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Top 10 BCAA Supplements For Recovery: Best of 2017 Buying Guide (Intra-Workouts, Amino Acids, Carbs)

Forget catabolism...

You'd agree with me when I say that it's important to keep the body fed and fueled for maximum performance and gains.

Even during your workouts.​

With BCAA's you're ensuring your body is in the best state possible. 

Now you may benefit more if you're in a fasted state...

But we all know you can't drink or eat protein during your workouts.

So BCAA's and intra workouts come into use.​

We've done the research and have rounded up the best here...

You'll learn what BCAA supplements you can use during training to make the most gains and out of your workouts.

Why Take BCAA Supplements?

What if you could improve recovery and train harder than ever while remaining in a anabolic state?

You'd probably feel like you've got an “S” on your chest…

BCAA’s have become one of the biggest game changers for both bodybuilders and athletic purposes.

Whether you’ve used BCAA’s or not, you should know by now that they are made out of 3 amino acids:

  • leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine.

Different supplements contain different ratios so it gets kind of confusing on which one to go with and not all BCAA supplements are all that great since some may come with carbohydrates and nitric oxide ingredients while others are just plain amino acids.

Most intra supplements are a waste of money. 

The choices can be overwhelming and the supplement industry is full of hyped up crap so we’re going to list the ones you should stay away from and our top 10 list.

Ingredients

Full clinical doses of beneficial ingredients is a must. 

Results

BCAA's and Intra's MUST be able to help gain muscle and enhance recovery. 

Reviews

We don't listen to the hype, we listen to reputation and the reviews.

BCAA Supplements For Bodybuilding

Sometimes a plain BCAA supplement just isn't enough. 

A lot of you may prefer your BCAA supplement with carbs, or maybe without them. Either way, these intra-supplements do not only contain BCAA's, but they also have other ingredients that will help you gain more out of your training (like pumps, hydration, pumps, etc).

Intra-BCAA Supplements With Carbs

You don't mind carbs, right?

Perfect you're in the right place.

This list contains the best BCAA supplements that have carbs which will help you power through workouts with full on intensity and force. ​

3. Intra-MD by Prime Nutrition

Intra-MD is more than just a BCAA supplement. 

This super powered intra workout supplement is packed with everything you need to survive and go beyond your usual limits.

Every scoop has 30 grams of a super high quality and easily digestible carb, highly branched cyclic dextrin.

For pumps and recovery, it also has 2 grams of carbs and 4.6 of added essential amino acids. ​

Whether you train fasted or just need the extra fuel, you'll love this stuff.

2. The Edge by Dedicated Nutrition

This recently released intra-workout is not only full of ergogenic aids but it also has carbs and protein for further recovery. 

The Edge covers everything you need from BCAA's to the super hydrolyzed protein, Peptopro.​

And like Intra-MD, it has 30g of the super high quality (and expensive) carb, highly branched cyclic dextrin. 

For further muscle volumization and pumps, it packs a full gram of taurine and various forms of glycerol. ​

This is more than your average intra-workout as it goes above and beyond with ingredients and it's formula. 

1. Sizeon Max Performance by Gaspari Nutrition

Sizeon is the perfect intra workout for those looking to build muscle.

This is not only a fast acting intra workout, but it works quite well.

It has carbs, BCAA's, creatine and even protein and vitamin B's.

It's an all-in-one supplement, perfect if you're bulking.

Now if you're cutting, you can still use this but it comes down to making it fit your diet and nutrition since it has a lot of calories and carbs.

You can easily take half a scoop or less if needed (you'd save money in the process).

Top BCAA Supplements With Stimulants

What if you could combine 2 supplements in one?

Some fully packed pre workouts contain both, BCAA's and stimulants.

While it's true, some stimulants take time to work, you could combine stims with BCAA's and just drink it a little earlier and continue sipping on it during your workout.​

Lucky for you though, some BCAA supplements contain stimulants already.

You could just add some caffeine to your BCAA supplement (or any supplement for that matter) but it's nice to have something prepared anyway as it's more convenient.​

Whether you're already taking a pre workout or not, you could take these BCAA's alongside as long as your watching your stimulant intake as everything can add up.

