Improving Performance with Sports Drinks
The Benefits of ALLMAX CARBION
Whether aiming to finish a race ahead of the pack, crank out a final growth-inducing rep or stay mentally sharp during the dying stages of an intensive workout, it’s critical that hydration and nutrient absorption be prioritized. As such, it’s important that water and a selection of key performance nutrients be included both before, and during, any form of sustained physical activity.
A dilemma facing recreational and professional athletes and gym-goers alike is whether to fuel up with water alone or water combined with performance-boosting nutrients – in particular, electrolytes, carbohydrates and key amino acids.
While both water and performance nutrients are needed for peak athletic performance (whether running, weight lifting or other vigorous activities that demand sustained physical and mental output) there appears to be no clear consensus on whether one over the other is best.
Many argue that a sound diet supported by proper hydration in and around physical activity is optimal while others believe that dietary diligence combined with a reputable sports-drink during training or competition, is a superior approach.
Is water intake alone enough to get the job done? Are the legions of high performance athletes and weekend warriors who swear by sports drinks just wasting valuable time and money? The short answer is that it all depends on the type of sports-drink consumed and the type of activity engaged in.
Let’s now take a closer look at whether water by itself’, or a brightly colored, great-tasting sports drink might be the best way to improve your own training and competitive efforts.
The Body’s Number One Performance Fuel
Of all the nutrients (both foundational and fancy) touted as being essential to high-level physical performance, plain old water trumps them all. Firstly, and of primary importance to athletes, water is essential in preventing dehydration, a deleterious physiological state whereby the loss of body fluids (notably water) exceeds consumption.10 Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, irritability, fainting, diarrhea, vomiting and, in severe cases, death. Any form of dehydration, no matter how minor, can adversely affect performance. And for this reason alone it’s to be avoided at all costs.
Comprising the majority of one’s bodyweight, water is a precious commodity that’s constantly being lost through urine, sweat, skin and breath.9 Water must therefore be replaced at regular intervals throughout the day.
For most people, between 2.7 and 3.7 liters a day – for women and men respectively – is a minimum requirement, with hard-training athletes requiring up to double this amount.
An essential nutrient involved in every function of the body, water must form the basis of all training plans to ensure that every cell of the body remains well-hydrated.10, 12 If in doubt as to its importance, remember that while we can live without food for several weeks, a week without water is likely to result in death (the ultimate barrier to training success).
Provided it’s clean, fresh and as free as possible of contaminants, water will, besides offsetting dehydration, assist athletic performance by helping transport nutrients into and waste products out of cells; facilitate digestive, absorption, circulatory, and excretory functions; assist with the assimilation of water-soluble vitamins (such as C and B) to enhance immunity and boost energy levels (among other functions); shuttle electrolytes to bodily tissues to promote cellular efficiency (including muscular contraction); and maintain proper body temperature (to prevent cramping and exhaustion).3, 13
An involvement in training or sport beyond the beginner stage inevitably brings into awareness the importance of water. Unfortunately, however, many otherwise well-meaning trainees are woefully lacking in this essential nutrient. Getting enough water along with the performance nutrients needed to power the toughest workout or event is a performance factor many continue to struggle with.
To solve this all-too-common dilemma some have turned to a range of great tasting sports drinks to 1) provide the necessary ratio of key electrolytes and 2) increase carbohydrate storage for sustained physical output.29
A major problem with sports drinks is nutrient quality, most notably the primary inclusion of simple sugars such as glucose, sucrose and fructose, which may lead to unwanted weight gain and, paradoxically if consumed in excess, energy depletion.7
Many popular sports drinks are also very low in essential electrolytes, containing such minute dosages that, also due to poor bioavailability, may have little to no effect. On the other hand, a formula with the perfect ratio of high-quality electrolytes and carbs can be hugely beneficial in boosting performance.
So, what should the savvy consumer look for in a good sports drink?
Chemical substances which are transformed into electrically-charged particles called ions, electrolytes are essential for proper physiological functioning and go hand-in-hand with fluid intake (for proper dissolution and circulation, each of the major electrolytes must be taken with water).
Integral to the conduction of electrical currents of importance to muscle and nervous system functioning, the electrolytes are a critical training component and essential for the proper recovery and growth of bodily tissues (including muscle).28
To get the most from training and competition, a good balance of all the major electrolytes is needed.18, 20, 21
Simply put, without the right balance of key electrolytes, performance will likely suffer and gains will invariably cease.
As well as being critical to bodybuilding success, electrolytes play a major role in the functioning of every cell of the body. From cardiac function to energy production, electrolytes keep the body performing at its best. For athletes and otherwise physically active people, the intake of electrolytes is a major determining factor as to whether a training session or event will be successful.
