Does The Workout Supplementation Works

What you consume pre- and post-workout is important. But to maximize your exercise performance, improve recovery, and decrease muscle damage, there’s another window of opportunity you may be missing.

Intra-workout supplementation.

Intra-workout supplementation is the scientific-sounding name for supplementation taken during your workout. So how important is it—and does it make a difference?

Given all the hype-driven product-pushing that exists these days, you might wonder if this is just another marketing-invented category of supplements with no real benefit.

The truth is, intra-workout supplementation is rooted in scientific data and highly beneficial to anyone looking to accelerate their progress and boost their recovery.

If you’ve been too skeptical to ever try an intra-workout supplement, or if you’ve tried an improperly formulated product, it’s time to learn what intra-workout supplementation is and why it works.

HOW INTRA-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTATION HAS EVOLVED

Intra-workout supplementation started out as drinking water and staying hydrated, and that’s still absolutely essential for high performance. But, in the hopes of further improving performance and recovery, people started to explore other options for what they could drink during workouts beyond plain water.

Sports scientists began to research carbohydrates, adding different types and concentrations to water. They looked at how the human body metabolizes carbohydratesand measured performance outcomes and absorption rates into the blood.

The results: Adding carbohydrates to water—In specific ratios to avoid digestive discomfort—was more effective than drinking water alone.

Unfortunately, this area of sports nutrition stagnated for the next 30 years. At the time, sports performance nutrition science was a new concept and very slow to grow. Athletes, coaches, and nutritionists were also typically unfamiliar with exercise physiology and uneducated on the topic of supplementation.

Because of that lack of understanding, intra-workout supplementation was generally oversimplified. During training, the human body’s most efficient fuel sources are muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrates in the muscle), liver glycogen (stored carbohydrate in the liver), and glucose (sugar in the blood).

Both fat and protein are less efficient energy sources. With this knowledge, many people simply relied on carbohydrates for mid-workout energy, due to the common misconception that anything else would be less effective.

While technically true, this belief was too narrow in focus. Intra-workout supplementation involves a lot of other factors. To gain a more advanced understanding, those in the sports nutrition industry needed to ask (and answer) many more questions.

It wasn’t until the early to mid-1990s that this area of sports science experienced a renewed interest. Sports scientists began to study key research areas, such as:

  • The effect on our muscles’ structural protein components when they get worked out and overloaded.
  • How our muscles are broken down and how they can optimally build back up during the recovery process.
  • Other types of fatigue that are not caused by lack of carbohydrates and how to address them.
  • How different types of training and different nutritional needs should be taken into consideration when making intra-workout recommendations.

Carbohydrates improve performance and recovery, but they aren’t the only option—and they are often not the optimal one. To look beyond carbohydrates, we’ll explore the benefits of amino acids taken during a workout.