Some pre workouts may have only 200mg of caffeine, but they may combine stronger stimulants like DMAA or yohimbine so check before you wreck yourself. ​

Top BCAA's With DMAA and Caffeine

These are the intra-workouts we can find with both, DMAA and BCAAs. 

Off The Chain by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals

Hi-Tech has a thing for DMAA. 

They put it in everything from fat burners, pre workouts to even BCAA supplements like this one.

Off The Chain has 100mg caffeine and 20mg DMAA.

So whether you're trying to get through a stimulant break or just want a little kick during your workout so you don't crash, Off The Chain has got your back.

This BCAA supplement not only has BCAA's, but it packs all 13 amino acids in a 5 gram prop blend. ​

So here you're not only getting energy from the caffeine, but a nice mood enhancing and focus driving stimulant, DMAA. ​

Top 10 BCAA Supplements For Muscle Gains and Recovery

11. BCAA 3:1:2 By Muscle Pharm

This formula is simple but it’s got its own way of being unique.

The stimulant version has 100mg of caffeine, 50mg of green tea extract and 50mg of panax ginseng root powder and then non-stim has a simple 3:1:2 ratio of BCAA’s.

It’s made this list because it has a very high concentration of BCAA’s.

This product has been found to have a high concentration of BCAA's (94.6%). This means you’re actually getting the amount of BCAA’s stated on the ingredient panel.

Other than being a company of great standards, this is a BCAA supplement worthy of purchasing.

Their flavors are near-perfect considering how hard it is to flavor BCAA’s.

6 g BCAAs

Pros

  • High quality ingredients (98%)
  • Fully disclosed
  • Simple and effective label
  • Comes in pills and powder form

Cons

  • Only one size: 30 servings

10. Strive By Omega Strive

Looks like it's discontinued but it's at the lowest price at the moment (less than a dollar per serving!).

If you have the budget and want to get some high quality ingredients like Aji-Pure instantized BCAA’s and PeptoPro protein then you’ll love Omega Strive.

With hundreds of reviews and a solid reputation, there's no doubt this should belong in any top 10 list.

The label is full of goods and if you love getting a premium BCAA fully loaded cocktail  then you should strive your budget a little higher and jump on this one.

5 g BCAAs
5 g PeptoPro Protein
3 g Carnitine L-Tartrate & Malic Acid
915 mg Electrolytes

Pros

  • Aji-Pure BCAA's (high quality)
  • Limitless-like endurance
  • PeptoPro protein 
  • Builds muscle

Cons

  • Expensive

9. Purple Wraath By Controlled Labs

Being one of the most mentioned intra workouts ever since many can remember, Purple Wraath is one that cant be skipped.

Controlled Labs is one of the bosses of the supplement industry as they’ve not only been using only high quality ingredients but also guaranteeing  that their supplements are safe from banned substances and cross contamination.

Purple Wraath is jam packed with amino goodies: it literally has all 14 amino acids.

Taking it to the next level, they’ve also got a “PurplEndurance” complex, which you can guess is good for endurance.

It’s a 2.7 gram blend of beta alanine, citrulline malate, betaine anhydrous, ginger and l-norvaline.

Fillers are next to none.

With very little fillers and no maltodextrin to be seen, this makes a perfect BCAA mix for anyone cutting or just want to stay as healthy as possible.

7 g BCAAs & EAAs
2.7 g Endurance Complex
70 mg Electrolytes

Pros

  • Increased recovery
  • 9 amino acids
  • Increased Endurance
  • Strength and nitric oxide boosting ingredients included

Cons

  • Proprietary blends
  • Strange flavoring

8. CorPerformance BCAA by Cellucor

You're looking at one of the few BCAA supplements that contain a full serving of HICA.

Not only that but it is loaded with BCAA’s, beta alanine and citrulline malate. 

They've included some electrolytes to ensure hydration during your workouts so you can fight off fatigue and stress.

To help you fight through your intense workouts, you get 10 grams of BCAA’s, 4 grams of beta alanine, 4 grams of citrulline malate and finally 2 grams of HICA .

HICA helps transform a regular BCAA product into a super loaded supplement that enhances recovery.

