I used to think the term BCAA(branch chain amino acids) was synonymous to an intra workout drink. Yes the same heavily marketed BCAA’s which have amazing flavors and are pushed by supplement stores.
But my ACSM certification in nutrition has helped me understand what to look for in an Ideal Intra Workout Drink.
Firstly , I am not against using BCAA’s but most people treat them as purely an intra workout drink without understanding what they are made of and meant for. This lack of knowledge has many implications in the long run.
The Scientific Breakdown of BCAA
Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are the building blocks of protein. These are essential for muscle growth and recovery, and can be consumed throughout the day. Having them together with a high protein diet leads to excessive uric acid which is detrimental to bone health.
Treating BCAA as an intra workout drink(if managed well with the protein you take daily) is not wrong, but during a workout your body needs some other elements to enhance performance and prevent dehydration.
Here is what your body requires during a workout.
Components of an Ideal Intra Workout Drink
During a workout your body needs instant energy as it has to undergo excessive stress. For this a high glycemic carbohydrate is ideal. (something which immediately provides energy, without much need to be broken down). The simplest and fastest dissolving form of Carbohydrate is glucose. Thus glucose should be one of the components of an ideal intra workout drink.
The body looses water in the form of perspiration(sweating) during a workout. Along with sweat, the body also loses essential salts, which need to be replaced. Here are some of them and their functions..
3. Tonicity- Water enters and exits body cells by the process of osmosis. Wherein it travels from its higher concentration to its lower concentration through the semi permeable cell wall. In simple words water moves from a solution where it is present in abundance to the solution where it is lesser. This is maintained by the electrolytes mentioned above.
Based upon the tonicity drinks can be classified in to :
- Isotonic sport drinks contain similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body.
- Hypertonic sport drinks contain a higher concentration of salt and sugar than the human body.
- Hypotonic sport drinks contain a lower concentration of salt and sugar than the human body.
The best suited among these for your intra workout drink is an isotonic drink.
Why Drinking Water is Not enough?
Pure water is not an ideal intra workout drink as it might help you quench thirst but it will not ensure proper hydration. Water provides no sodium, which helps the body hold onto water and helps fluid get to the right places in the body, like muscles and blood.
What do I recommend?
There are a number of ways in which you can make an isotonic drink at home. But I choose to use Enerzal . As it has all the essential elements of an ideal intra workout drink.
Do give it a try and no they dint pay me for saying this, yet.