The Intra Workout refers to the time between the beginning and the end of the workout. Thus, it is part of the Peri-Workout or Peri-Training
- 1. What is an Intra Workout supplement?
- 2. Benefits of using Intra Workout supplementation
- 3. Why use Intra Workout supplementation?
- 4. How to use Intra Workout supplementation
- 5. Pre-Workout Supplementation
- 6. What happens during Weightlifting?
- 7. What is the objective of the Intra Workout?
- 8. Key points of the Protocol
- 9. Carbs for the Intra Workout
- 10. What Protein should we use during the Workout?
- 11. Hydrolyzed Protein while Training
- 12. Difference between Hydrolyzed Protein and Free amino acids
- 13. More Supplements for the Intra Workout
- 14. Intra Workout Supplementation Protocol
- 15. Sources
- 16. Related Entries
What is an Intra Workout supplement?
It will be the one that provides nutrients efficiently during the workout or competition. Therefore, said supplements must have a series of properties to be used at this specific time:
- Quick dissolution
- Immediate availability
- Great and refreshing flavor
These features are necessary when we work out to obtain nutrients immediately without experiencing any digestive issue or without having to chew them. Obviously, a pleasant flavor will also be quite important. Otherwise it may indirectly but negatively hinder the activity.
Benefits of using Intra Workout supplementation
The main benefits will improve two main aspects:
It can be defined as an intrinsic quality that depends on certain parameters, genetic factors as well as the workout level or physical condition. An athlete who is in better shape will have a better performance than someone who has stopped training, even if they had the same condition before.
Moreover, a bad weather will also go against the athlete, producing more exhaustion than other circumstances.
In such situations, there are certain ingredients that can prolong the duration and intensity of the workout, improving the performance. Without them, we could say that we would not be able to achieve our objective.
A clear example would be a marathon. There is a term known as 'The Wall', when the organism is close to running out of energy. Usually, this happens after a long and demanding activity, which can even make us stop completely. In this situation, the using mineral salts can be crucial.
Providing energy through fast-absorption carbohydrates will be key for these kind of activities, specially if we want to maintain our performance.
In this section, we will find two types of recovery, depending on the system that benefits from the supplementation:
- Energy recovery
- Muscle recovery
The energy pathways are the mechanisms that our body uses to perform physical exercise. There are 3 types:
- The phosphocreatine system
- The glycolytic system
- The oxidative system
The phosphocreatine system is involved in short and high intensity activities. For instance, a sprint or heavy lifting. This type of work empties the ATP reserves, and we will need to pause for a short time while it is resynthesized. On the contrary, we would be unable to perform a second effort at the same level. It is a “clean” system, which means that it does not produce any kind of metabolic waste. We should keep this in mind when considering which supplements can get rid of waste products more efficiently.
The glycolytic system obtains its energy from glycogen, which is the way in which carbs are stored in our body. There are two main glycogen reserves: the liver and the muscles. The first one is the primary source of glucose in the blood, while muscle glycogen will be used for intense and prolonged efforts. First of all, it will be necessary to transform glucose in order to support the ATP synthesis (anaerobic glycolysis). This process produces lactate. After passing a certain intensity threshold, we only use the Lactic Anaerobic system, which does not require oxygen.
What is lactate?
Lactate is a byproduct of the chemical reaction through which the body obtains ATP from glycogen. It acidifies the blood, reducing its pH. A high lactate accumulation leads to the immediate activation of a safety mechanism that interrupts the activity. This substance reduces the muscle contraction, which hinders our capacity to produce myosin and actin fibril bridges, with a consequent loss of strength. Specific training can help us increase the lactate threshold and to be more successful in its subsequent reuse.
Some examples of activities where the main system involved is the glycolytic system would be: 400m Athletics trial, CrossFit, Collective Sports…
If the activity causes a great loss of energy, the performance will get worse proportionately.
The oxidative system is the one that obtains its energy from triglycerides in order to perform the ATP synthesis. It requires oxygen to work, and it is connected to moderate intensity activities that do not exceed the aerobic threshold. It is a very inefficient way of producing ATP, but it does have a huge capacity.
Some examples of activities that emphasize the use of the oxidative system are: swimming, marathons or anything that is long with a moderate intensity.
The main products in charge of improving the Energy Recovery are the carbohydrates supplements: Ready to use carbohydrates, or high glycemic index carbohydrates.
Physical activity does not only empty the energy reserves, but it also breaks down and destroys muscle fibres. This is connected to the fact our body needs stimulation in order to create new tissue, which is the muscle breakdown. Then, this leads to a recovery phase, when our body synthesizes new muscle fibers which can handle the previous stimuli. These tissues will develop in one way or another, depending on the purpose of the workout.
