ULTIMATE Bodybuilder's Guide to the Best Intra-Workout Supplements

ULTIMATE Bodybuilder's Guide to the Best Intra-Workout Supplements - 1st Detachment

It's well known that bodybuilding is a physically demanding activity that requires a lot of energy and stamina. In order for beginners, experts, and professional athletes to achieve the best results, it is essential to maintain proper nutrition and hydration during workouts. A great way to do this is by utilizing intra-workout supplement drinks.

Intra-workout supplements can make a big difference in your workout by providing the body with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best during exercise and recover quickly when you're done.

In this ultimate guide, we'll discuss the best intra-workout supplement drinks for athletes, bodybuilders, and even beginners to get the most out of your grueling workouts and training sessions.


What is Intra-Workout?

Intra-workout refers to supplements, usually in the form of a powder, that is designed to drink during a workout or training session to enhance performance, delay fatigue, and improve recovery.

These supplements typically contain a combination of ingredients such as amino acids, electrolytes, carbohydrates, and sometimes caffeine depending on the brand and your fitness goal.

Keep in mind that not all intra-workout supplements are the same. The quality and quantity of the ingredients can make a big difference in their effectiveness and your results.


Professional bodybuilder showing off their ripped chest and arms.

Common Intra-Workout Ingredients

Intra-workout supplements will vary, but you'll typically see these common ingredients in most drinks on the market today.

BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids that play a crucial role in reducing muscle breakdown and promoting muscle protein synthesis, aiding in recovery and muscle development.

BCAAs are considered essential because our bodies cannot produce them on our own, and they need to be acquired through our diet or by using supplements.

Intra-workout supplement drinks often contain BCAAs due to their ability to minimize muscle breakdown while enhancing muscle protein synthesis. This makes them highly sought-after by athletes, especially bodybuilders, as they contribute to improved recovery and muscle growth.

Essential amino acids not only support recovery but also provide energy and enhance endurance during workouts, making it easier to train harder and longer.


Sodium, potassium, and magnesium are crucial electrolytes that are depleted through sweat when exercising, and replenishing them during physical activity supports hydration, prevents cramping, and optimizes muscle function.

Maintaining hydration and electrolyte balance is essential, and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium play a vital role in achieving this. By preventing cramping and fatigue during extended exercise, they contribute to your overall performance.

To provide the body with a rapid energy source during exercise, carbohydrates are often included, particularly fast-digesting ones like glucose or dextrose. This addition can enhance performance and delay fatigue.

During workouts, electrolyte drinks become indispensable for preserving hydration and preventing dehydration. These drinks contain a blend of minerals such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium that aid in regulating fluid balance within the body.

For bodybuilders, who experience significant water loss through intense sweating during their workouts, electrolyte drinks are vital.


Caffeine, a well-known stimulant, offers several benefits during exercise. It has the potential to not only enhance focus but also decrease the perceived level of exertion, leading to a more efficient workout session.

Additionally, caffeine has been shown to improve endurance, allowing individuals to sustain their performance for longer durations.

Due to its beneficial effects, caffeine is frequently incorporated into intra-workout supplements. By promoting heightened focus, reducing the feeling of exertion, and increasing endurance, caffeine can significantly enhance the overall effectiveness of a workout routine.


Protein plays a critical role in the processes of muscle growth and repair, making it an essential component of a well-rounded fitness regimen. When consumed in the form of protein drinks during workouts, it provides the necessary nutrients to support efficient muscle recovery.

Not only that, but protein drinks also contribute to reducing muscle breakdown and stimulating muscle growth.

Bodybuilders often favor whey protein as their go-to choice for supplementation due to its rapid absorption rate by the body. Additionally, whey protein offers a substantial amount of essential amino acids, which are vital for supporting muscle development and recovery.

As a result, it remains a popular and highly effective option for those seeking to maximize their muscle gains and optimize their workout results.


