Reaching for gels, supplements, and sports drinks to push through a tough workout? You’re not alone: intra-workout energy boosts are extremely popular, with brands like Powerade and Gatorade now joined by hundreds of other brands of gels, powders, and boosts.


Intra-workout energy supplements are specifically formulated to help you beat the fatigue that can come during a tough workout, when your body is being pushed to the max.


While intra-workout supplements are undebatably helpful, are they actually healthy? And perhaps more importantly- should you take them?


Do I need an intra-workout energy boost?


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If you’re exercising for less than 120 minutes, probably not, and especially if you’re not engaging in high-intensity cardiovascular exercise for the majority of that time.


Intra-workout energy boosts were specifically designed for feats of high-intensity athleticism- and we’re not talking about using a stairclimber or running a few sets of intervals on a treadmill.


Brands like Gatorade, for example, got their start by formulating products designed to meet the needs of collegiate athletes (football, to be exact) exercising in high temperatures (Florida) for long periods of time. Because of the high degree of exertion, extreme heat and humidity, and other factors (uniform and reduced heat regulation), players were losing large amounts of sweat and fatiguing quickly thanks to low sodium concentrations.


Additionally, the large number of Calories being burned were reducing circulating glucose to the degree that players were not able to perform to their greatest capacity without additional intake of easily metabolized sugar. And hence, Gatorade was born- a beverage that replenished sugar and electrolytes.


Ever since, intra-workout energy boosts and sports drinks have been used to help fuel professional athletes on to greatness. Over time, however, regular consumers also began to purchase and consume these products as exercise aids.


While this may seem like a benign and even reasonable choice, using an intra-workout energy boost without any true physiological need may interfere with your goals for weight loss or maintenance: remember that intra-workout energy boosts are essentially just sugar, albeit with a little electrolyte thrown in. That means that if you opt to use an intra-workout gel, powder, or beverage, you’re negating some of the Calories burned during your workout.


While a mere 30-50 extra Calories may seem negligible, an extra 50 Calories a day amounts to an extra 5+ lbs in a single year- not worth it to make your workout a little easier.

So how do you know if you truly need an intra-workout energy boost?


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If you’re exercising for more than 90-120 minutes at a vigorous intensity (marathon or triathlon, etc) or if you’re exercising in high temperature or extreme humidity, you may benefit from a balanced boost with sugar and electrolytes. However, it’s always best to speak with your doctor or training team about your need for boosts and the best ones for you.

If you are looking for an intra-workout energy boost that provides your muscles with genuine fuel & not filler - look no further than Beyond BCAA! 

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