There are mainly two goals in the field of strength training and weightlifting when it comes to hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic or sarcomere hypertrophy. Despite this distinction, both processes overlap, although the purpose of the workout may be different. Hypertrophy is a process through which new muscle fibres are created.
Those activities with a resistance component will also stimulate this type of process, but to a much lesser degree, because the objective is not hypertrophy. What is true is that we need a basic supply to rebuild the fibers and improve the regeneration phase. This will benefit sportspeople and athletes in their workouts because they will be able to adjust more easily.
What are hydrolyzed proteins?
They are a type of protein whose molecular structure has been modified to include a large number of peptides. Basically, these are links between amino acid. Let’s not forget that proteins are made up of amino acid chains which break down through the digestive process to eventually be absorbed by the intestine.
Proteins with these features are absorbed instantaneously because they are pre-digested proteins. This is quite interesting from the point of view of intra-workout drinks since, as we already know, they will be easy to absorb and they are ready to drink at any time.
Why use Intra Workout supplementation?
Some of the reasons why we should use intra workout supplementation are:
Enhancing the performance
In this case, improving the physical performance will prolong the physical activity at the same intensity. Other effects of these supplements that will improve our performance significantly are: keeping the energy deposits and blood glucose levels full, balancing the mineralization or reducing blood acidity.
Prolonging the physical activity
This is one of the features that we would not be able to achieve unless we use a supplement with these particular features. Our body works very much like a machine. That is why we must avoid emptying the energy reserves completely or reducing the energy reserves to dangerously low levels. Otherwise, we would have to stop completely.
If we have esthetic goals in mind, one of our main objectives will be to increase our muscle mass. The intra workout period is an excellent opportunity to provide the muscle fibers with nutrients, which will decrease protein breakdown. We will take advantage of blood hyperemia to create a hormone environment which will stimulate the protein synthesis.
Reducing the DOMS
“DOMS” stands for “Delayed Onset Muscular Soreness“, also known as “muscle soreness“. Said phenomenon occurs due to the physical stimulation and its levels will be more or less proportionate to its impact on the muscle fibers. These problems tend to occur between 24 and 48 hours after the workout session and they usually last several days.
Using the latest advancements in sport nutrition, we can use amino acids and peptides that will be shorten the recover.
How to use Intra Workout supplementation
This type of supplements should be taken only during the workout. We can start using this product while we are warming up or at the beginning of the workout session.
Generally, we should mix the supplement in 500ml of water or according to the product’s instructions. We also have to take into account the workout length as well as the need for water. If you want to consume additional servings, measure the dose with a scoop.
Now, we are going to develop a Supplementation Protocol in order to achieve the best performance.
If our objective is to improve the performance, the best thing would be to have the nutrients we need available. Moreover, combining carbs with amino acids or protein will activate the muscle growth processes. This will prevent the protein breakdown during the workout, even though it will not increase the post-workout protein synthesis.
Let’s not forget that not all carbohydrates are the same. Taking a high doses before training could trigger hypoglycemia.
That is why in #S4F we recommended taking Cluster Dextrin® (Cyclodextrins) which will prevent the hypoglycemia or stomach discomfort. This is the only carb that we advise in order to enhance the performance, because others are absorbed too fast without providing energy for a long time.
You can also mix it with another carbohydrate such as Palatinose for the overall oxidation rate. This is due to the fact that they will work in synergy.
We suggest taking a 2:1 ratio when it comes to Cyclodextrins:Palatinose.
What happens during Weightlifting?
An intense workout (in terms of effort, not weight) increases the BCAA or branched chain amino acid breakdown. Our body also uses our glycogen deposits to refill the ATP reserves which are emptied during intense physical exercise.
Our body will “destroy” muscle fibers to obtain BCAA’s and transform them into energy. This will happen if we do not take nutrients that will work as fuel…
What is the objective of the Intra Workout?
Keeping our performance to the fullest while reducing the damage produced to the body while we train. But, how can we keep the pace? Providing a constant flow of nutrients to the body without hindering the performance.
Key points of the Protocol
When we take carbs, protein or fats, our body releases insulin. As you may already know, an excess of this hormone can trigger hypoglycemia. This can drastically worsen our performance, which is why we need to avoid a high insulin release.
Avoiding an indigestion
If we eat nutrients that need to be digested, our body will send the blood to the stomach to perform the digestion. This can cause stomach discomfort and also hinder our performance, since all the blood will not be available for the muscles.
