GAIN MUSCLE

10 Best Intra Workout Supplements For Cutting / Bulking [2021 Buying Guide: BCAAs, EAAs, Carbs]

by Nader Qudimat
Updated October 11, 2021
  • BEST OVERALL

    INTRA BY TRANSPARENT LABS 
    Improves performance
    Big EAA servings
    Includes 150mg ElevATP
  • BEST FOR RECOVERY

    Formula XII by Huge Nutrition
    Best for gaining size
    Increases muscle size and nitric oxide
    Big servings with 30 day supply
    CHECK IT OUT

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…

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

Most intra supplements are a waste of money.

And you probably don't need BCAA's if you aren't in a caloric deficit and trying to prevent muscle breakdown. 

If you are cutting, then you'll benefit using an intra as it can help prevent muscle breakdown.

Let's dig right into it…

Best Intra Workout Supplements for Gains

VO2 ENHANCING 2

Bomba by ASC Supplements

Ingredients:

3g Leucine, 1.5g Isoleucine, 1.5g Valine, 300mg Lysine, 300mg Threonine, 300mg Phenylalanine, 20mg Tryptophan, 25mg Histidine, 25mg Methionine, 1g Taurine, 500mg Coconut Water Powder, 1g PeakO2, 100mg Spectra Total Orac Blend, 25mg Astragin

When you're looking for an intra workout, ASC Supplement has an effective one here.

You can say it's the bomb, because it uses over 7g EAAs, including BCAAs, muscle soreness will be down even after your hardest workouts.

It has more than your average intra workout though.

After the usual amino acids, it also has 1g taurine, 500mg coconut water, 1g PeakO2 and 100mg Spectra..

The combination of these ingredients will result in superior hydration, pumps, and increased performance.

Bomba features ingredients that are typically used in a pre workout, like 1g taurine and 1g PeakO2.

PeakO2 is an interesting ingredient though and you'll appreciate it more after knowing the benefits of it.

This ingredient is a cordyceps-based ingredient that is made in a blend of mushrooms.

One study found consuming just 1.3g grams of this mushroom blend produced higher peak power output, reduced fatigue and increased performance.

And it doesn't end there.

PeakO2 contains mushrooms that can optimize testosterone production and decrease estrogen levels.

This ingredient alone is worthy of making Bomba one of the best for increasing workout performance.

The rest of the blend features hydration enhancers and they'll also help increase muscle size as taurine is known to help pull in more water between muscle cells.

If you're committed to your workouts and need the extra edge, then Bomba is a useful addition

Use coupon code FITFREK.

Contains potent mushrooms for performance
Multiple hydrating ingredients
Increases performance
None
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BEST FOR BULKING

Formula XII by Huge Supplements

Ingredients: 

10g Cluster Dextrin, 5g Creatine Monohydrate, 5g ModCarb, 3.2g Beta Alanine, 3g Betaine Anhydrous, 2g L-Ornithine HCl, 150mg Potassium Citrate, 125mg Grape Seed Extract, 100mg Alpha Lipoic Acid, 5mg Bioperine

When I first started lifting, I had a hard time gaining weight. 

Eventually, after struggling for months, I invested into an intra workout, called Cell-Tech. 

It was basically creatine combined with carbs, BCAA's and more.

After some weeks of using this supplement, I had gained easily at least 5lbs and I had stretch marks all over my arms from the sudden size gain. 

Jump to today, we have a better supplement that features a similar profile but with huge doses. 

This is actually one of the best muscle building supplements you can get if you want to gain size in the shortest time possible. 

Featuring 15g from 2 sources of carbs, Formula VII uses 4 big muscle builders at clinical doses.

The tingles here are going to be noticeable because of the 3.2g beta alanine, and the 3g betaine anhydrous is what was used in studies that prove this to be an effective muscle builder. 

The 2g ornithine will help with size because of it's nitric oxide benefits, and ammonia fighting properties. 

It uses antioxidants as well of 125mg Grape Seed Extract and 100mg alpha lipoic acid. 

Alpha lipoic acid will help metabolize the big amount of carbs featured in this intra.