There is a catch though. With Cor-Performance, you need to take 2 scoops which makes it only 15 servings, not 30.

5 g BCAAs
2.5 g Leucine
2.5 g Citrulline Malate
.75 g HICA

Pros

  • HICA and BCAA loaded
  • Fully disclosed
  • Super fast recovery
  • Simple formula and affordable

Cons

  • Needs 2 scoops for the promised doses

7. Core ABC By Core Nutritionals

Core ABC has 50 servings with jam packed ingredients.

Each serving has 10 grams of BCAA’s, 2.5 grams of glutamine, 2.5 grams of beta alanine, 2.5 grams of citrulline malate.

That’s what we like to call a fully loaded supplement!

With 10 grams of BCAA’s, you could easily just take 1 scoop instead of the full serving of 2 scoops and still gain massive (and proven) benefits for recovery.

Beyond the BCAA’s is beta alanine.

There’s 2.5 grams of this stuff hee, so prepare yourself for some tingles. 

L-citrulline malate dosed at 2.5 grams you’ll definitely notice an increase of endurance and possibly some pumps.

10 g BCAAs
5 g Leucine
2.5 g Glutamine
2.5 g Beta Alanine
2.5 g Citrulline Malate

Pros

  • Packed with fully dosed ingredients
  • 5 grams of leucine
  • Increased endurance and strength gains
  • Lots of servings
  • Lots of excellent reviews

Cons

  • One size (50 servings)
  • Can make people itchy from beta alanine

6. Amino Recovery By Bodybuilding

When it comes to a well-balanced ingredient profile, Amino Recovery does it well as it features a 4:2:2 formula and a ton of ingredients that’ll enhance pumps and recovery.

Every scoop is packed with 15 grams of recovery enhancing and nitric oxide boosting ingredients.

What is great about this formula is that it contains 1.5 grams of pure l-citrulline, not citrulline malate.

This makes it a straight forward nitric oxide ingredient and even though it can be had to flavor, BB will knock you into sipping this supplement all day long.

While glutamine isn’t as much as a staple in bodybuilding supplements as it once was, each serving has 3 grams of it to ensure recovery and muscle growth.

It might not be groundbreaking but it is nice to have it.

With 4 grams of leucine and a whole bunch of other ingredients that’ll surely take your workouts to the next level, there’s no way you can go wrong with this supplement.

8 g BCAAs
4 g Leucine
3 g Glutamine
1.5 g Citrulline
100 mg Electrolytes

Pros

  • Loaded BCAA's and Leucine
  • Pure citrulline (pumps)
  • Increased Endurance
  • Increased recovery and decreased soreness
  • Affordable

Cons

  • One size, 30 servings
  • Artificial flavoring and coloring
  • Not available everywhere

5. mTOR Pro By Myokem

Myokem literally came out of nowhere and released products that are based on science and have been named the number 1 brand by Stack3d.

Being all focused on leucine, their BCAA product promises to keep you in a constant anabolic state.

They’ve got the proper ratio of BCAA’s, 2:1:1, and a whole bunch of other amino acids but that’s not what makes it so special.

It uses a time release form of l-leucine which is named ActiveTR.

Leucine can pass through the system pretty quickly so using ActiveTR, it promises to keep you fed with leucine for a longer period of time…8 hours of time!

What happens is that 2 hours after mTOR pro is consumed, the time released leucine is activated and it keeps you fed for 8 hours.

5 g BCAAs
3 g Time Released L-Leucine
2.5 g EAAs
1 g Taurine
200 mg Electrolytes

Pros

  • EAA's and BCAA's
  • Fully disclosed
  • Increased Endurance
  • Increased recovery and muscle growth
  • Time released leucine

Cons

  • Only one size, 30 servings
  • Limited flavors

4. Xtend by Scivation

Considered to be the top godfather of BCAA’s and the innovator of the said category, Xtend made it possible for BCAA’s to taste good and consumable.

Scivation has a long history in the BCAA category, and they may even be one of the first companies to include electrolytes in their BCAA supplements.

These days, Xtend comes in many forms, flavors and types.

Xtend features the research proven ratio, 2:1:1, and it’s always been and still is the 7 grams of BCAA’s in each serving.

