Performance Hydration with an Edge
Improve Size, Strength, Speed, Endurance and Power with Performance Hydration (Sports Drinks) That Work
With all the talk of post-training recovery and associated nutrition and supplemental factors crucial to enhancing the desired (anabolic) growth state, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the paramount importance of the training process itself.
Trainees today have become so caught up in achieving the ideal caloric intake and the perfect ratio of key supplements that the prioritization of nutrition and recovery over intensive training has, for many, become firmly entrenched as the best way to force fresh gains in size, strength and performance.
While there is no denying the key role supplements and quality nutrition play in boosting gym progress, a fundamental focus must first be placed on ensuring each and every workout or athletic event is structured in a way that the best possible gains can be stimulated over a shortest time period.
Simply put: without sufficient volume, intensity, focus and technique, the training adaptations we so ardently desire cannot be triggered to the fullest possible extent, if at all, irrespective of how well-structured our supplementation, nutrition and rest are.
Indeed, as important as what we do post-training can be in priming us for peak performance, recovery and growth, many trainees do not, or cannot, consistently train with full intensity when it counts most – under the strain of fully-loaded weights across and entire volume-heavy workout.
This comes down to multiple reasons, top of the list being a lack of planning when it comes to specific workout supplementation and a nutritional approach that’s incorrectly tailored to the specific training conditions that we may find ourselves in.
So, while supplementing and eating for recovery and growth must remain on point at all times, equally important is what we do before and during the workout/event itself.
Whatever training conditions we may be up against, it’s important to remember that for best results, each workout must be of the highest quality and intensity. This cannot be achieved on wishful thinking or the ‘right’ training mindset alone.
In the following article I’ll provide a framework for training success that takes into account conditions which may fast deplete and physically and mentally undermine the poorly prepared.
Specifically, you’ll learn how to successfully battle the heat while keeping training intensity high (remembering from my last article that training in hot temperatures may lead to greater performance gains, but only under certain conditions).
So, rather than letting performance slip, as many do with increasing temperatures bearing down, it’s time to keep those gains coming faster than ever. Let’s take a look at how to do just that.
Boost Performance Hydration
The benefits of hydration should, by now, be obvious to those seeking optimal performance and fitness results. But how many trainees fully and consistently address this major training prerequisite?
A failure to consume adequate H20
typically 600 ml of fresh water two hours before training, around 250 ml every 15 minutes during training, and another 500 ml immediately following training for each pound of bodyweight lost
can result in a rapid drop off in performance and, in more extreme cases, physical deterioration and possible death (as when training intensely for long periods in extremely hot conditions). In fact, as little as a 1-2% drop in bodyweight as a result of water loss can make any form of exercise a sluggish affair.
Proper hydration regulates body temperature, lubricates the joints and assists with the transportation of nutrients to the cells to enhance energy levels and to keep the body and brain functioning at a high level.
Yet many athletes and regular trainees are woefully deficient when it comes to hydration. Lacking sufficient water, such people often falter when it’s time to step up their performance and work at a higher level of intensity, a problem that’s readily addressed by attending to the seemingly simple act of proper hydration.
If consuming enough water was all it took to keep the masses hydrated, few people would suffer the ill effects of dehydration (however minor such dehydration may be). But, sadly, this is seldom the case, with the smallest level of dehydration vastly compromising performance and energy levels (as such, most of us probably perform in a mildly-dehydrated state, much of the time).
Because many do not hydrate due to an aversion to drinking enough ‘plain, boring’ water, many have taken to consuming ‘sports drinks’ such as Gatorade to get the job done. Unfortunately, such drinks, along with so called energy drinks, can result in bloating, cramps and hypoglycaemia along with elevated blood pressure and irregular heart beat respectively.17, 20, 21
There are additional ways to enhance hydration beyond forcing enough water down one’s gullet (though to truly optimize hydration you’ll need to overcome any aversion to drinking plain water, as plenty of this will also be needed).
Improving the palatability, absorbability and effectiveness of water by ‘souping’ it up with formulas that have been proven to boost performance on multiple levels is highly recommended (keep reading for a full list of the best of such formulas).
Another recommendation is to consume a heaped tablespoon of chia seeds, along with a pre-training meal, an hour before training. By absorbing up to 12 times their weight in water, chia seeds prolong hydration to extend performance (as well as providing quality carbs, fats and proteins to further enhance training output).
