Intra workout Supplementation Protocol

Intra workout Supplementation Protocol

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

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:

  • Performance
  • Recovery


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.

Intra Workout Hydration



In this section, we will find two types of recovery, depending on the system that benefits from the supplementation:

  • Energy recovery
  • Muscle recovery

Energy 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.

Muscle recovery

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.

The main supplements that are meant to improve the Muscle Recovery are amino acids or hydrolyzed protein, such as PeptoPro®.

Intra workout Protein Shake


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.

Muscle growth

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.

Intra Workout Supplements


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.

Pre-Workout Supplementation

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.

Pre-workout supplements

Let’s not forget that not all carbohydrates are the same. Taking a high doses before training could trigger hypoglycemia.

Performance Carbohydrates

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.

Intra workout and weightlifting

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…

In aerobic resistance activities (cardiovascular exercise) the energy sources that we will use will vary depending on their intensity. However, we will need to mainly take carbs and protein, since taking fat during the workout is practically unfeasible.

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

Preventing hypoglycemia

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.

Discarding fats

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.

Intra workout protocol

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:

  1. The amount of insulin released by the carbohydrates
  2. 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.

The amount of water that we use to dissolve the carbs is crucial too:
  • 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.

Performance and Intra Workout Supplementation

The easiest thing would be using proprietary products such as PeptoPro®. Said protein from casein has a 28% hydrolysis degree and a medium molecular weight of 250 daltons. This means that most of its proteins are di/tri-peptides and our body will be able to absorb them directly. Free amino acids do not need to be digested either, but they are absorbed differently and it will take a longer time to absorb them.

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.

Intensity and Intra Workout Supplementation

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.

Intra workout shake

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.

We can also add electrolytes to our intra workout. However, it will be much simpler to purchase a product that already has. Make sure to always follow the instructions of each supplement

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)
With a carb and protein blend we would have our intra workout shake. For the rest of supplements like citrulline, beta alanine, creatine and trimethylglycine we will use the recommended doses for the peri workout. Start taking them 15 minutes before training.

You can ask any question you may have in the comments below or ask via Twitter at @Science4fitness


Studies 1-10

  • 1. Muscle protein synthesis, degradation and the effect of mTORC1, after resistance exercise (1163.7)Daniel West2, Leslie Baehr2, Baubak Shamim1, Aldrin Gomes1,2, Sue Bodine2,1 and Keith Baar1,2
  • 2. Pre-Exercise Nutrition: The Role of Macronutrients, Modified Starches and Supplements on Metabolism and Endurance Performance. Michael J. Ormsbee, Christopher W. Bach, and Daniel A. Baur
  • 3. Carbohydrate feedings 1 h before exercise improves cycling performance.W M Sherman, M C Peden, and D A Wright
  • 4. Effects of carbohydrate ingestion before and during exercise on glucose kinetics and performance .Mark A. Febbraio , Alison Chiu , Damien J. Angus , Melissa J. Arkinstall , John A. Hawley
  • 5. Carbohydrate ingestion before exercise: comparison of glucose, fructose, and sweet placebo. V. A. Koivisto , S. L. Karonen , E. A. Nikkila
  • 6. Essential amino acid and carbohydrate ingestion before resistance exercise does not enhance postexercise muscle protein synthesis.Fujita S1, Dreyer HC, Drummond MJ, Glynn EL, Volpi E, Rasmussen BB.
  • 7. Exercise Promotes BCAA Catabolism: Effects of BCAA Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle during Exercise. Yoshiharu Shimomura, Taro Murakami, Naoya Nakai, Masaru Nagasaki, and Robert A. Harris
  • 8. Protein coingestion stimulates muscle protein synthesis during resistance-type exercise. Milou Beelen , René Koopman , Annemie P. Gijsen , Hanne Vandereyt , Arie K. Kies , Harm Kuipers , Wim H. M. Saris , Luc J. C. van Loon
  • 9. Effect of two doses of caffeine on muscular function during isokinetic exercise. Astorino TA, Terzi MN, Roberson DW, Burnett TR.
  • 10. Acetyl-L-carnitine improves pain, nerve regeneration, and vibratory perception in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy: an analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials.Sima AA, Calvani M, Mehra M, Amato A.