Beta-Alanine, classified as a non-essential amino acid, holds great potential in combating muscle fatigue and enhancing endurance, particularly during high-intensity exercise.

By incorporating beta-alanine into your workout routine, you can experience a reduction in muscle fatigue levels, allowing them to sustain their performance for longer durations and achieve your fitness goals with greater efficiency.

Its ability to enhance endurance makes beta-alanine a valuable supplement for those engaged in intense physical activities, such as high-intensity interval training or weightlifting.

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline Malate, an amino acid compound, possesses noteworthy benefits when it comes to enhancing blood flow and minimizing muscle fatigue during exercise.

By incorporating Citrulline Malate into a workout regimen, one can experience improved vasodilation, which promotes optimal blood circulation throughout the body. This enhanced blood flow can contribute to better nutrient delivery to the muscles and removal of metabolic waste products, ultimately aiding in reducing muscle fatigue and improving overall exercise performance.

Citrulline Malate's capacity to enhance blood flow and combat muscle fatigue makes it a valuable addition to the supplement arsenal of athletes and fitness enthusiasts seeking to maximize their workout potential.


Creatine, a naturally occurring compound found in the body, holds remarkable potential for increasing strength, power, and muscle mass. When supplemented, creatine has been shown to enhance the body's ability to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary source of energy for muscle contractions during high-intensity activities.

By increasing the availability of ATP, creatine aids in improving muscular strength and power output, allowing individuals to engage in more intense workouts and potentially experience greater gains in muscle mass.

Its ability to enhance performance and promote muscle development has made creatine a widely recognized and utilized supplement among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts aiming to optimize their physical performance and body composition.


Fast-digesting carbohydrates, such as glucose or dextrose, play a vital role in supplying the body with immediate energy during exercise. By consuming these types of carbohydrates, individuals can quickly replenish their energy stores, leading to improved performance and a delay in the onset of fatigue.

The rapid availability of energy from fast-digesting carbohydrates supports optimal physical exertion and enables individuals to push through demanding workouts with increased endurance.

Carbohydrates, serving as the primary fuel source for the body, assume a crucial role in sustaining energy levels during exercise. By incorporating carbohydrate drinks into their workout routine, individuals can effectively maintain their energy reserves and experience enhanced endurance throughout their training sessions.

Furthermore, carbohydrate drinks contribute to replenishing glycogen stores within the muscles. Intense workouts can deplete these glycogen stores, and replenishing them is essential for supporting sustained physical performance.

By leveraging the benefits of carbohydrate drinks, individuals can optimize their energy levels, improve their overall performance, and facilitate effective recovery from intense exercise sessions.


Weightlifter doing lunges with heavy weights.

What's the Low Down on Carbs in Intra-Workout Supplements?

The typical carb breakdown in an intra-workout supplement can vary depending on the specific product and brand.

However, most intra-workout supplements that contain carbohydrates will typically include fast-digesting carbohydrates such as glucose or dextrose, which can provide a quick source of energy during exercise.

The amount of carbohydrates in an intra-workout supplement can also vary, but it's generally recommended to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of exercise for optimal performance and recovery.

Some intra-workout supplements may provide all of the carbohydrates needed, while others may provide only a portion of the recommended amount.

It's important to note that while carbohydrates are an important fuel source for exercise, they should not be consumed in excess, particularly if weight loss is a goal.

Additionally, if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, you should consult with a healthcare provider before consuming supplements that contain carbohydrates.


Fitness athlete adding intraworkout to her blender bottle.

Intra-Workout Nutrition Breakdown:

The nutrition breakdown of intra-workout supplements can vary depending on the specific product and brand. However, most intra-workout supplements will typically contain a combination of the following nutrients:


Most intra-workout supplements will contain some calories, primarily from carbohydrates. The number of calories per serving can vary, but is typically in the range of 50-150 calories per serving.

You'll want to be sure to calculate this amount into your daily totals if you're aiming to cut through a caloric deficit.


