Today we’re going to be following on from part one of our three-part series covering peri-workout nutrition, covering what to include in your intra-workout drink.

Before we get down to business please understand that there is no real need to purchase many supplements beyond a basic whey protein powder and perhaps some creatine; you will get more than enough ‘newbie gains’ for the first couple of years without having to complicate things.

Zero Hour: Your Workout Rocket Fuel

If you’ve made use of our pre-workout nutrition guide then you’ll have set foot in the gym with a well balanced meal in your gut and you will have started sipping on your intra-workout drink.

By now you’re wondering what exactly is in that drink so we won’t keep you in suspense any longer:

  • 5 – 10g BCAA
  • 20 – 30g Hydrolyzed Whey / Casein
  • 25 – 75g Highly-Branched Cyclic Dextrins or HBCD
  • 25 – 75g Potato Starch
  • 5g Creatine Monohydrate
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1 – 2L water

The actual quantities used is subject to some experimentation and will depend on your bodyweight as well as the duration of your workout; for small body parts such as arms and shoulders you can halve the quantities.

Why These Ingredients?

The free form amino acids (BCAA) or hydrolyzed proteins require essentially no digestion, meaning that you are getting as close to an intravenous supply of aminos as possible without actually injecting them directly into your bloodstream!

This constant supply of amino acids, particularly L-leucine in BCAA, will help to stimulate protein synthesis and offset any potential catabolic effects of hard training.

Low-osmalarity carbohydrates such as potato starch and especially HBCD (including brands like Glycofuse by Gaspari Nutrition) are also absorbed incredibly rapidly, and their high molecular weight allows them to essentially bypass the gut and get into the muscle tissues far more rapidly than any other carb source.

You may be familiar with waxy maize starch, another carb with a high molecular weight, but this isn’t nearly as effective as the two carb sources mentioned above.

Creatine monohydrate and sea salt are included to maximize cell swelling and volumization by pumping your muscles as full of fluid as possible.

Remember that your bloodstream will be chock full of amino acids and glucose, so anything we can do to get that nutrient-rich blood to your muscles is going to illicit a greater hypertrophic response.

What’s more, cell swelling is an important component in muscle hypertrophy; perhaps even more so than the actual muscle tissue damage incurred through each exercise[1][2].

Stay Tuned

This concludes part two of a three-part workout nutrition series so look out for part three where we’ll be dispelling the myth of the post-workout ‘anabolic window’ and showing you exactly what to eat in your post-workout meal!

[1] Haussinger D, Hallbrucker C, vom DS, Lang F, Gerok W. Cell swelling inhibits proteolysis in perfused rat liver. Biochem J 1990;272:239-42.


SEE ALSO: Peri-Workout Protocol Part 3: Post Workout Nutrition