If you're struggling to put on weight, or need to take your workouts to the next level then you'll likely find Formula VII to be an excellent addition to your supplement arsenal. 

Use coupon code FITFREK. 

The best cocktail of muscle builders for skinny guys
Big mix of ingredients for size and gains
Massive 30 servings
Increases size and pumps near instantly
Prop blends
Can affect sleep quality
CHECK IT OUT
GAINS & HYDRATION 

The Grind by Axe & Sledge

Ingredients:
2.5g EAAs, 5g BCAAs, 2.5g Glutamine, 1g Coconut Water, 1g Betaine, 1g Ornithine AKG

Axe & Sledge is well known for making supplements that serve the hardest workers in the gym. 

When you see a supplement from them, there's no question it will be 110% effective and they continue to innovate with high quality formula's. 

The Grind contains 7.5g BCAA's, 2.5g glutamine and 1g coconut water powder. 

This is just the first part of it and you should expect amazing hydration and increased recovery from it. 

But it gets better. 

The next 2 ingredients are 1g betaine and 1g ornithine AKG. 

Betaine is all over pre workouts but you likely haven't had this in a intra workout because it's an expensive for companies to use. 

Betaine is an excellent ergogenic that has benefits for increasing lean mass, endurance, strength and workout performance. 

It's one of the strongest muscle builders, and it works well if you're taking it with creatine. 

The only downside, is that it's dosed at 2g instead of the clinical 2.5g but since it's likely in your pre workout, it shouldn't matter and it's rare to see this in an intra workout. 

It's not over yet. 

Ornithine AKG is the last ingredient and it works similarly as citrulline, in that it can increase nitric oxide production. 

It works by bonding itself with ammonia to create citrulline. 

But it doesn't just stop as a nitric oxide booster. 

It can remove ammonia from the body, like how beta alanine can.

 By doing this, you'll feel less fatigued during workouts and have more nitric oxide produced during your workouts. 

The Grind will leave you pumped, less sore and feeling stronger. 

We're not about the flavors but Axe & Sledge has some of the best flavoring systems in the industry and they get creative with it as they have more than 8 exotic flavors. 

Use coupon code FITFREK.

Increases muscle growth and hydration
Decreases fatigue
Made for the hardest workers in the gym, literally
Underdosed betaine
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GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS

BCAA by Transparent Labs

Ingredients:
8g BCAA, 5g Glutamine, 1g Coconut Water Powder

Transparent Labs has made a well-deserved reputation for themselves as a top company with 100% label transparency.

In fact, they rival NutraBio when it comes to disclosing virtually everything that’s on their label.

Of course, their products are more than just a label, they make very high quality products that are clinically dosed.

BCAA Glutamine is the perfect example.

It’s a simple formula that’s dosed well and gets  the job done.

There’s only 5 ingredients – you won’t find anything exotic here, but it has what you need to get the results you want.

This is a basic, no frills BCAA formula – 4 full grams of leucine (there’s no underdosing here!) with 2 grams each of isoleucine and valine for a total of 8 grams and it’s in the proven 2:1:1 ratio.

There’s a solid 5 grams of glutamine, and 1 gram of coconut water for hydration.

Simple – but dosed right!

You’re getting 30 servings for a slightly above average price, but with quality this good, you can’t go wrong.

If you’re looking for something more exotic, this isn’t it, but if what you need is a basic BCAA, you can’t beat Transparent Labs.

Or if you want their Intra, which has EAA's citrulline malate, ElevATP, then check it out here.

Take advantage our discount code FITFREK.

Simple formula for muscle building and recovery
Enhances recovery and muscle growth
Generous dose of BCAA at 8 grams
None
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HYDRATING

Gain-O-Raid by Alpha Lion

Ingredients:
6g BCAAs, 4g EAAs, 2g Taurine, 1g Raw Coconut Water, 500mg Calcium, 250mg AquaMin, 50mg Astragin

If you've seen our other rankings, then you've probably learned by now that we love Alpha Lion. 

This beast of a company runs wild with their formulas in an intelligent way.