Key electrolytes to look for in a reputable sports drink are:
Magnesium helps regulate muscle and nerve function, cardiovascular output, blood sugar and ATP production to boost energy. As a co-factor in over 300 enzyme systems and a major player in over 300 biochemical reactions within the body, magnesium is also critical to the synthesis of life-giving nucleic acids RNA and DNA.
The intake of sodium is essential for the activity of neurons and muscle cells. Sodium also keeps fluids in a normal balance and assists hydration by increasing the rate of cellular fluid absorption. By regulating heart rate and body temperature via increased blood volume, sodium enhances endurance and cardiac output during lengthy training sessions and events. Muscle weakness, cramp and lethargy are often the result of poor sodium intake.
As well as being important for the formation of bones and teeth, calcium is also an integral factor in muscle contraction and nervous system activation. The skeletal system is often placed under a great deal of stress during high-impact athletic events and training sessions. Calcium intake must be on point if bone healing is to take place following such activities. Calcium must also be available for other functions. Problem is, without enough circulating calcium, bone tissue is often forced to restore the deficiency and will leech calcium in accordance with the body’s requirement for it, a process that may eventually lead to osteoporosis (fragile bones).
Important for muscle contraction and relaxation, potassium enables greater training volume and intensity to be generated. In addition to also reducing blood pressure and calming the mind, potassium helps maintain a positive fluid balance to offset dehydration. Potassium also enhances the uptake of oxygen to the brain to optimize mental functioning and focus.
While water and key electrolytes remain the most important hydration variable, research has shown that water combined with a rehydration solution (which includes high levels of sodium and potassium) along with carbohydrates can provide the highest amount of hydration to improve performance.14, 30
Many long-time athletes believe the proper intake of carbohydrates to be important in both extending performance and increasing strength and training output.2, 5, 8 Carbohydrates are universally regarded as the primary training fuel for all athletes, whether bodybuilders or long-distance runners. Among several markers of effectiveness, carbs have been shown to increase time to exhaustion and endurance capacity, along with mental focus and clarity, better than any other macronutrient.2, 6, 8, 15, 17, 24, 25, 26
Stored in the body as muscle and liver glycogen, carbohydrates are used to produce energy when needed.
A full fuel tank of quality carbs means less chance of hitting the much-feared wall (physical failure) and faltering in our training efforts.6, 19, 25
By consuming carbs before and during exercise there is less chance of depleting pre-existing carb stores. The result: superior glycogen storage, improved stamina and maintenance of performance, and, in addition, reduced fatigue and inflammatory stress (both often-overlooked barriers to training output and recovery).
Unfortunately, many sugar-packed energy/hydration drinks, most notably Gatorade, which contains sucrose, glucose, fructose and the electrolytes sodium and potassium, may not be ideal when taken before and during training due to the rapid assimilation of its high-glycemic carbs. Though this formula has been touted to provide an “optimal mixture for stimulating fluid absorption, helping the body maintain fluid balance, providing energy to working muscles and enhancing athletic performance”,23 in reality its composition of simple sugars can result in blood sugar spiking and a subsequent drop-off in energy.
A carb formula that provides full glycogen replenishment and a steady supply of usable energy is best.
In addition to being the body’s preferred source of high-grade training fuel, carbohydrates also offset cortisol production.15, 27 Cortisol-induced muscle degradation is a common outcome of insufficient carb consumption. Such muscle depletion occurs when energy levels plummet due to poor glycogen replenishment. Under such conditions the body is forced to secrete cortisol to convert muscle proteins into usable glycogen.
For a sports drink to be effective, a sustained, phase-released supply of easily digested carbohydrates combined with the most bioavailable forms of potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium must be available.
The most effective form of carbohydrate for athletic performance remains Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD), in particular the patented Cyclo-D. Of a high molecular-weight and highly soluble and stabile in water, Cyclo-D has a fast gastric emptying time (GET) and is more efficiently assimilated compared to other carb sources.11, 15, 33, 34 In addition, Cyclo-D does not promote gastrointestinal stress and bloating, problems encountered with many common sports drinks.33
Cyclo-D is gradually broken down in the bloodstream to supply a steady supply of usable energy thereby preventing the blood sugar spiking which stifles many a performance, and which invariably leads to fatigue.
Another superior performance carb is maltodextrin (preferably of different chain lengths to provide a steady, phased-supply of energy). The maltodextrins are absorbed at a slower rate than Cyclo-D. This ensures that, as an event or training session continues, energy is available when it is most needed, a benefit various simple sugars such as glucose and sucrose cannot provide.
Another form of carbohydrate to look for in a good sports drink is Waxy Maize. Waxy Maize contains a high molecular-weight branched-polysaccharide called amylopectin, which provides sustained energy and subsequent endurance benefits. This superior carb is used by athletes to enhance physical output, improve recovery, and restore glycogen levels to ensure more energy is available for further activities.
