What is Intra-Workout?
We all know what pre-workout is by now. However, its less well-known brother, intra-workout, is often overlooked and can be just as important in maximizing the impact of your workouts.
What Does Intra-Workout Mean?
If something is “intra” it is found within something else. So intra-workout simply means within your workout. Much like you would take a pre-workout before hitting the gym, you would drink an intra-workout supplement whilst you are working out.
What is Intra-Workout?
Intra-workout supplements are usually mixed with water, much like pre-workout. However, the effects are vastly different. Whereas a pre-workout is jam-packed with energy and pump inducing compounds, intra-workout is designed to keep your body and muscles fueled during the workout.
Intra-workout is often made up of BCAA’s, EEA’s, electrolytes and simple carbohydrates. They have been used forever in long distance endurance sports like running and cycling. But, more recently, the worlds of weight training and bodybuilding are beginning to recognize their importance.
Why Should I Take Intra-Workout?
Your body, as much as you train it, can only store so much energy giving glycogen. When you exercise intensely, this glycogen gets used up insanely fast – within about an hour. So, when your glycogen stores run out, you burn out.
There is a reason why you see long-distance runners and cyclists sucking down those little gel packs mid-race. Those gel packs are rammed full of simple carbohydrates which act as easily burnable calories to keep them fueled.
Intra-workouts for weightlifters and bodybuilding are a much more refined science than sachets of sugary goop, however.
What is in Intra-Workout?
While most intra-workouts are slightly different from one another, they usually have the same few key ingredients that are essential for maximizing your workout potential. These include:
Branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essentially the building blocks of proteins within your muscles. They are normally supplemented to aid recovery and muscle building.
However, they are often used intra-workout because of the crucial role they play in preventing muscle catabolism. This is when your muscle tissue breaks down into amino acids to use as an energy source during long, high-intensity exercise sessions – IF you don’t fuel your muscles correctly.
Essential amino acids (EAAs) are the amino acids that drive protein synthesis. This is where your body uses protein to repair and rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged when you work out.
- Simple Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are carbs that can be broken down quickly and rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream. These are included as a direct energy source for your body as you exercise.
When you work out your body rapidly uses stored energy in the form of glycogen, which needs to be replaced otherwise it will begin to break down muscle tissue to use as energy – devastating for guys and girls trying to pile on some mass.
So, by consuming simple carbs during your workout, you keep your muscles fueled without running the risk of catabolism.
Examples of simple carbs are maltodextrin, dextrose or even just plain old glucose syrup (think back to the gel packs). Our own Intra Workout + contains Cluster Dextrin. Cluster Dextrin is an advanced and refined form of maltodextrin that has been formulated to provide sustained release of energizing sugars into the bloodstream without the normal spike in insulin levels.
Electrolytes are the electrical signal carriers in your body. They play an essential role in both keeping muscle tissue hydrates as well as being the energy pathways for muscle contraction.
When you sweat during a workout, you lose some of these electrolytes which need to be replaced if you want to keep going. The most useful of these electrolytes being sodium, magnesium and potassium.
Taurine is responsible for maintaining a balance of minerals in your cells – including the electrolytes mentioned above. This is why we contain both ingredients together in our PX1 Pre-Workout and our Intra-Workout +.
When you use a combination of electrolytes and taurine you ensure that you are keeping your muscles hydrated and firing on all cylinders ready for your next set!
Creatine is another amino acid found naturally in meat and fish. Creatine aids the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is primarily used for storing energy to be used in the contraction of muscles. So, by supplementing creatine, you can increase muscular energy stores meaning better endurance and increased recovery time.
Is Intra-Workout Necessary?
If you want to be able to sustain high-intensity levels for prolonged periods, an intra-workout is almost essential – yes! Your body is only able to sustain any activity level for so long before it needs refuelling.
Think of it like a car – you can sit there ticking over all day long without a problem, but if you’re foot to the floor you’re going to run out of fuel much, much faster!
If you’re doing any endurance sport or intense gym routine over an hour in length, we would 100% recommend you consider drinking an intra-workout to stop you burning and out and crashing!
If, however, you’re keeping your workouts short and sweet, say 30-45mins at a time – then an intra-workout wouldn’t be essential. That’s not to say it isn’t beneficial though, as many of the active ingredients play a part in recovery post-workout as well!