Fueling up before a session and chowing down on recovery meals are just two parts of an athlete's nutrition plan. What happens between these two feedings is where your intra-workout fueling takes place.
Perhaps you believe you can munch on whatever is laying around. Or worse, you think you don’t need any intra-workout nutrition. That may be true if you’re knocking out a 45-minute session at the gym but not for MOTO and MTB athletes. You need an intra-endurance supplement to perform.
As an endurance athlete, you are spending 2-4 or even 6 hours on the trail. This makes having a proper intra-endurance supplement mandatory for success. Notice we didn’t say “vital” or “crucial”. We said it was mandatory!
This isn’t hyperbole as your body simply can not function at a high-level over these longer durations. In fact, if you tried to ride for 6 hours without proper nutrition, setting a PR would be the least of your concerns as you’re going to have a hard enough time just getting home.
Traditional supplement companies know the importance of intra-workout nutrition so they have muddled it with nonsense. They give you things you don’t need and twist facts to make a greater profit.
Truth is, Intra-workout level of importance is contrasted with its incredible simplicity. As Richard Branson once said,
“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated.
It is hard to make something simple.”
Well we did it. Our theory and approach to nutrition is simple, but better. Lets learn about how endurance focused concepts like hydration planning, refueling, electrolyte balance, and bioavailability make for a premium intra-endurance formula.
The Three Pillars Of Intra-Endurance: Hydration, Fuel and Electrolytes
When planning your intra-workout nutrition strategy, there are 3 primary variables you need to consider:
Each of these play a critical role in keeping you primed for performance. Faltering on any of them will cause a detrimental downfall. Let’s look at why your pre-endurance fueling system should address each issue.
1 - Hydration
All 3 pillars of your intra-endurance are vital. However, there’s a good argument that hydration is the most important.
Due to water loss through sweat and urination, you can quickly reach a point where you will see a measurable negative effect on performance. Once you hit just a 2% drop in body weight, you will see:
- 8.3% Loss of Muscular Endurance
- 5.5% Loss of Muscular Strength
- 5.8% Loss of Anaerobic Power
- Higher RPE (Rate Of Perceived Exertion)
From here, if not dealt with, you can expect an even greater detriment in your performance and eventually your health.
Maintaining adequate hydration while training is even more difficult as your body is constantly expelling water through:
This is why we made SUSTAIN with the endurance athlete in mind. Perfectly formulated to maintain optimal levels, SUSTAIN has a delicious, all natural flavor to encourage drinking and keep you moving.
To learn more details, check out this article from our team that goes over:
- The effects dehydration has on performance
- How to measure sweat rates
- Proper hydration planning
2 - Carbs Fuel Your Engine
Most athletes know carbs fuel their training and performance. What they don’t realize is the type of carbs make a massive difference, especially with endurance athletes.
Your body is an extremely efficient machine. However, even the most high-tech machines have limits. Concerning the amount of carbs you can consume during activity/workout/race, you are limited by the time needed for proper digestion and uptake. This looks something like this:
- 45-60g of carbs per hour for the first 2.5 hours
- 90g of carbs per hour thereafter
Further, many synthetic carbs can wreak havoc on your digestive system. One of the biggest culprits is Maltodextrin which alters your gut biome and is correlate with serious issues, like Crohn’s disease. Why so many supplement companies continue to use it is as their primary carb source is beyond us.
But we want better for our athletes. That’s why we use high-quality organic cane sugar in SUSTAIN. Due to it being a natural source of carbs, the gut can handle it much better meaning more benefits and less bloating.
In addition, organic cane sugar allows you to utilize more carbs per hour. This is because of something known as Multiple Transportable Carbohydrates (MTC).
When eating a single sugar source carb (like fructose, dextrose or glucose), the uptake is regulated by only one transport system in the intestines. However, your body has multiple transport systems which are responsible for the uptake of different types of sugars.
Upon digestion, organic cane sugar eventually breaks down into glucose and fructose whose uptakes are regulated by different transport systems. Therefore, your body is able to use two transport systems at the same time giving you the ability to utilize more carbs!