Absent from most sports drinks are key amino acids (specifically, the Branched Chain Amino Acids) that, on their own, improve training output and, most notably, enhance muscle protein synthesis to further elevate athletic performance, recovery and the repairing of damaged tissues.1, 3, 4, 16, 22
BCAA supplementation has been shown to strongly attenuate the breakdown of muscle proteins during exercise, a critical factor in keeping the body in the anabolic state necessary to maintaining peak strength and performance.22, 36
BCAAs have also been scientifically proven to enhance muscle size and strength by reducing markers of muscle damage, decreasing post-training soreness and improving muscle function.
By combining a reputable BCAA supplement with a sports-drink comprised of the aforementioned quality carb sources, muscle protein synthesis can be accentuated as more of the aminos (specifically the protein-synthesis-signaling Leucine) can be driven into muscle tissue (with carb-mediated insulin secretion acting as a transport mechanism).31
CARBION+: Combining all the Elements for a Better Performance and Faster Recovery
Considering all of the above, it would make sense to incorporate a drink which maximizes performance and training output and enhances recovery from the most physically demanding sessions, events, or races.
Containing a rapidly absorbed blend of each of the key electrolytes outlined above, the new and improved CARBION+ hydrates and energizes with its superior carbohydrate fuel, the most effective form of Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD): Cyclo-D.
Among its many unique benefits, CARBION+ suppresses exercise-induced inflammation to facilitate healing and enhance recovery
while also increasing post-training glycogen stores to further optimize the recovery process and ensure superior performances the next time around. It’s further recommended that a fast-acting protein, like ISOFLEX, be taken alongside CARBION+ as a means of increasing muscle glycogen storage while reducing post-training muscle damage, increasing muscle protein accretion and reducing the all-too-commonly experienced bloating. It’s these factors alone that distinguish CARBION+ from the run of the mill sports drink.
Due to its high molecular weight and low osmolarity, the Cyclo-D in CARBION+ has an unparalleled affinity for enhancing the absorption of BCAAs when taken in conjunction with these key aminos. When mixed with a high-grade BCAA formula like AMINOCORE,
muscle protein synthesis is more readily achieved as more BCAAs (most notably Leucine) are driven into muscle tissue.
Besides featuring all of the above listed ingredients in powerful dosages, CARBION+ contains a special absorption blend to further increase the uptake and assimilation of these important sports performance nutrients. The combined effectiveness of Prickly Pear Cactus, Bitter Melon and Cinnulin PF, each of which vastly improves bioenhancement (nutrient absorption), will ensure that CARBION+’s key ingredients reach the muscles, and power performance, when you need it most.
Hydrating With Sports Drinks:
Regular sports drinks are often used by physically active people to increase energy levels. If, on the other hand, you are willing to apply 100 percent effort to the task of improving performance and physique, then CARBION+, containing, as it does, the above-listed ingredients, will assist.
For half-hearted trainees and those whose physical demands do not warrant the extra performance factors included in this breakthrough formula, it’s probably best to stick with water. Remember, whatever the form, any extra calories that exceed physical output may result in unwanted weight gain and, at best, may even stifle performance.
Containing zero sugars and only 100 calories per serving, CARBION+ will optimize performance without expanding the waistline.
For the committed, sports drinks are best consumed shortly before, and during, strenuous activities. CARBION+ need only be taken pre workout (and also intra, for an extra boost), preferably with a BCAA formula such as AMINOCORE to accentuate the uptake of these critical aminos into muscle tissue.
For sustained performance in events that last one or more hours, be sure to add to half a scoop of CARBON+ to more than the recommended 12 ounces of water (18 ounces may be best). And keep fuelling with water throughout the event to keep the body functioning at a high level.
From what has been discussed in this article, it’s as clear as fresh, clean water that CARBION+ will ensure greater results than H20 alone. However, the trainee or athlete must first be motivated to power it down, otherwise the incentive to fuel-up may be lacking.
Fortunately, it’s been shown that good-tasting sports drinks may be more beneficial for increasing fluid consumption for those in need of maximum hydration.32, 35
While many sports drinks are overly sweet (some may be acidic or bitter tasting), CARBION+ comes in a range of delicious flavors (Blue Bomb Pop, Lemon Lime and Pineapple Mango), which make hydration a most enjoyable process. The unique glucose structure of CARBION+’s cluster dextrin means that the bitterness, acidity and other harsh tastes associated with typical sports drinks are effectively neutralized.
So for your next big event – whether a workout, game or race – try CARBION+ in place of your regular sports drink. It’s guaranteed you will reap more in the way of performance benefits and the taste along will make it a firm favorite.
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