What’s more impressive is that they’ve managed to master each flavor, maybe a little too much mastering though.Their green apple is one of the best flavors with orange dream and pink lemonade tasting medicore.

3.5 g Leucine
1.75 g Isoleucine
1.75 g Valine
2.5 g Glutamine
1 g Citrulline Malate (1:1)

Pros

  • Using proven ratio
  • Fully disclosed
  • Decreased soreness
  • Increased recovery
  • Great taste

Cons

  • Lots of flavoring and dyes
  • Expensive
  • Not for health conscious people (too much flavoring) 

3. AmiNo Flow By Muscle Elements

Amino Flow is seriously popular all over the web...

That is one JAM PACKED formula. Take a look...

It’s not your average BCAA product.

It contains everything from nitric oxide boosters to BCAA’s and hydration ingredients.

The BCAA’s are loaded in a 3:1:2 ratio and the nitric oxide are in a 2.5 gram blend.

You're probably going to need to take 2 servings if you want to get a decent pump going.

If you take 2 scoops then you’ll get 10 grams of BCAA’s (16 grams of total amino acids), 4 grams of citrulline (that’s pure citrulline) and 500mg of Agmatine.

Amino Flow could easily be a 3 in 1 supplement as it can replace your pre workout, nitric oxide booster and BCAA supplement.

It’s a little over a dollar per serving so that seems pretty fair.

If you’re a serious lifter looking to gain more muscle in less time, then this is for you.

5 g BCAAs
1 g Taurine
2 g Citrulline
575 mg Nitric Oxide Blend
750 mg Electrolytes

Pros

  • Loaded with NO and BCAA's
  • Fully disclosed
  • All in one supplement
  • Can be stacked with other pre workouts
  • No artificial flavors

Cons

  • Need 2 scoops for full effects

2. Intra Blast by Nutrabio

In every serving you get 10 grams of essential amino acids that includes 7.2 grams of BCAA’s, 5 grams of glutamine, and finally 2 grams of betaine.

You also get 1 gram of l-ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate and a whole bunch of electrolytes.

NutraBio always strives to remain at the top of standards when it comes to quality and disclosure.

But any supplement can claim that and pretend to have high standards…so what really makes Intra Blast special?

All the amino acids are naturally fermented which means they come from plant sources, not animal sources like feathers, hair and other strange things you wouldn’t expect amino acids to come from.

Quality isn’t the only thing that makes Intra Blast amazing; it’s got the full spectrum of EAA’s and turned a regular BCAA product into an intense recovery supplement.

NutraBio manages to not only disclose the ingredients but also the flavoring and sweeteners used so you know exactly what you’re getting. 

7.2 g BCAAs
5 g Glutamine
3 g Betaine & OKG
2.7 g Electrolytes
3 g EEAs

Pros

  • Increased Strength
  • Fully disclosed
  • All in one supplement
  • Disclosed fillers
  • Quality ingredients

Cons

  • Only one size, 30 servings

1. CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine by Transparentlabs

The supplement industry is made out of dark secrets and prop blends. 

Transparentlabs has turned it around and has been making supplements with completely transparent labels.

Their latest intra workout, CoreSeries, is a simple but effective formula that combines the power of coconut water with BCAA's and glutamine. ​

It packs a huge 8 gram dose of BCAA's​, 5 grams of glutamine and a bit of coconut water for further hydration and endurance. 

It has everything you need and nothing you don't need.

Use this coupon code for further servings: fitfrek

8 g BCAAs
5 g Glutamine
5 mg Coconut Water Powder

What Are BCAA's?

BCAA’s are considered branch amino acids because each one of them has a structure that looks like a branch.

Being unique for how they look isn’t the only thing that they’ve got going on.

These amino’s also increase energy, assist with fat loss but they are more commonly known for increasing muscle growth.

Hence why you hear that they are such a “anabolic” supplement to take.

Leucine is known to be the leading champion among the 3 amino acids so you should make sure that there’s always more leucine in the ratio.

Being the key to turning on the “anabolic” state that every bodybuilder thrives for, leucine is the key as it activates mTOR, a complex which increases muscle protein synthesis which then leads to more muscle growth.

