Wet Your Whistle While You Work (Out)

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Mom always said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, Mom was wrong. Sure, breakfast is a critical time to fuel your body properly, but there is no more important time of the day to consume the right nutrients at the right time than around workouts. We know that we’re preaching to the choir. And if you’ve been paying attention to our advice, then you should already have your preworkout and postworkout shakes in order.

But have you thought about what to consume during the actual workout? There’s no doubt that the occasional trip to the water fountain will keep you hydrated, but water alone is not going to improve your performance at the gym. A well-planned intraworkout shake, however, will. No matter your ultimate goal, the nutrients you consume while working out can make a world of difference in the results you get.

Mass Gain

Goal: Mass Gain

We hate to break it to you, but if you’re that person who doesn’t gain a pound regardless of how much food you eat, then you’re a hardgainer. We know, it’s not exactly a complimentary label. But the good news is that you can eat virtually anything you want and not gain body fat, and the better news is that we have a solution that will help you gain some muscle. Get a 32-ounce shaker cup and sip on this shake while you pound the iron.

Keep in mind this shake should be taken in addition to your preworkout and postworkout shakes. It may seem like an overabundance of nutrients, but then that’s your problem as a hardgainer — you can’t consume enough nutrients to build size. The period before, during and after workouts is when these anabolic nutrients are sure to go toward muscle growth. Trust us: This shake has a proven track record, and we’ve heard from those who have followed it that they’ve gained as much as 10 pounds in one month.

The Recipe

  • 32 ounces water
  • 15 to 20 grams whey protein
  • 1 to 5 grams creatine
  • 5 grams branched-chain amino acids
  • 5 grams glutamine
  • 35 to 50 grams GenR8 Vitargo

The Reasons

Whey Protein: The problem with training is that not only does it stimulate the processes that lead to muscle growth after the workout is over, but it also uses critical essential amino acids for energy during the workout. Getting a steady hit of aminos while you train prevents your body from stealing them from your muscles, so you always have ample aminos to build muscle.

Creatine: Having creatine present during a workout is important for three main reasons: more energy, greater strength and a bigger pump during the workout. Creatine provides the quick energy needed for weightlifting, allowing you to complete more reps with a given weight and lift more weight within a given rep range. It also draws more water into the muscle cells to create a bigger pump, which not only makes you look impressive, but the swelling that it causes in muscle cells also places a stretch on the muscle membranes that signals the muscle to grow bigger permanently.

Glutamine:This amino acid is critical for numerous reasons. For starters, it helps to maintain levels of the branched-chain amino acid leucine in muscle fibers during workouts. It also boosts growth-hormone levels, which can help you build more muscle size and strength, as well as burn more fat. It buffers acid levels to help you recover faster between sets, and it also pulls water into muscle cells to enhance the pump. During intense workouts, glutamine tends to be depleted from muscles because it’s needed for fuel by the intestines, so taking it during workouts can be critical.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids:The BCAAs are the most critical aminos for muscle growth. Leucine, in particular, acts like a key that turns on muscle protein synthesis. During workouts, however, all three BCAAs are used for fuel by the muscle, leaving less to stimulate muscle growth. So getting an ample dose during workouts is critical to keep energy levels up and to maximize muscle growth. Although whey protein is rich in BCAAs, getting in extra from a BCAA supplement ensures you have plenty of them for maximal results.

Vitargo:This complex carbohydrate is unique in the fact that it is fast digesting — faster, even, than pure glucose. This is because it is formed from a bunch of glucose branches that break apart almost immediately in the digestive tract. Taking it during workouts not only provides fuel to keep you going strong but also keeps levels of the anabolic hormone insulin high to stimulate muscle growth.

Goal: Lean Muscle Growth and/or Strength

Gaining lean muscle and strength while keeping fat off is a tough task. Gaining anything requires providing the body with excess energy to expend, but if you take in too much energy (i.e., calories), your body will store it as body fat. An intraworkout shake can help you keep muscle gains moving forward without fat gains doing the same. The trick is to focus on amino acids that promote muscle building and strength gains without inhibiting fat burning during the workout.