Studies 11-20

  • 11. Acetyl-L-carnitine improves cognitive functions in severe hepatic encephalopathy: a randomized and controlled clinical trial.Malaguarnera M, Vacante M, Motta M, Giordano M, Malaguarnera G, Bella R, Nunnari G, Rampello L, Pennisi G.
  • 12. Dietary supplementation with a combination of alpha-lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, glycerophosphocoline, docosahexaenoic acid, and phosphatidylserine reduces oxidative damage to murine brain and improves cognitive performance.Suchy J, Chan A, Shea TB.
  • 13. Choline alphoscerate (alpha-glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline) an old choline- containing phospholipid with a still interesting profile as cognition enhancing agent.Traini E, Bramanti V, Amenta F.
  • 14. Tyrosine improves cognitive performance and reduces blood pressure in cadets after one week of a combat training course.Deijen JB, Wientjes CJ, Vullinghs HF, Cloin PA, Langefeld JJ.
  • 15. Oral tyrosine supplementation improves exercise capacity in the heat.Tumilty L, Davison G, Beckmann M, Thatcher R.
  • 16. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness.Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM.
  • 17. Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis.Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C.
  • 18. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness.Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM.
  • 19. Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone. Jason M Cholewa, Monika Wyszczelska-Rokiel, Rafal Glowacki, Hieronim Jakubowski, Tracey Matthews, Richard Wood, Stuart AS Craig and Vincent Paolone
  • 20. The effects of 12 weeks of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate free acid supplementation on muscle mass, strength, and power in resistance-trained individuals: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Jacob M. Wilson, Ryan P. Lowery, Jordan M. Joy, J. C. Andersen, Stephanie M. C.

Studies 21-30

  • 21. Phosphatidic acid supplementation increases skeletal muscle hypertrophy and strengthJordan M Joy, Ryan P Lowery, Joshua E Dudeck…
  • 22. Efficacy of phosphatidic acid ingestion on lean body mass, muscle thickness and strength gains in resistance-trained menJay R Hoffman, Jeffrey R Stout, David R Williams…
  • 23. Miller, D. Oral bioavailability of creatine supplements: Is there room for improvement? Annual Meeting of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2009.
  • 24. Exercise Promotes BCAA Catabolism: Effects of BCAA Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle during Exercise .Yoshiharu Shimomura, Taro Murakami, Naoya Nakai, Masaru Nagasaki, and Robert A. Harris.
  • 25. The effects of increasing exercise intensity on muscle fuel utilisation in humans.Luc J C van Loon, Paul L Greenhaff, D Constantin-Teodosiu, Wim H M Saris and Anton J M Wagenmakers.
  • 26. Fuel Choice During Exercise Is Determined by Intensity and Duration of Activity.
  • 27. Carbohydrate ingestion before exercise: comparison of glucose, fructose, and sweet placebo. V. A. Koivisto , S. L. Karonen , E. A. Nikkila.
  • 28. Ood-dependent, exercise-induced gastrointestinal distress. Erick Prado de Oliveira and Roberto Carlos Burini.
  • 29. Gastrointestinal regulation of food intake. David E. Cummings and Joost Overduin.
  • 30. Enhancement of Swimming Endurance in Mice by Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin. Hiroshi TAKII, Kengo ISHIHARA, Takashi KOMETANI, Shigetaka OKADA & Tohru FUSHIKI .

Studies 31-38

  • 31. The new carbohydrate intake recommendations. Jeukendrup A.
  • 32. Nutrition for endurance sports: marathon, triathlon, and road cycling. Jeukendrup AE.
  • 33. Curvilinear dose-response relationship of carbohydrate (0-120 g•h(-1)) and performance. Smith JW, Pascoe DD, Passe DH, Ruby BC, Stewart LK, Baker LB, Zachwieja JJ.
  • 34. Effect of a carbohydrate-protein supplement on endurance performance during exercise of varying intensity. Ivy JL1, Res PT, Sprague RC, Widzer MO.
  • 35. Liquid carbohydrate/essential amino acid ingestion during a short-term bout of resistance exercise suppresses myofibrillar protein degradation. Bird SP, Tarpenning KM, Marino FE.
  • 36. Independent and combined effects of liquid carbohydrate/essential amino acid ingestion on hormonal and muscular adaptations following resistance training in untrained men.Bird S1, Tarpenning KM, Marino FE.
  • 37. Protein coingestion stimulates muscle protein synthesis during resistance-type exercise. Beelen M, Koopman R, Gijsen AP, Vandereyt H, Kies AK, Kuipers H, Saris WH, van Loon LJ.
  • 38. Peri-exercise co-ingestion of branched-chain amino acids and carbohydrate in men does not preferentially augment resistance exercise-induced increases in PI3K/Akt-mTOR pathway markers indicative of muscle protein synthesis. Ferreira, M. P., Li, R., Cooke, M., Kreider, R. B., and Willoughby, D. S.

Related Entries

Intra Workout Supplementation Review

Benefits of Intra Workout Supplementation - 100%

How to take them - 99%

What are the best proteins and carbs - 100%

Effectiveness - 100%


HSN Evaluation: No Ratings Yet !
Content Protection by
About Alfredo Valdés
Alfredo Valdés
He is a specialist in metabolic physiopathology training and in the biomolecular effects of food and physical exercise.
Check Also
Isotonic, Hypotonic and Hypertonic Drinks
Isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic drinks: What you need to know

Do you know how much water we should take in order to maintain a proper …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *