Best Intra Workouts: Which Supplements Matter?
There is a trend in bodybuilding that continues to build in momentum regarding intra workout supplementation. Everybody wants to know what are the best intra workouts available. Well there are many different supplements that work in varying degrees of effectiveness. The latest trends are to use and energy source(carbs), a anabolic primer (BCAA’s), and other ancillary supplements in varying doses. There are products you can buy as stand alone or fully comprehensive formulas. So how does a consumer sift through all this to understand what is needed? That’s where I come in to try to decipher the information(or misinformation more likely).
The different types of carbohydrates available today are growing. So how does one know whether to use dextrose, maltodextrin, waxy maize starch, or the new kid on the block, highly branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD’s). So what is the difference in all these different carbohydrate sources? What should you look for? The carb source needs to have a rapid gastric emptying rate(gets from stomach to small intestine fast). It also needs to be absorbed slowly. The best choice on this list is HBCD followed by in descending order Waxy Maize>Maltodextrin>Dextrose. So what makes HBCD so superior. It is a complex molecule made of of many cyclized and cross linked glucose molecules. This makes it leave the stomach rapidly yet slow to be absorbed into the blood stream. This gives you great energy and doesn’t spike blood sugar so the insulin response doesn’t make you crash.
There is a great deal of debate on what type of protein should be used in an intra workout shake. Many people say use isolate, whey or casein hydrolysates, concentrates, branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s), or essential amino acids (EAA’s). So what is the most effective in order of efficiency you ask? casein hydrolysate>whey hydrolsate>EAA>BCAA>isolate>concentrates. Again these are listed in order of the speed of absorbtion. You want a protein source that triggers anabolic processes. My personal favorite is BCAA. I have had debates over why I choose BCAA’s and I do for 3 reasons. 1) They are the most studied so there is verifiable science behind them. 2) They are cheaper than Casein Hydrolysate and EAA. 3) The other 300 grams of quality protein I ingest daily makes up and gap that may happen with just BCAA ingestion.
Everybody equates a good muscle pump with growth, but that isn’t always true. I think you can grow well with no pump but that being said, I believe increased blood flow helps. So what products are out there that aid in a muscular pump? Everyone used to use N.O. products that would cause vasodilation and increase blood flow that way. That craze has fell to the wayside and the newest trend is to use agmatine sulfate. Agmatine is superior to N.O. in almost every way. Most people thought that L-Arginine was the best way to boost Nitric Oxide. The new sheriff is a agmatine sulfate which helps our body by opening our veins, thus increasing blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to our muscle cells.
Creatine and glutamine are two of the most important aids to help a body recover from hard training. Like I have told numerous clients, before the body can go about becoming anabolic (building things), it must first replenish the stores of depleted nutrients. Exercise depletes both phosphate stores and glutamine levels. They both help speed up the recovery process from hard training.
Everyone who trains hard needs to understand what they are doing to their bodies. You are applying systemized stress. It is voluntary in nature, yet your body does not know that. So I like to use the analogy of digging a hole to my clients. The hole you dig is the workout. If you dig too deep, you likely wont recover by the next workout. So to avoid getting too deep into the hole, we use these products to make sure we don’t get too deep into the hole to make a proper recovery and super-compensation (gains). That why the best intra workouts list was put together and this article written. My favorite product currently is IntraFuse from Mind and Muscle. It combines all of these elements plus a few to help hard training physique athletes recuperate from their workouts.