Seeing that leucine is so important in the BCAA mix, some supplements recommend taking it on it’s own but that’s where shit goes wrong.

Don’t take our word for it; one study tested leucine on its own vs all 3 BCAA’s in a 2:1:1 ratio.

Men in their early 20’s were given either leucine, a 2:1:1 BCAA supplement or a placebo.

Those who took leucine sure did increase muscle protein synthesis much more than the placebo, but they found that the BCAA’s increased protein synethsis even further than both groups. 

Taking BCAA’s in a 2:1:1 ratio will result an increase energy and endurance while decreasing fatigue.

And also, without valine, you won’t be able to push as much reps, maintain strength and endurance as much as you would, especially when it comes to the last half of your workout.

Isoleucine is also plays an important role in BCAA’s as it helps with fat loss and decreases the activities that leads to fat storage.

Bottom Line

Get your BCAA’s in a 2:1:1 ratio. Avoid the ratios that include “500mg of both valine and isoleucine” because that’s not nearly enough to keep you going in your workouts.

Stick to what’s been proven in studies, not what the supplements are claiming.

All of the benefits is all the more reason to start using BCAA’s before and during your workouts.

But don’t go consuming protein shakes during your workouts because that takes energy to digest and you’ll feel bloated.

BCAA Side Effects

Apart from muscle gains and fat loss, there are none!

Unlike other supplements, BCAA’s are one of the supplements that have no side effects and are safe to take on a regular basis.

The only thing you should be worried about are the artificial stuff (flavors, colors, ingredients, sources of BCAA’s) that are put into them.

Powders, Tablets Or Capsules?

Powders are popular due to having the ability to sip on BCAA’s for however long they need to be sipped on. It’s best to look at your lifestyle and pick according to what suits you best.

However, it takes a lot of capsules to gain the benefits of BCAA’s.

Ultimately, it’s important to look at the company and know who you’re buying from.

Since supplements are pretty much self-regulated (if at all), reputation and quality should always be a big deciding factor.

Some BCAA supplements use human hair or disgusting sources for BCAA’s so they can make their products cheap.

The Complete Intra BCAA Workout Supplement Guide

You know about pre and post workout supplements…

But what about intra-workouts?

Over the last decade, there’s been a huge focus on what you need to put into your body before and after your workout.

As a result, most trainers are pretty clued up about their pre and post workout supplementation needs.

But what about during the workout?

If you’re simply slurping from your water bottle between sets, it’s about time you got up to speed on the subject of intra workout supplementation.

It could just be the missing link to catapulting your physique to the next level.​

What is Intra Workout Nutrition?

Intra workout nutrition is just a fancy term for what goes into your body during your workout.

Intra workout supplements have entered the market over the last few years with the goal to produce more training strength, muscle growth, energy and endurance.

They also provide an early start on your recovery process.

The majority of intra workout supplements come in the form of a drink that mixes with water, though there are also chewable supplements on the market.

A blender bottle is a handy asset as it will allow you to keep your intra workout drink clump free during the workout.​

Why You Need an Intra Workout Supplement

When you begin working out, you cause your body to change the way it reacts to nutrients.

A number of years ago, researchers began to focus on whether adding nutrients to the body while working out would enhance performance.

What they discovered was that they key to performance was timing.

In other words, if your goal is to build muscle, lose body fat, get stronger and recover better, when you consume your nutrients is just as important as what you consume.

The energy used for weight training comes from the ATP system.

However, the ATP in your muscles is very quickly depleted when you start pushing the iron.

If that energy is not replaced your workout performance is going to drop off.

Working out also uses up fluids and electrolytes, which hamper your performance.

That’s why it’s vital to hydrate while training.

ATP is fueled by glycogen.

Now, you’re probably getting glycogen into your system through your pre workout formulation.​

The problem is that your training robs you of glycogen very quickly. In fact, after just three sets on the bench press, your glycogen levels will be down by about 35%.

If you’re not replacing that energy during your workout, your performance is going to lag.

Another key performance factor during your workout relates to insulin.

Your pre-workout will provide quality protein to your system. But, insulin is needed to transport that protein to the muscle.

