carbs)
- 5g creatine monohydrate
- 1/4tsp salt
How do you consume your intra shake?
Before we get to that, it's important to note that if you drink pre workout, make sure it's consumed 20-30min before you begin training. Don't be the one dry scooping your pre when you get to the gym, your pre needs time to digest and assimilate.
Once you get to the gym 20-30min after your pre, drink 10-15% of your intra. Following that you will sip it throughout your entire workout and finish it about 10min before the session ends and follow up with post workout nutrition.
Enjoy and let us know how you like the intra workout implementation!
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