Gain-O-Rade features a unique formula that will help enhance recovery, increase immune function and optimize the body's basic functions.

The dosages here are monstrous. 

It starts with 6g BCAA, this alone can help increase recovery and elevate muscle protein synthesis, meaning you'll experience more muscle growth and be able to come back to the gym fully recovered. 

It also has 4g EAA's, which makes it a total of 10g EAA's when you're also counting BCAA's.

This is more than the average intra workout and certainly it has even more than what was used in clinical studies proving this category of supplements. 

On top of that, there's 2g taurine and 1g raw coconut water.

Consuming both of these will help you stay hydrated because it replaces the lost water that your body uses during workouts. 

It's also a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. 

Coconut water is another potent rehydration ingredient, mostly by maintaining electrolyte levels, and it works better than other electrolytes. 

To top it off, Calci-K, a patented blend of calcium, potassium and phosphorus. These minerals can help keep those electrolyte levels at optimal levels.

And AquaMin is a super bioavailable natural mineral that is sourced from red sea algae. 

That (and taurine) have antioxidant and anti inflammatory benefits as well.  

Bioavailability is increased too with the help of Astragin, which works like BioPerine in that it can help your body absorb the other nutrients it's consumed with. 

Gain-O-Rade attacks hydration and helps build muscle with multiple angles. 

There's a reason why this brand is the lion of supplements!

Use coupon code FITFREK.

Contains a big 10g serving of amino acids
Provides hydration from multiple angles
None
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RECOVERY & STRENGTH

Intra Blast by Nutrabio

Ingredients:
10g BCAA/EAA, 5g Glutamine, 2g Betaine Anhydrous, 1g Ornithine OKG, 2g Taurine, 525mg Cali K, 157mg Sodium Phosphate, 140mg Di-Magnesium Malate

NutraBio has been creating high quality and keeping high standards since 1998. 

You can't go wrong if you're serious about increasing performance when choosing NutraBio. 

It features patented compounds for recovery, hydration and pumps

The BCAA's are fermented, which is combined with 3.8g EAA's for the ultimate anabolic intra drink. 

As you've noticed, glutamine has a love / hate relationship with the supplement industry. 

One one hand, it is necessary to have enough glutamine as your levels decrease when you workout, but on the other hand, it's easy to get it from foods and absorption is a common issue with it. 

However, NutraBio is keeping high standards by using Kyowa Quality glutamine. 

Kyowa Quality glutamine is pure and vegetarian so the absorption should be better than regular glutamine. 

Rarely, you'll see ornithine OKG in this category of supplements but when you do, then you'll know it's going to be good. 

NutraBio added a full gram of ornithine OKG here, this ingredient can increase nitric oxide, decrease ammonia levels and can help you push out more reps while delaying fatigue. 

The combination of the the pure minerals, and coconut water is going to help hydration from all fronts. 

If you're an elite athlete, you need to break records or you're simply trying to take it to the next level, then you'll appreciate consuming Intra Blast in your workouts for it's pure and use of patented ingredients at mega doses. 

Big dose of amino acids
Contains big doses for muscle building
Well reputated company
None
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JOINT SUPPORT 

All Day You May by Rich Piana 5% Nutrition

Ingredients:
6g BCAAs, 2.8g Blend (Glutamine, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine), 1.5g Blend (Creatinol-O-Phosphate, Beta Alanine), 960mg Hydration  Blend (Taurine, Coconut Water, And More), 600mg Joint Support Blend

Rich Piana has paved the way for billboard sized bodybuilders with his incredible size and dedication. 

While he didn't get big to compete, he did it for passion.

His 5% Nutrition company is for those types of people, people who want to take it to the next level. 

All Day You May is the only intra we've found to feature a joint support blend, and if you want to prevent the tear down of your joints, you would be happy to have this blend in your intra workout. 

The downside is that everything is in prop blends.

But the upside is that each scoop is a massive 20 gram serving, with about 25 servings, more than enough to last you a month, like most intra workouts. 

Use coupon code FITFREK. 