Unless you are fortifying your insulin levels during the workout, all of that pre workout protein is going to be sitting around doing nothing.​

Yet, it gets even worse.

In the absence of insulin, we see the rise of insulin’s antagonist – glucagon. Glucagon is catabolic, stealing amino acids fro your cells.

Along with glucagon, you’ll see a rise in two other catabolic hormones – epinephrine and cortisol, both of which lower your glycogen levels.

To build muscle and lose body fat, your body needs to be in an anabolic state.

However, working out is catabolic.

It breaks down your muscles.​

And, as we’ve just seen, catabolic hormones are promoted when you work out in the absence of glycogen and insulin.

Intra workout nutrition in the form of carbohydrates will counter this catabolic effect, pushing you back to the anabolic state that you need to be in.

Your body also has a need for protein during the workout.

From the moment you begin pumping iron, your body starts eating up protein, especially in the form of branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s).

If you’re training intensely, BCAA’s will provide about 20% of your muscle’s energy needs.

In other words, your body is cannibalizing itself by eating up branch chain amino acids. When your take in BCAAs during the workout, you greatly offset this process.​

So, why do you need an intra workout supplement?

Taking protein and carbs into your body while you are training will offset the catabolic effect of working out, allowing you to maintain high levels of ATP, insulin, glycogen and BCAAs.

The result is that you’ll be stronger for longer and your body will be primed for anabolic growth and recovery.​

What Intra Workout Supplements Should I Take?

Now you know that intra workout supplements are a good idea, what should you take?

The answer depends on what you are trying to achieve from your workouts.

If you are primarily focused on fat loss, your ultra supplementation will be different from the guy who is primarily concerned with packing on muscle mass.

Regardless of your specific training goal, you should still be drinking plenty of water during your workout.

Dehydrated muscles will soon lose power regardless of what nutrients you supply them with.

Over the course of a 75-minute workout, you should be chugging down between one and two liters of water.​

Fat Loss Intra Workout Supplementation

If you are training primarily for fat loss, you will want to limit the amount of calories you take into your system during your workout.

After all, in order to shed body-fat you are training to burn off more calories than you’re consuming each day.

So, the last thing you want to do is to chug down extra calories.

Another consideration is your insulin level.

While a guy who is training for max muscle mass will want to elevate insulin levels while training to transport protein to the muscle cell, you don’t​ want to boost insulin because it will interfere with the process of freeing up stored body fat for energy.

That’s why you really don’t want carbs in your intra workout formulation.

The exception would be if you are following a keto or intermittent fasting diet program.

In those cases, you will want to take in fats acting carbs to fuel you through your workout.

What you need to focus on is amino acids which will counter the catabolic effect and promote protein synthesis.

The big three, of course, are the three branch chain amino acids – valine, leucine and iso-leucine.

In addition, you will benefit from glutamine, citrulline malate and glycine.​

Look for an intra workout that contains the following aminos at the levels indicated:​

  • BCAAs - 5g
  • L-Glutamine - 5g
  • L-Glycine - 3g
  • Citrulline Malate - 3g

Muscle Gain Intra Workout Nutrition

When it comes to packing on muscle mass, carbohydrates are going to benefit you.

Of course, you don’t want to store those carbs as fat.

When you’re working out, however, you are very unlikely to store carbs as fat, so this is the ideal time to take that energy into your system.

You’ll want to take in fast acting carbs that are quickly absorbed into your system.

Taking in carbs during your workout will also lead to an insulin spike.

As we’ve already learned, insulin helps to transport protein to your muscle cells.​

Of course, you’ll also want to take in some key amino acids while training.

Leucine, one of the branch chin amino acids, is a key stimulator of your growth pathway, speeding up protein synthesis.

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and the one that is most cannibalized through working out.

Taking 5 grams of glutamine during your session will go a long way to putting you into an anabolic state.​

Look for an intra workout that contains the following ingredients at the levels indicated:​

  • 25-50 grams of fast digesting crabs
  • BCAAs – 5g
  • L-Glutamine – 5g
  • L-Glycine – 3g
  • Citrulline Malate – 3g

Breaking Down the Ingredients

So, now that you’ve got an overview of what should be in your intra workout, let’s take a closer look at the most common intra workout ingredients.