Most intra-workout supplements may contain carbohydrates such as glucose, dextrose, or maltodextrin to provide a quick source of energy during exercise. The amount of carbohydrates per serving can vary but is typically in the range of 10-30 grams per serving.

Pay attention to this number if you're carb-cycling, in ketosis, or watching your insulin levels.

Amino Acids

Intra-workout supplements may contain amino acids such as BCAAs, glutamine, or citrulline malate to support muscle protein synthesis, reduce muscle breakdown, and improve recovery.

The amount and type of amino acids will vary, so read the label carefully.


Intra-workout supplements may contain electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium to support hydration and optimal muscle function during exercise.

Other Ingredients

As we discussed earlier, intra-workout supplements may also contain other ingredients such as caffeine, beta-alanine, or creatine, which can provide additional benefits such as improved focus, reduced fatigue, and increased strength and power.

It's important to note that the nutrition breakdown of intra-workout supplements can vary widely, and individuals should carefully read the label and ingredient list to ensure that the supplement meets their nutritional needs and goals.

Additionally, individuals with certain medical conditions or allergies should consult with a healthcare provider before consuming any new supplements.


Professional bodybuilder performing bicep curls at the gym.

Ingredients to Avoid in Intra-Workout Supplements

When selecting an intra-workout supplement, it's important to be mindful of the ingredients it contains. While individual needs and sensitivities can vary, here are some added ingredients that you may want to avoid or watch out for in intra-workout products.

Artificial Sweeteners

Some intra-workout supplements may contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, or saccharin. These ingredients can provide sweetness without adding calories, but they have been associated with potential negative health effects in some studies.

If you prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners, look for products that use natural sweeteners like stevia.

Artificial Colors and Dyes

Certain intra-workout supplements may include artificial colors and dyes to enhance their appearance. These additives, such as FD&C Red No. 40 or Yellow No. 6, have been linked to allergies, hyperactivity in children, and other adverse reactions in sensitive individuals.

Opting for products that use natural colorings or are colorless is a safer choice.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

HFCS is a sweetener derived from corn and is commonly found in processed foods and beverages. It has been associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and other health issues when consumed in excess.

While it's unlikely to find HFCS in intra-workout supplements, it's always a good idea to check the ingredient list.

Excessive Caffeine

Caffeine is a popular ingredient in many pre-workout and intra-workout supplements due to its stimulant properties. However, excessive caffeine consumption can lead to jitters, increased heart rate, and sleep disturbances.

It's important to be aware of your caffeine tolerance and choose products that provide an appropriate and safe amount for you.

Fillers and Additives

Some supplements may contain fillers, flow agents, or other additives that are not necessarily harmful but may not provide any nutritional benefit. Examples include microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, or titanium dioxide.

While these ingredients are generally considered safe, you might prefer products that have minimal or no additional fillers.

Remember to carefully read the ingredient labels and, if you have any specific dietary restrictions, allergies, or health concerns, consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before incorporating any new supplements into your routine.

Some of these added ingredients can be sneaky and go by different names on a label. If you aren't sure what something is in your supplement, do a little research by searching Google or adding a nutrition app to your phone and scanning the barcode.


Professional athlete performing a bench press.

Do I Really Need an Intra-Workout Supplement?

Intra-workout supplements are not essential for bodybuilders or anyone engaging in regular exercise. However, they are a helpful addition to a well-rounded nutrition and training plan.

Overall, the most effective intra-workout supplement will depend on your goals, training intensity, and dietary needs. It's important to choose a supplement that is safe, effective, and fits within your overall nutritional plan.

The primary benefits of intra-workout supplements are related to enhancing performance, improving recovery, and supporting optimal hydration and nutrient delivery during exercise.

For example, consuming carbohydrates during exercise can provide a quick source of energy, which can improve performance and delay fatigue.