As we previously mentioned, taking fats is almost unfeasible, because it delays the gastric emptying. This is the stage where the food goes from the stomach to the bowel. When the nutrients go to the bowel, it means that they are ready to be absorbed. Then, taking fats could slow down the absorption of the rest of nutrients like carbs or protein.
If we discard fats, we are left with carbs and protein. We just have to find out which ones meet the requirements we are looking for.
Carbs for the Intra Workout
Let’s start with carbs, we do not want to waste time talking about how they are absorbed or used by our body. We will focus on giving you advice about how to use them, taking two aspects into account:
- The amount of insulin released by the carbohydrates
- Their osmolarity
We will need a prolonged carb supply if we want to enhance our performance. The insulin levels should stay as stable as possible but, How can we do this? Taking a low osmolarity carbohydrate that has to be digested is probably the best choice we can make.
Another choice, although less advisable, is taking low doses of carbs that do not need to be digested. We suggest not doing this due to the insulin peaks.
Let’s not forget either that our body has a limited capacity to use carbs. If we use just one source, we will oxidize 60gr/h at most. By mixing several sources we can oxidize up to 105gr/h. Then, mixing carb sources will help our body to use more. One of the carbs that meet these premises are cyclodextrins.
- Short and high intensity sports: the carb supply is more important, while the fluid and electrolyte supply is more important in long and low intensity sports. It is advisable to take use a 6-8% of carbs, that is, around 60-80g per liter. The amount of carbs will depend on the workout, as a reference, you can take 5gr of carbs for 2 sets of 30-45″ in a multi-joint exercise.
- Low intensity and long activities: we need to increase the amount of fluid to reduce the weight loss due to sweating as much as possible. It is advisable to take 78g of carbs per hour.
What Protein should we use during the Workout?
Adding protein to our intra workout can decrease the fatigue, reduce the muscle damage and improve our adaptations to the exercise.
But, what type of protein should we use? Using a type of protein that does not have to be digested will be fundamental to avoid digestive problems. That is why our choices are reduced to Hydrolyzed Protein or free amino acids.
Hydrolyzed Protein while Training
An hydrolyzed protein has been partially digested and depending on the hydrolysis degree, it will need more or less digestion. There are many brands that just label the protein as hydrolyzed. However, they do not give any information regarding its hydrolysis degree nor its molecular weight. In general, we should avoid these products and purchase the ones that provide this information.
Difference between Hydrolyzed Protein and Free amino acids
There is a fundamental difference between free amino acids and protein peptides: when we train only the peptides are capable of stimulating the protein synthesis. That is why they will be our first option.
The dose of hydrolyzed protein would be around 25g and the one for free amino acids from 10g onward. When it comes to free amino acids, we advise using BCAA’s because they can reduce the muscle damage
More Supplements for the Intra Workout
We can also use other supplements such as: critulline malate, trimethylglycine, beta alanine or creatine. If we combine all these nutrients for our intra workout, we suggest taking 1/3 of the dose around 15 minutes before training.
Moreover, it would be ideal to drink everything or almost everything when we reach half of the workout. You can drink water until the end.
Intra Workout Supplementation Protocol
Here you have different schematic examples of intra workout supplementation:
- The amount of carbs will depend on the volume of our workout. The protein will depend on our ability to recover. If you have DOMS you could try a better option.
- You could use higher doses than the ones we have provided, but these would be very specific cases. Those who do long and low intensity workouts should follow these amounts per hour of exercise.
- We will start with the best options and then suggest other alternatives of a lower potential. You may not need the First Option, you will have to choose from those that best suit your needs
- 1st Option) 50g of Cyclodextrins and 25g of Palatinose (2 servings of Cluster Dextrin® + Palatinose)
- 2nd Option) 25g of Cyclodextrins and 12gr of Palatinose (1 serving of Cluster Dextrin® + Palatinose)
- 3rd Option) 50g of Amylopectin and 25g of Palatinose
- 4th Option) 25g of Amylopectin and 12g Palatinose
- 5th Option) 30g of Maltodextrin and 50g of Palatinose
- 6th Option) 25g of Maltodextrin and 25g of Dextrose and 25g of Palatinose
*The amount of water will change depending on the activity
- 1st Option) 25g of Peptopro (2 servings of Evopept)
- 2nd Option) 15g of Peptopro + 10gr BCAA’s/EAA’s (1 serving of Evopept + 1 serving of EvoBCAAs)
- 3rd Option) 20g of BCAA’s/EAA’s (2 servings of EvoBCAAs)
- 4th Option) 10g of BCAA’s/EAA’s (1 serving of EvoBCAAs)
You can ask any question you may have in the comments below or ask via Twitter at @Science4fitness
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