Performance Hydration with Electrolytes
The hotter the training conditions, the more we sweat. This makes hydration doubly important, as a failure to rehydrate can markedly affect performance. Also lost in sweat are key minerals called electrolytes. Of immense importance to human performance, electrolytes (individual chemical messengers which aid fluid balance, regulate blood pressure, enhance muscular contraction and balance the body’s acid/base (pH) level, among many other functions) are often sorely lacking among those who train for long periods in the heat.12, 13, 18, 23
An improper balance of key electrolytes can have sinister ramifications for those seeking to benefit from training in the heat (outdoor trainees, in particular). Low potassium levels, for example, can affect the degree to which muscle tissue may store glycogen, the body’s preferred energy source for intensive training.
Low potassium may also cause abnormal heart rhythms, muscle weakness, spasms, cramps and respiratory problems, each of which can lead to the body underperforming and, in severe cases, grinding to a shuddering halt.2, 11
Along with sodium, magnesium and calcium, the largely-unheralded performance enhancer potassium supercharges the muscles, to extend physical output in all training conditions. Working hand-in-hand with optimal hydration (water is critical to shuttling electrolytes around the body), electrolyte replenishment is increasingly being recognized as a pre and intra-workout mandatory.
Achieving the ideal balance of key electrolytes can be difficult, for several reasons. The first reason concerns bioavailability, in that many electrolyte supplements may not be fully absorbed and utilized within the body due to poor potency and quality.
Second, the inconvenience factor of having to take several different products or choke down a bitter or overly-sweet tasting sports drink may dissuade many from upping their electrolytes pre and intra-workout or event. Even then, one may not receive full benefit due to the aforementioned subpar potency and efficacy of such products.
However, there is a product that delivers on all fronts when it comes to complete performance enhancement: CARBION+. Considered the best-tasting performance optimizer on today’s market, this product remains the most delicious way to achieve an electrolyte balance conducive to high-level performance.
Containing only pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, CARBION+ features high-potency versions of the four key electrolytes’ sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. As such, this well-established performance product greatly enhances training outcomes by both countering the various problems inherent to training in the heat (such as water loss) and supplying a desirable blend of high-performance carbohydrates for maximum energy when it’s needed most.
Performance Hydration with Carbohydrates
While some have taken to avoiding them like the plague, fearing excess sugar spiking and attendant fat gain and energy decline, there is no escaping the fact that carbohydrates, when consumed judiciously and with performance in mind, remain an athlete’s best friend.10, 14, 15, 16
The key to carbing up for performance enhancement is to consume only those carbs which provide maximum energy without a corresponding energy slump or the all-to-commonly experienced bloating effect.
Despite the bad rap they often receive, carbs are essential to high-level performance. The trick is to choose only those which sustain training output over the long haul. Once the right carbs are consistently consumed, performance – both mental and physical – will be dramatically increased. Not only that, but strategic carbing also leads to more muscle growth and, to counter what many believe, can also encourage fat loss.1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8
Unfortunately, many of us are bombarded with so much anti-carb rhetoric that the last thing we are compelled to do is take this energy macro immediately, and especially during, a hard training session. But that’s exactly what many smart trainees have been doing since learning of beneficial impact of the designer carbs contained in CARBION+.
Unlike the carbs featured in most popular sports drinks, those featured in CARBION+ are of the non-bloating, non-simple sugar variety. Rather than weighing the trainee down, these designer carbs work to keep the muscles firing through each stage of a gruelling workout or event.
Featuring a specially-engineered carbohydrate called Cyclo-D, a long-chain carb that has greater solubility and is better absorbed and assimilated than regular carbs, CARBION+ enables the user to work harder, faster and for longer, even when the heat has sapped all the strength from those ‘powered’ by other ‘sports’ drinks.
In addition, CARBION+ includes four different chain lengths of maltodextrin to support Cyclo-D to provide a sustained outpouring of energy across all stages of a workout or event. When the body would normally be ready to quit, the phased-delivery nature of CARBION+ kicks-in to ensure energy levels remain steady and consistent.
Stay Anabolic with Aminos
Whenever the body is pushed to the limit – whether in the gym or during an endurance event – muscle is compromised, energy levels are depleted and body is placed into a catabolic state where growth ceases and positive training adaptations are less likely to occur post-training.
One thing the typical sports drink cannot do is keep the body anabolic.
This most prized physiological state may only be maintained with a reputable pre-workout supplement (discussed soon) and, more to the point, a BCAA product (containing L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine) which supplies each of these three key anti-catabolic aminos in a ratio that promotes long-term anabolism (muscle recovery and enhanced muscle protein synthesis over the course of a workout or event).
In addition, the BCAAs also serve as a backup form of energy to prolong performance during particularly intensive training protocols. By association, the BCAAs have a carbohydrate sparing effect whereby muscle and liver glycogen is less likely to be prematurely depleted when training demands are greatest.5, 9 Thus, the muscles remain anabolic and primed for intensive bursts of activity (as when called upon to sprint or lift explosively) despite, for example, the endurance-focused nature of a given workout.