Similarly, consuming amino acids such as BCAAs can help reduce muscle breakdown during exercise and improve recovery.

That being said, it's important to note that intra-workout supplements should not be viewed as a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet that provides all of the necessary nutrients to support physical activity.

While intra-workout supplements are not necessary for bodybuilders or other individuals engaging in regular exercise, they can be a helpful addition to support optimal performance, recovery, and overall health and wellness.


Person adding intraworkout powder to their blender bottle before a workout.

When Should I Drink Intra-Workout?

The timing of when to drink intra-workout supplements can depend on several factors, such as the individual's workout intensity, duration, and goals.

However, as a general guideline, intra-workout supplements should be consumed during the workout or training session, preferably sipped on throughout the session.

For optimal results, it's recommended to start consuming the intra-workout supplement 15-30 minutes before the workout to allow the body to digest and absorb the nutrients (more on this in the next section).

During the workout, the supplement should be sipped on periodically to help maintain hydration, energy, and performance.

It's important to note that intra-workout supplements should not be consumed on an empty stomach or in place of a meal. They should be consumed in conjunction with a balanced meal plan that meets the individual's nutritional needs and goals.

Overall, the key is to listen to the body and experiment with timing and dosage to find what works best for your goals and preferences.


Professional athlete adding weight to their barbel.

How Long Does it Take for Intra-Workout to Kick In?

The time it takes for an intra-workout supplement to kick in can vary depending on several factors, including the specific product, dosage, individual metabolism, and exercise intensity.

In general, most intra-workout supplements are designed to be quickly absorbed and to provide immediate nutritional support for energy, hydration, and muscle recovery. The effects of an intra-workout supplement may start to be noticed within minutes of consumption.

For example, an intra-workout supplement containing fast-absorbing carbohydrates and amino acids may provide a quick source of energy and help to reduce muscle breakdown during exercise. Similarly, an intra-workout supplement containing electrolytes and other hydration-promoting nutrients may help to replenish lost fluids and minerals during exercise.

The effects of an intra-workout supplement may vary depending on individual factors, such as body composition, exercise intensity, and metabolic rate. It's recommended to follow the manufacturer's instructions for dosage and timing, as well as to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian before adding any new supplements to your routine.


Weightlifter performing dead lifts.

How Long Does Intra-Workout Last?

The duration of an intra-workout supplement's effects can vary depending on several factors, including the specific product, dosage, individual metabolism, and exercise intensity and duration.

In general, the effects of an intra-workout supplement may last for a few hours, typically for the duration of the workout session. Some intra-workout supplements may provide a rapid and short-lived boost of energy, while others may provide a sustained release of nutrients over the course of the workout session.

An intra-workout supplement is designed to be taken during exercise to provide immediate nutritional support for energy, hydration, and muscle recovery. It's not intended to replace a balanced diet or to provide long-term nutritional support.


Athlete adding intraworkout to their bottle before intense weight training.

What Should I Mix My Intra-Workout Powder With?

The liquid that bodybuilders mix their intra-workout powder drink with can vary depending on their preferences and nutritional needs. Here are some common options.

  • Water: Water is a simple and convenient option to mix with an intra-workout powder drink. It's also a good option for individuals who want to avoid additional calories or sugars.
  • Sports Drinks: Sports drinks are a popular option for bodybuilders as they provide additional carbohydrates and electrolytes to support energy levels and hydration during exercise. However, it's important to choose a sports drink that is low in added sugars to avoid consuming excessive amounts of sugar.
  • Coconut Water: Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes and can be a good option for bodybuilders who prefer a more natural and less processed option than sports drinks.
  • Fruit Juice: Fruit juice can provide a source of carbohydrates and electrolytes, but it's important to choose a juice that is low in added sugars to avoid consuming excessive amounts of sugar.
  • Milk: Milk can provide a source of protein, carbohydrates, and electrolytes, making it a good option for bodybuilders who want to support muscle recovery and hydration during exercise.