BCAAs

The three branch chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine and valine.

These are by far the most important aminos for muscle growth.

They also fight fatigue and are used by the muscles as a source of fuel.

BCAA’s are unique in the amino acid world because they bypass the liver and go directly to your small intestine.

Here they are soaked up to go directly into the bloodstream and your muscles to build more muscle.

BCAA’s also work to blunt the catabolic effects of cortisol, which is heightened during the stress of training.

Among other things, cortisol lowers your levels of testosterone, interfering with your body’s ability to drive new muscle growth.

BCAA’s will bring your cortisol levels back down, allowing for the muscle building mechanism to kick in.

Of the three BCAA’s, leucine is the most important.

That’s why the clinically recommended dose is to have twice as much leucine as iso-leucine and valine ( a 2:1:1 ratio in favor of leucine).

Some intra workout formulas will only include leucine. That’s ok, because it is powerful enough to instigate protein synthesis by itself.​

When you take amino acids, such as BCAAs into your body while you are placing stress on your muscles through training, it is absorbed into your cells much faster than at any other time.

That’s why timing is critical.

Getting BCAA’s while you’re working out will halt the catabolic process and restart the rebuild of your muscle cells immediately.

BCAAs come in various forms. You can buy them as capsules, tablets or in powdered form.

They also come in drink mixes, which is probably the smartest way to take them intra workout.

They are micronized and instantized and all you have to do is stir them up with some water and then sip them into your system.​

Glutamine

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body.

It is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that your body can produce it by itself.

61% of your skeletal muscle is composed of glutamine. Glutamine is a key transporter of nitrogen throughout the body.

It is, in fact, the main way that nitrogen gets into your muscle cells. Nitrogen is the driver of muscle growth.

Being in a state of positive nitrogen balance will determine whether your body is in an anabolic (muscle building) or a catabolic (muscle depleting) state.

When you work out, you lose a lot of glutamine.

Heavy, frequent, intense training will actually remove the majority of this amino acid from your system.

After your workout, your body is in a glutamine depleted state. It will take up to 6 days for your glutamine levels to return to normal after just one heavy workout.

Therefore, if you are training intensely several times a week, you will be in a constant state of glutamine depletion.

Yet this amino acid is the most important substance that you need for recovery.

That is why you need to take a quality glutamine supplement while you are working out.

Supplementing with glutamine intra workout will significantly reduce the amount of glutamine that you lose as a result of your training.

Creatine

Creatine is made up of the three amino acids arginine, glycerine and methionine.

This makes it an amino acid supplement, rather than an individual amino acid.

It will boost creatine phosphate levels, which boosts ATP levels, delivering more training power and endurance.

Beta Alanine

Beta alanine is produced by the human body.

Despite this it has come to regarded as an essential non-essential micro-nutrient.

It’s main claim to fame is its ability to stimulate carnosine production.

So what?

Well, carnosine helps you to train a lot harder.

When you work out hard with weights, your body increases production of hydrogen ions.

These ions work against your muscle building efforts because they lower the levels of pH in the cell, causing muscular fatigue.

As a result, beta alanine is great for beating the effects of fatigue during the workout and stimulating recovery after the workout.

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline malate, a compound based upon the non-essential amino acid l-citrulline, has the ability to lower body fat levels and induce the body to increase its production of human growth hormone.

It’s popularity as a bodybuilding supplement that really works stems from it’s ability to decrease body fat and promote the release of human growth hormone, thus leading to enhanced muscle mass.

Citrulline also has the ability to maintain muscle mass strength while preventing muscle catabolism.

Citrulline has the added ability to convert Arginine to Nitric Oxide (NO).

NO has the ability to dilate your blood vessels.

This, in turns, increases blood volume to the working muscle, enhancing the pump effect while you’re training.

Dextrose

Dextrose is simply glucose, which is the simplest form of carbohydrate.

Being in such a simple form, your body doesn’t have to go through the process of breaking the carbs down before using them.

That makes it the ideal carb for intra workout supplementation.

Dextrose is a monosaccharide, which is about 70-80% as sweet as table sugar.

The glycemic index rating of dextrose is 100, which makes it extremely bioavailable.

Maltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide, or complex carbohydrate.

The most common source material is corn and potato starch.

Unlike most complex carbs, maltodextrin is able to break down rapidly.

That means that it is easily digestible and is able to be readily absorbed for energy.

The GI rating of maltodextrin is higher than dextrose, at 105.​

Vitargo

Vitargo is a patented complex carb that has become a popular ingredient in intra workout formulas.

The molecules that comprise Vitargo are much heavier than in most carbs, but it has a very low osmolality.

This means that is can pass through the stomach about 80% faster than dextrose.

This makes it a great workout choice, but be aware that it may bring on some stomach discomfort.

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are tiny chemicals that have an electric charge that stimulate certain bodily actions.

Such electrolytes as magnesium and potassium are used to assist hydration.

They will assist in keeping you hydrated during the workout, and so are useful additions to your intra workout formula.

What About Side Effects?

The last thing you want during your workout is to experience stomach distress or flatulence.

Fortunately, there are very few side effects related to intra workout supplements.

Of course, we’re all individuals who react differently to what we put into our system. However, the two most commonly experienced side effects are . . .

Tingling of the Outer Extremeties

A tingling sensation on the lips and outer extremeties is a common effect of beta alanine supplementation.

This is a completely normal and harmless reaction.

In fact, it is a sign that your supplement has been adequately dosed with beta alanine. Once your body gets used to beta alanine, the sensation will subside.

Bloating

Stomach bloating, flatulence or burping is a reaction that you may experience from creatine supplementation.

The effect is due to creatine’s ability to pull water into the muscle cell (that’s a good thing).

This can lead to a bloated water weight feeling among some people.

How Should You Take Your Intra Workout?

Obviously, these supplements are designed to be taken during your workout.

For that reason, you should mix your formulation with water in a shaker bottle before heading to the gym.

That will allow you to give it a quick shake periodically throughout the workout.

How you take your drink will depend on the length of your workout.

If your training will be all done within an hour, you can drink the whole thing down as you’re doing your warm up set.

This will allow the ingredients to take effect immediately.

If your workout duration is between one and two hours, you should take your intra workout about 30 minutes in.

This will infuse the ingredients in just as the catabolic process steps up. It will also provide enough time for all of the ingredients to kick into action.

Key Purchasing Considerations

Ingredient Profile – check the label against the list of ingredients above to determine if it’s got the goods.

Taste – Check online reviews to see what the consensus is. It doesn’t matter how great the ingredient profile is if you can’t stand the taste.

Mix – Online reviews will tell you how well it mixes. The last thing you want is to have down a clumpy mess during your workout.

Price – Rather than overall price, do the math to calculate the cost per serving. The ideal range is between $0.75-$1.50 per serve.

Key Points Summary:

  • Intra workout nutrition will extend training energy and endurance
  • Intra workout nutrition switches you from a catabolic to an anabolic state
  • Intra workout nutrition will allow you to maintain high levels of ATP, insulin, glycogen and BCAAs
  • BCAAs are a key ingredient
  • Fast acting carbs will provide instant training energy
  • Drink 1-2 liters of water during the workout
  • If your workout is less than an hour, take your intra workout at the start
  • If your workout is 1-2 hours long, take it after 30 minutes
  • You should pay between $0.75-$1.50 per serve

Sources

Cribb, Paul J, Hayes, Alan, "Effects of Supplement-Timing and Resistance Exercise on Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(11). Pp. 1918-1925. ISSN 0195-9131, 1530-0315.

Haff, et al, "The effects of supplemental carbohydrate ingestion on intermittent isokinetic leg exercise, J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 2001, Jun:41(2): 216-22.

Ivy, John, and Portman, Robert, Nutrient Timing, The Future of Sports Nutrition, Basic Health Publications, Laguna Beach, 2004.

Tipton, et al, "Timing of amino-acid carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise." American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1 August 2001, Vol, 281 no.2, E197-E206 DOI:

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Nader Qudimat
Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulk smashes it into this puny site.

Being an ex-hardgainer, he has no choice but to keep training until he has surpassed in every way imaginable.

You can follow Nader on Twitter (@DieselFitt).

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