The best times to fuel up with BCAAs is pre and intra-workout, when insulin sensitivity is high (intra-workout) and the muscles are subjected to the most damage. Rather than taking a sports drink with zero to minimal anabolic benefits, consume instead a serving of AMINOCORE, the most potent BCAA product available today.
Providing a perfect ratio of BCAAs (8180mg of only pure BCAAs, with zero non-BCAAs) along with a uniquely powerful array of energy-boosting B-Vitamins for an added performance edge, AMINOCORE, when taken with the aforementioned designer carbs contained in CARBION+, has been scientifically proven to out-perform any sports drink ever produced, and for a fraction of the cost of the average sugar-filled ‘performance’ beverage.
A missing part of the performance equation for many decades, BCAA supplementation is now recognized as a key factor in both keeping the body in a continuous state of growth and providing an added dose of efficient energy to keep the body strong for the full duration of a workout or event.
Gain the Performance Edge with Performance Hydration
No high-level performance would be complete, or even possible, without the right raw ingredients taken pre-workout or event. This includes the all-important whole-foods meal taken an hour or so before training, but also, perhaps most important of all, a solid pre-workout supplement designed to bolster each crucial training component and outcome: strength, speed, muscular endurance, mental focus, mental wellbeing, increased blood volume and concomitant muscle pumping (hyperemia) and extreme growth.
While specific carbs, aminos and electrolytes, on their own, can be used to significantly elevate performance and recovery,
there are several other key ingredients designed to specifically enhance muscle function and neuromuscular efficiency while improving focus, cognition and mood, which have also been shown to provide a definitive edge in training effectiveness.
It’s well known that training in the heat can diminish mental functioning, resulting in lethargy, poor focus and decreased motivation to continue. One important way pre-workout supplementation (especially one which features a range of powerful neurocognitive enhancers, or nootropics) can boost training success is to override the mind’s natural inclination to weaken in the dying stages of an intense workout.
Along with keeping the mind focused and sharp, such nootropics also enhance the recruitment of muscle fibers by strengthening the mind/muscle connection so crucial to powerfully stimulating the correct muscles. This supremely important task can be extremely difficult in hot conditions, but with the right combination of performance ingredients, a mindset favorable to any training situation can be readily established.
Due to the supplement market being flooded with pre-workout products of varying efficacy, choosing one that is most effective in meeting the requirements of all training conditions can be a difficult job.
For the purposes of boosting performance when training in the heat, a good pre-workout needs to be powerful enough to maximize each of the aforementioned training/fitness components and, of crucial importance, properly absorbed (given that many of the ingredients of regular pre-workouts may simply be flushed from the body due to excessive water loss when training in high temperatures).
And while the jury is out on whether caffeine (a mild diuretic and common compound in most pre-workouts) may promote water loss and lead to dehydration, it’s best to err on the side of caution when training in the heat, especially when consuming highly-caffeinated products containing 200mg of caffeine, or more, per serving.
The best pre-workout for training in hot conditions would therefore be rapidly and thoroughly absorbed, with low (or zero) caffeine levels and super effective in enhancing cognition (to establish a strong mind/muscle link).
IMPACT PUMP is a non-stimulant pre-workout which, due to high levels of Cinnulin PF and Piperine, is also more rapidly absorbed and utilized compared to other such products. And as the name suggests, IMPACT PUMP also increases blood supply to the working muscles to enhance the much sought after pumping effect, thus allowing more nutrients and oxygen to be shuttled to the muscles to optimize growth and performance.19, 22
The high potency of each ingredient contained in IMPACT PUMP (most notably the pump-inducing Citrulline Malate, Agmatine Sulphate, Glycerpump, and Taurine and the powerful nootropics Alpha-GPC and Lion’s Mane Extract) combine to switch-on both body and mind to the fullest possible extent, when, under normal circumstances, there would be much less urgency to finish strong
Putting it all Together
Putting together a great performance requires combining a range of different nutrients to sustain mental and physical output. However, as you’ve learned in this article, the typical sports drink (Performance Hydration) is simply not adequate when seeking to train intensively in extreme heat. Instead, the athlete or regular trainee would be better served by making their own pre and intra-workout optimizer using the three key performance supplements outlined above.
In addition, half a serving CARBION+ combined with a serving of AMINOCORE and added a liter of water, then taken throughout the session or event, will not only provide the requisite performance fuel, but also encourage optimal hydration right up until the last painstaking rep.
The importance of electrolyte replenishment is another reason why taking CARBION+ remains one of the best ways to optimize performance in the heat. Packed with pharmaceutical grade ingredients, including the four key electrolytes’ sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, this product is known to greatly enhance performance and help prevent the aforementioned problems inherent to training in the heat.