Includes joint support
Enhances recovery and muscle growth
Big servings
None
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TIME TESTED 

Xtend by Scivation

Ingredients:
3.5g Leucine, ​1.75g Isoleucine, 1.75g Valine,2.5g Glutamine, 1g Citrulline Malate

Xtend is one of the first companies to bring popularity to intra workout supplements.

Since the day it came out, it's featured the same science based formula of 7g BCAA's, 2.5g glutamine, and 1g citrulline. 

This simple formula is perfect if you just want a potent supplement for hydration, recovery and muscle growth. 

However if you're a skinny guy, you may want to look for another intra workout with carbs and a bit more ergogenic aids. 

Having only 2.5g glutamine per scoop means you need take multiple scoops to get the full benefits.

While this isn't a true disadvantage but it's something to consider if you're looking getting the most bang for your buck.   

This is also fantastic for weight loss as it doesn't have any calories and it has just what you need to prevent muscle loss. 

Use coupon code FITFREK.

Time tested amino acid
Trustworthy company
Requires multiple doses
CHECK IT OUT
BEST FOR CUTTING

BCAA by Huge Nutrition

Ingredients:
8g BCAAs, 2.1 EAAs, 5g Glutamine, 750mg Coconut Water Powder

Huge Nutrition is a fast growing company with supplements we can proudly recommend. 

Not only do they have well formulated supplements but the labels are completely transparent with clinical dosages.

BCAA is their dedicated supplement.

It contains 8g BCAA's, and 5g glutamine, 2.1g EAA's and 750mg coconut water powder. 

Coconut water powder is an excellent ingredient for flavoring but it's here because it has many benefits for hydration, increasing endurance and workout performance. 

Glutamine is one of the ingredients you would see a lot of back in the day, especially in pre workouts

It has a reputation for assisting with recovery,  the science behind is a bit weak when it's supplemented because it's easy to get enough glutamine from diet. 

Foods like seafood, eggs, protein powders are typically rich in glutamine. 

When you exercise, your glutamine levels tend to drop, and getting enough of it will help with gut health, inflammation and immune function.  

So getting this in a BCAA supplement isn't a bad idea but it isn't a must have. 

If you're not cutting and trying to put on size, then Formula XII is a better choice.

Use discount code FITFREK. 

Big 10 gram serving of BCAA's
Increased recovery and muscle gains
None
CHECK IT OUT
SIZE & ENERGY

Intra by Core Nutritionals

Ingredients:
3.5g Leucine, 1.75g Isoleucine, 1.75 Valine, 2.9g EAAs, 10g Cluster Dextrin, 6g Dextrose, 5g D-Ribose, 3.2g Beta Alanine, 2g GlycerSize

If you're looking for muscle gains, like really nasty size gains along with pumps and natural energy, then Intra by Core Nutritionals is for you. 

This formula is huge and it will make you, well, huge. 

Using 10g cluster dextrin, 6g dextrose and 5g d-ribose.

These 3 carb sources are high quality and have their own set of benefits. 

D-Ribose for example is a natural pentose carbohydrate that can directly increase energy and physical performance. 

When these 3 carbs are combined with creatine, you'll create a synergistic blend of potent muscle building ingredients that will bump up your size in a matter of weeks. 

And there's even 3g beta alanine, which is clinically dosed, and that will also help delay fatigue while increasing workout performance. 

The 2g GlycerSize will help with pumps, it can draw in more water into muscle cells, resulting in a more swole and fuller look. 

For maximum muscle growth, there's te addition of 10g EAA's, including BCAA's. 

Intra by Core is a supplement made for muscle gains, especially if you're a skinny guy (or gal). 

Use coupon code FITFREK.

Strong mix of nitric oxide boosters
Multiple carb sources for performance and gains
Full clinical dose of beta alanine
None
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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.

​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.

Get BCAA’s in the 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.

Don't buy into the big claims like increase your weight by 20lbs in 30 days, etc. 

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?

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.​

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
 

Best Intra Ingredients for Muscle Gains

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:

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.

Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.

Click here to check out his 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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