Quite possibly the one supplement you are not taking, that you should be. Intra workout carbs have a host of benefits, from increasing performance to reducing the effects of catabolism. We all know the benefits of pre workouts, post workout protein, amino acids, and creatine, but what about that window of opportunity that lasts between 60 to 90 minutes when we are training? Are you missing out on the potential to grow more lean muscle tissue?
It’s important to understand that not all carbohydrate sources are equal when we talk about intra workout nutrition. You want something that is going to be sustained, easy on the gastrointestinal tract, and not cause drastic spikes in blood sugar levels. Redcon1 Cluster Bomb contains 25 grams of carbs per serving, most importantly in the form of Cluster Dextrin (Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin).
What’s so great about cyclic dextrin?
Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin is a type of carbohydrate supplement that is relatively new to the world of sports nutrition. It’s created from the breakdown of starch by an enzyme that forms clusters of sugar molecules. These clusters are then formed into long chains using additional branching enzymes. Essentially by pre breaking down these molecules it’s more readily available and easier to digest. HBCD has a low osmolality and high molecular weight compared to other more traditional carb sources like glucose; which increases gastric emptying. Basically, HBCD spends less time in your stomach compared to traditional carbohydrates and will be absorbed in the intestines and sent to your muscles quicker. This makes it superior to simple carb sources in the past like dextrose and waxy maize.
This rapid gastric emptying is beneficial for many reasons. For one it’s difficult to train on a very full stomach. Most importantly, you do not want all the blood rushing to your digestive tract to attempt to digest complicated and slow materials. You want that blood to be diverted to muscles for greater pumps, recovery, and ultimately muscle gain. Studies have shown that gastric emptying of HBCD to be almost as high as a general saline solution.
We now know what HBCD is, but why is it so important to supplement this product intra workout?
1. Boost Your Performance
Once the reps and sets of any given workout start piling up, your body's ability to recover between each set starts to diminish. When this happens, your performance can take a hit. As your body loses the ability to replenish ATP (adenosine tri phosphate) from creatine conversion, it will need a new source of energy for output. If your ability to perform drops, you won't be able to lift as much total volume in your workout, which may compromise your ability to make progress in and out of the gym.
Intra-workout carbohydrate consumption helps provide a rapidly available fuel source, which keeps your energy high for subsequent sets. Rather than stopping short or needing to reduce the weight, you'll be able to continue working hard.
Having readily available energy will help you do more total work, which is advantageous for both muscle and strength gains because total volume is what drives growth. Not giving your all at the back end of a workout will result in less total volume being completed, and ultimately limit your potential for additional growth. We’ve all heard the saying “the last few reps are where growth occurs” so don’t miss out on that opportunity. Even a 5 percent loss of potential muscle gain could be crucial to overall progress.
Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was shown in studies to be significantly less with HBCD than with maltodextrin. This means that you can efficiently train harder and longer than without it. More intensity and overall volume leads to the greatest increases in muscular hypertrophy.
2. Reduce Mental Fatigue
Carbohydrates aren't just your muscles' preferred fuel source; they fuel the brain too. Anyone who has been on low carbs for an extended period of time knows exactly what that means. Mental preparation, focus, and awareness of technique are crucial for any exercise to ensure maximum contraction and intensity is executed. Low energy availability can result in foggy focus and a decreased ability to connect to the task at hand.
Sipping on carbohydrates throughout a really tough or long workout will help deliver a continuous fuel source to your brain, which may help you avoid mistakes related to mental exhaustion.
3. Reverse Catabolic Processes
Quite possibly the most important aspect of using intra workout carbs: anti catabolic processes. Carbohydrate ingestion during prolonged exercise can also blunt the increase in cortisol concentration both during exercise, and for up to several hours thereafter. By limiting the catabolic processes cortisol can invoke, and by keeping muscle damage at bay, you'll recover more quickly and be able to give tomorrow's workout your all. Cortisol, the stress hormone, has the ability to wreak havoc on adrenal and other hormonal functions necessary for muscle growth. When we train muscle glycogen is depleted, causing a somewhat catabolic environment in muscle tissue.
4. Use the Carbs You Consume in the Most Efficient Way
When consumed during training, carbohydrates are efficiently utilized for both energy and recovery, which leaves little chance for them to be stowed away as body fat. The idea of peri workout carbohydrate consumption has been ever increasing in popularity recently, and for good reason. Why not consume the majority of your carbohydrates for the day around the workout perimeter?
Protein synthesis is increased around the workout perimeter, as well as the presence of insulin. Why not maximize the effectiveness of what we consume by utilizing these other tools as well.
Training is the most important thing we do as bodybuilders or gym goers. We need to ensure we are maximizing what we are doing in the gym to elicit the greatest return on our investment. Stop dipping into those important reserves in our muscles, and give it the fuel it needs. If you are ready to unlock gains, pumps, and focus like never before then give Cluster Bomb a try!