3 - Electrolytes: Avoid Cramping And Hyponatremia
The last key part you want in your intra-endurance supplement is electrolytes. Within the body, electrolytes create an electrical gradient across cells to allow communication between the brain and muscle.
Unfortunately, sweat is composed of these precious minerals causing their levels to drop during exercise. When this happens, your muscles cramp and performance drops.
Further, if you only hydrate with water during prolonged exercise, the concentration of sodium is severely altered resulting in a life-threatening condition known as hyponatremia.
Your intra-endurance supplement must address this!
The Best Intra-Endurance Formulas Satisfies All Three Pillars
As seen, each pillar plays a role crucial to performance and health. Many intra-workouts get these pillars messed up by either excluding one or providing things you don’t need, like BCAA's which have questionable
With SUSTAIN, you can rest assured we got you covered. Designed specifically to address these three pillars, we used premium ingredients like himalayan pink salt and organic cane sugar for increased bioavailability and even higher efficiency.
Avoiding Gastrointestinal Distress Is Key
Athletes are humans too. That means they poo. (Don’t laugh. You know you do too.)
Going to the bathroom is a part of life that’s unavoidable. While we can’t stop it from occurring, we do have some control on when it occurs.
One of the worst feelings as an athlete is when you’re halfway through a training session or race, you’re feeling good and out of nowhere, your belly starts making noises. This sensation not only becomes highly uncomfortable, it makes it impossible to think about anything else.
One of the best, and easiest solutions to prevent this is by staying away from complex carbs as these are harder for the body to digest. This is but another reason we use organic cane sugar as it’s a simple sugar made from 100% sucrose.
Complex carbs and solid foods do have a place for ultra-endurance training. However, for events lasting less than 3-4 hours sticking with a quality, natural simple sugar like what’s found in SUSTAIN is they way to go.
BCAAs & Creatine Not The Best Fit For Endurance
There are a few compounds that are commonly found in intra-workouts despite the fact they may not be ideal for all endurance athletes. These three are:
BCAAs Effect On Endurance Performance Is Not Solid
Branch chained amino acids, or BCAAs, are a common ingredient to improve performance. In fact, they’re very common. This is because they do in fact play a vital role in muscle protein synthesis.
While they have been said to improve various markers in endurance performance, the suggested intake is unreasonable for most athletes. The suggested protocol for endurance athletes includes thing like:
- Very high dosing of 200mg per kilogram of body weight.
- Consecutive days of use (i.e. 10 days)
The icing on top is they tend to create an unpleasant taste when out for a long period of time, such as a 3-hour trail ride.
The fact is that BCAAs are one of the most overblown supplements on the market. This is especially true for athletes who eat enough protein daily and consume a proper intra-endurance supplement with healthy carbs during exercise.
Creatine Does Not Improve Acute Performance
Creatine is another popular compound as again, it does work in the proper situations. However, an ingredient in a pre-endurance supplement for endurance athletes is not one of them.
Taking creatine as an endurance athlete can cause a few unwanted side effects:
- More weight gain causing slower times.
- Higher chance of gastric distress, especially when taken during activity.
- Increase the occurrence and severity or arm pump (We have an entire article on this)
Beside, the mechanisms by which creatine works requires chronic consumption. Even if you did want to take creatine, it has no business being in a pre-workout or intra-workout.
Don’t Over Complicate Your Intra-Endurance
Our bodies are complex but fueling them isn’t. When optimizing performance, simplicity works best which is why it’s been a guiding tenet for us when formulating our products.
Our product SUSTAIN is a no-frills, intra-endurance hydration & fueling blend that puts performance first without the excess. Built to satisfy the needs of an endurance athlete by delivering what the body needs without artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.
Explore our MOTO, MTB, and outdoor fitness pages to learn more. 2% of all our profits go to protecting trails, public lands, etc. so you can feel good about using Race Provisions products while you do what you love.
If you have questions on your personalized nutrition plan or any of our products, be sure to Contact Us! Simple performance nutrition is what we do!
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