The Recipe

  • 20 to 32 ounces water
  • 5 grams BCAAs
  • 5 grams glutamine

The Reasons

BCAAs: Sipping on a drink rich in the branched-chain amino acids leucine, valine and isoleucine during workouts will keep you anabolic without inhibiting fat burning. Leucine will keep muscle protein synthesis turned on, while the combination of the three will keep energy levels maxed throughout the workout to maximize training intensity and strength. They will also blunt levels of the catabolic hormone cortisol, which can influence muscle breakdown and inhibit testosterone’s anabolic actions. One study presented at the 2009 International Society of Sports Nutrition annual conference reported that trained bodybuilders consuming a drink rich in BCAAs during workouts significantly increased their gains in muscle size and strength while simultaneously losing body fat.

Glutamine: This amino acid has been shown to instigate muscle protein synthesis by preserving more leucine in muscle fibers. Glutamine also raises growth-hormone levels, which further promotes muscle growth and strength gains during workouts. Plus, it buffers muscles’ acid levels, which can rise and cause fatigue. Want proof? In the study discussed above, the drink the athletes were given during their workouts also included glutamine.

Fat Loss

Goal: Fat Loss

To maximize fat loss, you need to make sure that you’re providing your body with enough energy to train with adequate intensity but not so much that you prevent your body from being a fat-burning machine. That’s often easier said than done because your body only maximizes fat burning when you don’t supply it with any nutrients. Fortunately, there are a few supplements that you can use during workouts to keep energy up and fat burning maxed out.

The Recipe

  • 20 to 32 ounces water
  • 4 to 5 grams silk amino acids
  • 5 grams glutamine

The Reasons

Silk Amino Acids: As the name implies, silk amino acids are derived from the protein in silk. The protein is hydrolyzed to produce polypeptides (short protein chains) comprised mainly of the amino acids alanine, glycine, serine, valine and threonine. Research shows that supplementing with silk amino acids enhances exercise-induced fat loss while simultaneously promoting greater muscle growth. Plus, silk amino acids have been shown to increase exercise endurance by more than 100 percent. That can help you train harder for longer to further encourage greater fat loss.

Glutamine: While glutamine is important for muscle growth, it also can encourage greater fat burning during workouts via two separate mechanisms. The first is by boosting growth-hormone levels. While everyone associates growth hormone with its anabolic properties, few realize that it is also a powerful lipolytic agent. That means it liberates fat from fat cells to be burned for fuel. Because energy demands are high during exercise, there’s no better time to free up fat. The second way is by increasing the number of calories burned during exercise. A higher metabolic rate and more fat released to be burned during exercise is the perfect recipe for overall body-fat loss.

Endurance

Goal: Maximum Endurance

When your goal is to maximize endurance during a workout or competition, the bottom line is energy. You need to provide your muscles with dual sources of fuel: a steady flow of glucose and amino acids.

The Recipe

  • 32 ounces water
  • 20 to 30 grams fast-digesting carbs
  • 5 grams BCAAs
  • 4 to 5 grams silk amino acids

The Reasons

Fast-Digesting Carbs: During exercise, one of the primary fuel sources your muscles use is glucose. A good portion of this glucose comes from stores of glycogen (simply a bunch of glucose molecules branched together) in muscle fibers. Once muscle glycogen levels dip, fatigue sets in, and you suddenly feel like you’re moving in slow motion. Supplying muscles with a steady dose of glucose to use for energy spares muscle glycogen stores and keeps energy levels high. There’s no better way to do this than sip on shake that provides fast-digesting carbs like dextrose (glucose), maltodextrin (a chain of glucose molecules that rapidly breaks down) or Vitargo.

BCAAs: These three amino acids — leucine, isoleucine and valine — are valuable for muscle growth and also for muscle endurance, for two reasons. First, they’re used as fuel by muscles, which further spares muscle glycogen levels. And second, valine competes for uptake by the brain with the amino acid tryptophan, and wins. That means that, in the presence of ample valine, less tryptophan is taken up by the brain during exercise. Because tryptophan is converted into serotonin, which induces fatigue during exercise, having lower tryptophan and serotonin levels means less fatigue.

Silk Amino Acids: The SAAs — alanine, glycine, serine, valine and threonine — are produced by hydrolyzing protein from silk. Research has shown that supplementing with them directly improves endurance, increasing exercise time to exhaustion by more than double.