Do I really need an intra-workout supplement?

Whether or not you actually need an intra-workout supplement depends on your unique situation and daily routine. Supplements are made to aid you in your daily routine and goals. Many people overlook the importance of diet and nutrients when they’re at the gym, without the proper fuel your body will not be able to grow or change, hindering your progress. If you’re looking to lose weight, your diet may be lacking essential nutrients for proper execution of the workouts required to change your body. The other side of this besides just proper nutrients is how intra-workout supplements can help you push yourself to new limits. The importance of why you might want to start taking an intra-workout supplement is discussed in more detail in the paragraphs below.

Essential Nutrients

Some intra-workout supplements offer essential nutrients that are needed for a healthy functional body. If your diet is in check and you’re meeting all of your micro-nutrients ( things like vitamins, fiber, etc) then you may not need to take any additional supplements since you are getting everything from food. The main ingredient and attraction towards intra-workout supplements are the use of branch-chain amino acids. BCAAS are three amino acids with similar structures that can beneficially influence the muscles. Again, the supplementation of these are not necessary with proper nutrition from diet, but they have potential to benefit the body when taken at a certain period, like before, during, and after your workouts. If you need more nutrients in your diet, an intra-workout supplement with a good dose of BCAAs is your best bet.

As mentioned above, the harder you workout, or the more often you change your diet, the more and more your body will crave proper nutrition and fuel. Addition to intra-workout supplements having BCAAs, many of them are made and formulated with the ingredient citrulline. Citrulline is a standalone dietary supplement, but usually incorporated into workout supplements, used for its performance and cardiovascular health properties. Citrulline is one of those supplements that has a lot of research behind it, so it is definitely worth finding an intra-workout supplement with citrulline if you want to increase your overall cardiovascular health, among other health benefits. Glutamine is also a common supplement used in intra-workouts, its made naturally within the body, but if you lack proper nutrition, then having this extra peace of support is necessary for optimal results. All of these you can go without, but again, if you lack proper diet, which many athletes have the hardest time with while trying to get into fitness, an intra-workout may be worth it for you.

Even if you have your diet in check, intra-workouts still have performance benefits that can aid you in and out of the gym, so it is something you should consider. Yes, it’s an extra cost and habit you have to get used to doing. (drinking your intra-workout during your workout could take some time to get used too) The upside to this is you’ll keep properly hydrated, which many athletes forget how important hydration really is. If you have your diet in check, and you already keep properly hydrated daily, then you may want to take a look at a couple of the benefits that intra-workouts can provide for you.

Performance and habit building benefits

You’ll never need any supplements to really succeed in building your health, but if you’re looking to give yourself a better chance at keeping good habits and eliminated potential ignorance, then an intra-workout will be a good thing to have on your side. Just the act of mixing up your supplement and getting it ready for your workout puts you into the state of “okay, I am now going to the gym” day by day this builds the habit of getting ready to hit the gym. This will be a good catalyst to push yourself to go even when you don’t feel like it, once your drink is mixed; you won’t want to waste money, so you just go. Keeping the habit of dieting and hitting the gym takes a lot of discipline, anything to keep you happy and on track is worth its weight in gold.

In addition to building up discipline and maintaining the habit of keeping yourself focused to your fitness routine, intra-workout supplements also have several performance benefits. This includes things like increased endurance, reduction in fatigue, decreasing total recovery time, increase in energy, increasing your bodies ability to increase protein synthesis and much more. Many products will have similar benefits across the board with the exception of those with limited ingredients. In the long term and view of things, with the ability to workout longer, have more energy, and recover faster, you will set yourself up for better results with muscle gains and general health.

Ultimately, aside from the potential benefits that intra-workout supplements may provide to you, it’s completely up to you to manage your health, and up to you to decided if you need the extra support and aid in your current life. But, before you write off these supplements as a unnecessary expense, take a closer look at what intra-workouts will bring you, weigh the pros and cons. When it comes to investing in your health, intra-workout supplements can give you that extra added peace of mind, which may be enough to justify adding them into your daily routine.

Updated:
February 18, 2015