The liquid that you choose to mix with your intra-workout powder drink can impact the overall nutritional content of the supplement.

It's recommended to choose a liquid that fits within your overall nutritional plan.


The Best Intra-Workout Supplement Drink To Level Up Your Training


Field Rations Intra-Workout Drink by 1st Detachment

1st Detachment Field Rations is a robust intra-workout supplement designed to support energy, hydration, and muscle recovery during exercise.

Ingredient Breakdown:

  • BCAAs (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine): These essential amino acids help to promote protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown during exercise.
  • Electrolyte Blend (Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium): These essential minerals help to regulate fluid balance and muscle function. The blend of electrolytes in the 1st Detachment Field Rations can help to replenish lost fluids and minerals during exercise.
  • Citrulline Malate: This is an amino acid that can help to increase blood flow and promote muscle endurance during exercise.
  • Beta-Alanine: This is a non-essential amino acid that can help to reduce muscle fatigue and improve exercise performance.
  • Taurine: This is an amino acid that can help to support muscle function and reduce muscle damage during exercise.
  • L-Tyrosine: This is an amino acid that can help to improve cognitive function and reduce stress during exercise.
  • Caffeine: This stimulant can help to improve energy and focus during exercise.

What We Like:

Field Rations is a meticulously crafted intra-workout supplement that supports muscle protein synthesis, aiding in muscle repair, growth, and achieving your desired physique and strength goals by ensuring efficient utilization of amino acids without excessive muscle breakdown.

Container of 1st Detachment Field Rations intra workout

Field Rations stands out as the ideal intra-workout supplement for several reasons. Its carefully designed formula supports energy, hydration, and muscle recovery during exercise, making it a top choice for fitness enthusiasts.

  • The supplement contains key ingredients that contribute to its effectiveness.
  • BCAAs promote protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown, while the electrolyte blend replenishes lost fluids and minerals.
  • Citrulline Malate enhances blood flow and muscle endurance, and Beta-Alanine reduces muscle fatigue.
  • Taurine supports muscle function and L-Tyrosine improves cognitive function while reducing stress.
  • Additionally, the inclusion of caffeine provides a boost in energy and focus.

With its focus on muscle protein synthesis and efficient amino acid utilization, the 1st Detachment Field Rations is a standout choice for those seeking optimal muscle repair, growth, and the achievement of their desired physique and strength goals.

Get an in-depth breakdown of the research and science that went into formulating 1st Detachment Field Rations.

Give 1st Detachment Field Rations a try!


Bodybuilder posing with arms behind his back.


It's important to note that while intra-workout drinks can be beneficial, they are not a replacement for a well-balanced diet and hydration plan.

As always, it's important to consult with a healthcare and training professional before adding any new supplements or drinks to your routine.

Intra-workout supplements, like any other supplement or food, can potentially have side effects. However, if used properly and within recommended dosage, the risk of side effects is generally low.

Potential side effects of intra-workout supplements:

  • Digestive issues: Some intra-workout supplements contain ingredients such as fiber, artificial sweeteners, or high doses of certain vitamins and minerals that can cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
  • Allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients in intra-workout supplements, such as whey protein, soy, or certain amino acids.
  • Caffeine-related side effects: Some intra-workout supplements contain caffeine, which can cause side effects such as increased heart rate, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping, especially if consumed in high doses or by individuals who are sensitive to caffeine.
  • Dehydration: Consuming intra-workout supplements that are high in caffeine or certain diuretic ingredients can increase the risk of dehydration if not properly hydrated.
  • Overdose: Taking more than the recommended dosage of intra-workout supplements can lead to overdose, which can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and increased heart rate.

It's important to note that the potential side effects of intra-workout supplements may vary depending on the individual's health status, allergies, and medication use.

It's recommended to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian before consuming any new supplements to ensure they are safe and effective for the individual's needs.

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