There is a consensus on what you should have before and after your workout. This is underlined by the abundance of pre and post-workout formulas available in the market right now. The one facet of workout nutrition that is hardly addressed is that of intra-workout. What is the ideal drink to take, and does it affect your performance in any noticeable ways? Without much experimental data to verify any claims made by different experts, it is hard to subscribe to any one recommendation. But here is an insight into what is considered ideal.
For the uninitiated, or simply confused, water is the ideal drink to have during your workout. Assuming that your workouts are intensive enough to cause sweating, water will help replace these fluid losses. Hydration is particularly important since it keeps your muscles active. This need is clearly illustrated with how the body restricts its urine output in an attempt to conserve water. By taking it orally, you replace that which is lost through perspiration. Water is convenient, and readily available, so it ticks all the right boxes.
For some lifters however, what is, in a word, plain. It lacks taste, and does not account for the electrolyte losses that are also experienced during workouts. For these people, there are sports drinks and such. These however, attract more criticism than praise, with most healthcare professionals voicing their disapproval. While they replenish electrolyte and provide additional sugar they contain other ingredients are undesirable during a workout.
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There are intra-workout supplements designed to be taken during the workout. These contain fast digesting carbs and proteins. The theory is they provide you with energy to keep you powered all through an intensive session. The logic is solid, but also flawed. The problem with taking anything that needs to be broken down and absorbed is that it reroutes some of that metabolic energy to your digestive system. This means your muscles don’t get maximum attention which could affect your performance. In addition, digestion is a very intensive process, regardless of the simplicity of the nutrients taken. When it occurs as you workout, the results are not desirable. Some lifters report feeling bloated if they take these shakes. This puts a strain on their workout sessions.
Intra-workout drink – which one is the winner- water or intra-workout supplements?
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Water, therefore, retains the title for the best intra-workout drink. Should you worry that this denies you an opportunity to load up on nutrients, remember that your pre-workout shake is in action. Regardless of what you settle for, a meal or a protein or carbohydrate supplement, it will keep you energized throughout your workout. Keep in mind that your muscles also have glycogen reserves so you should be energized for an hour or so before you start feeling any burnout.
Your electrolytes can be replenished after your workout is complete. Post workout nutrition puts an emphasis on adequate hydration and protein/carbohydrate intake to initiate the recovery. Water, in this case, is insufficient as it provides no nutritional benefits. Creatine, casein, whey and maltodextrin, and dextrose supplements are in many ways more ideal.
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