Along with enhancing muscle protein synthesis to build larger and stronger muscles, the BCAAs also provide an additional source of energy, to offset the dreaded energy slump (AKA: hitting the wall) that more readily occurs when training in the heat.
A non-stimulant pre-workout of unparalleled effectiveness, IMPACT PUMP, as the name suggests, helps to engorge the muscles with a maximum amount of blood to fully enhance the famed pumping sensation. This means more nutrients, and oxygen, can get to the muscles to improve growth and performance.15, 26 By itself, the pump, which is often hard to obtain in the physically-draining heat, is the direct line to impressive growth.
- Anderson, K.E., et al. (1987). Diet-hormone interactions: protein/carbohydrate ratio alters reciprocally the plasma levels of testosterone and cortisol and their respective binding globulins in man. Life Sci. 1987 May 4;40(18):1761-8.
- Balcı, A. K., et al. (2013). General characteristics of patients with electrolyte imbalance admitted to emergency department. World journal of emergency medicine, 4(2), 113–116.
- Bisschop, P.H., et al. (2001). Isocaloric carbohydrate deprivation induces protein catabolism despite a low T3-syndrome in healthy men. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). Jan;54(1):75-80.
- Costa, R. J., et al. (2005). The effects of a high carbohydrate diet on cortisol and salivary immunoglobulin A (s-IgA) during a period of increase exercise workload amongst Olympic and Ironman triathletes. Int J Sports Med. Dec;26(10):880-5.
- Campos-Ferraz, P. l., et al. (2013). Distinct effects of leucine or a mixture of the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) supplementation on resistance to fatigue, and muscle and liver-glycogen degradation, in trained rats. 2013 Nov-Dec;29(11-12):1388-94.
- Danforth, E. Jr., et al. (1979). Dietary-induced alterations in thyroid hormone metabolism during overnutrition. J Clin Invest. November; 64(5): 1336–1347.
- Davidson, M.B., et al. (1979). Effect of Carbohydrate and Noncarbohydrate Sources of Calories on Plasma 3,5,3-Triiodothyronine Concentrations in Man. J Clin Endo Metab. 1979;48(4)
- Ebbeling, C. B., et al. (2012).Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure During Weight- Loss Maintenance. JAMA. Jun 27; 307(24): 2627–2634.
- Falavigna, G. et al. (2012). Effects of diets supplemented with branched-chain amino acids on the performance and fatigue mechanisms of rats submitted to prolonged physical exercise. Nov 16;4(11):1767-80.
- Hevor, T. K., (1994). Some aspects of carbohydrate metabolism in the brain. 76(2):111-20.
- 8 Signs and Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency (Hypokalemia). [Online] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/potassium-deficiency-symptoms – retrieved on 27.7.9
- Jung, A. P., et al. (2005). Influence of Hydration and Electrolyte Supplementation on Incidence and Time to Onset of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps. J Athl Train. Apr-Jun; 40(2): 71–75.
- Johnson, H. H., et al. (1988). Effects of electrolyte and nutrient solutions on performance and metabolic balance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Feb;20(1):26-33.
- Jeukendrup, A. E., (2004). Carbohydrate intake during exercise and performance. Jul-Aug;20(7-8):669-77.
- Knuiman, P. et al. (2015). Glycogen availability and skeletal muscle adaptations with endurance and resistance exercise Nutr Metab (Lond). 12: 59.
- Kanter, M. (2018). High-Quality Carbohydrates and Physical Performance Expert Panel Report. Nutr Today. Jan; 53(1): 35–39.
- Marcus, J. B., (2013). Fluid Basics: Healthfully Meeting Fluid Needs: Healthy Fluid Choices, Roles and Application. Culinary Nutrition The Science and Practice of Healthy Cooking Pages 333-370
- Maughan, R. J., et al. (1991). Fluid and electrolyte loss and replacement in exercise. J Sports Sci. Summer;9 Spec No:117-42.
- Millar, I.D., et al. (1997). Mammary protein synthesis is acutely regulated by the cellular hydration state. Biochem Biophys Res Comm 230: 351–355.
- Warnings issued over energy drinks. [Online] https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/warnings-issued-over-energy-drinks/ – retrieved on 27.7.19
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Energy Drinks. [Online] https://nccih.nih.gov/health/energy-drinks – Retrieved on 27.7.19
- Thomas, M. H., et al. (2016). Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training. International journal of exercise science, 9(2), 159–167.
- Von Duvillard, S. P., et al. (2004). Fluids and hydration in prolonged endurance performance. Nutrition. Jul-Aug;20(7-8):651-6.