I was so convinced that the form of supplementation known as intra-workout nutrition was “game changing” that I decided to perform a mini experiment on myself in a 24-hour period. I purposely lowered my carb intake to minuscule amounts and began an upper-body depletion circuit. I trained with high volume, and conquered several sets per muscle for more than two hours. I was on a mission to deplete glycogen stores rapidly to capture a depleted “before” photo. I finished my workout at 9 p.m. and took photos of myself in the corner of my gym in specific lighting.
I remained carb-free the next day, until it was time to train. This go around, I implemented my intra-workout drink 15 minutes prior to beginning the same upper-body circuit. As I began training, I started to immediately fill out my muscles with blood, we’re talking rapidly! Keep in mind; I began sipping my 64-ounce drink 15 minutes before training so my blood was already primed with anabolic ammunition. I remember not being able to complete the same amount of sets as the muscle fullness was too great. Once again, I finished my workout around 9 p.m. and snapped photos in the same exact lighting, executing the same exact poses.
I am a very truthful person, and despise exaggeration, but the before and after shots for these photos was impressive—solely from a cosmetic point of view. When I showed people the comparisons, they thought it was a difference of a few months...not 24 hours!
I now prefer the designer glucose polymer highly branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD). This carbohydrate mixes better than amylopectin barley and does not send insulin levels skyrocketing nearly as high, potentially leaving you hypoglycemic mid-workout. Gastric emptying is expedited through the small intestine and taken into the bloodstream rapidly, allowing fast absorption, yet prolonged blood glucose levels and manageable insulin secretion is maintained.
I also still favor the use of essential amino acids in this formula, as research has shown that free-form amino acids combined with carbohydrates increase the protein synthetic response to resistance training.
OTHER IMPORTANT ADDITIVES IN MY CURENT DRINK
- Agmatine Sulfate: This by-product of l-arginine is everything that arginine has been claimed to do, and more. Increased nitric oxide production, enhanced nutrient partitioning, and stimulation of growth hormone and luteinizing hormone are some key benefits.
- Glutamine: Not much needs to be discussed about this popular amino acid, as most of you are familiar with the immune benefits, anti-catabolic properties, and, most important, gastrointestinal health protection. Research shows glutamine can protect healthy gut bacteria and salvage key amino acids from degradation in the GI tract.
- Creatine Gluconate: The creatine molecule binds to a glucose molecule to increase creatine uptake across cells. Think of the glucose molecule as a vehicle transport system for the creatine.
- Electrolytes: Electrolytes were added to offset muscle cramping and increase exercise performance from adequate cellular hydration.
IS POST-WORKOUT NUTRITION OBSOLETE? ABSOLUTLEY NOT.
The neat thing about partaking in intra-workout supplementation is that you have essentially flooded your body with muscle-building nutrients all throughout your workout, making it unnecessary to immediately chug down a protein shake after your last set of biceps curls. In fact, I personally wait around 45 minutes after I finish my intra-workout drink and ingest a whole food meal consisting of a lean protein source, such as white fish, and a fast-assimilating carb like jasmine rice.
I’ve been a big advocate of this intra-workout movement and recommend you give it a try to break through a plateau or improve your training sessions. I advise people to be in appropriate condition, meaning 10% body fat or less when experimenting with heavier carb-laden mixtures, with more than 100 grams of carbohydrates. If you are above this body fat, stick to 25–50g carbs per workout. Amino acid amounts need to be in the 20–30g range to really make the most of each drink per workout.
An intense leg or back workout will need more than the 6 grams of amino acids the studies demonstrate. - FLEX