Best Intra-Workout Supplements – Top 10 Brands for 2018

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Jump Ahead to the Top 10 Intra-Workout Products

We all know that when it comes to being healthy and staying fit, exercise is a key factor. Obviously, diet plays a huge role as well, but if you’re trying to build the body of your dreams, you will definitely have to spend a good amount of time at the gym.

Following a regular exercise routine can be difficult to begin, but once you get in the habit, it’s easy to maintain. Once you’ve established an exercise plan and developed a good habit of hitting the gym regularly, the next step is to do what you can to increase your results and exercise better, faster, and smarter.

One of the easiest and most accessible ways to improve the results you see from your efforts at the gym is to add supplements to your diet. There are all sorts of fitness supplements, ranging from protein powders to fat burners to recovery supplements. Today, we’re here to talk about intra-workout supplements, and how they can help you succeed at the gym.

What is an Intra-Workout Supplement?

Like the name suggests, intra-workout supplements are products designed to be taken during your workouts. They aim to increase your performance and extend your endurance, allowing you to lift more, run faster, etc. as well as spend a longer amount of time exercising. Many of the best intra-workout supplements also include ingredients to kick start your recovery, even before you’re finished exercising!

There are several types of intra-workout supplements, and some that combine multiple aspects to create more versatile blends. Most intra-workout drinks target the various aspects of intra-workout nutrition, providing ingredients to keep you fueled (energy), performance enhancing supplements to help you achieve more at the gym, and amino acid supplements to protect your muscles and get a jump-start on recovery.

Most of these products come in powder form, and must be mixed with water or milk and consumed just before or during your workout. For convenience, we recommend using a BlenderBottle to mix your supplements to take during a workout. This will help you keep your shakes mixed up at the gym so they don’t clump up.

Some Common Ingredients in Intra-Workouts

Intra-workouts contain a wide variety of ingredients. While ingredient profiles vary, most products contain a blend of the following types of ingredients:

  • Amino acids (especially BCAAs) – Amino acids are often added, either in protein powders or as isolated amino acid supplements. Amino acids play many roles in the body, but are particularly important for building muscle. Branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs, play a vital role in protein synthesis and the building of muscle tissue. Supplements containing amino acids can help you extend your workouts, and get a jump-start on recovery.
  • Creatine – Creatine is one of the most commonly used performance enhancers. Known for its ability to improve athletic performance and help you lift more weight, creatine is a common ingredient found in intra-workouts. Beta-alanine, best known for its ability to improve short-term muscle performance is also commonly added.
  • Carbohydrates –Carbohydrates, or carbs, are an essential part of these supplements. Carbs are a great source of natural energy. They are digested quickly and converted into glucose, one of the body’s prefered sources of energy. Intra-workouts use fast-digesting carbs, such as maltodextrin, that are digested rapidly, providing immediate energy for your workout.
  • Electrolytes – Often, electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, etc. are added to these supplements to improve hydration. Electrolytes help you stay hydrated, which can help increase the length of your workouts while protecting your body from dehydration and over-exhaustion.

Benefits of Intra-Workout Products

These products can provide a wide range of benefits. Results will vary depending on the product you’re taking, your individual body, and your goals. In general, intra-workout supplements may provide you with energy, endurance and recovery boosting ingredients.

In short, these products provide an ideal blend for intra-workout nutrition. They aim to extend the length of your workout, improve its quality, and increase the results you see from your efforts.

Who Can Benefit from intra-workout Supplements?

If you’re wondering what groups of people can benefit the most from these types of supplements, here’s your answer:

  • Strength Trainers – Strength trainers, weightlifters, bodybuilders, etc – basically, anyone who spends a lot of time at the gym will see the most benefit from taking an intra-workout. These supplements are designed to improve the quality of your workout, and extend your endurance – and therefore improve your results. If you want to be able to exercise for longer periods of time, or want to improve your performance, order one of these supplements today!
  • Athletes – Athletes, runners, and anyone who regularly does strenuous endurance activities can benefit from taking a good intra-workout drink. Better performance, more energy, and improved recovery – what’s not to like about that?
  • Men and Women – Both men and women can greatly benefit from these supplements. intra-workout supplements for men will be pretty much the same thing as intra-workout supplements for women, as there are generally no gender-specific ingredients used.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Side effects of intra-workouts are generally mild, and most users don’t experience any negative effects at all. With that being said, there are a few side effects that you may experience, including:

Tingling skin

Many intra-workouts include beta-alanine, which is known to cause a slight tingling sensation on the skin shortly after it’s consumed. This is completely normal, and completely harmless, but it’s good to be aware of. Once your body gets used to beta-alanine, you likely won’t experience this sensation any more.

Bloating

Creatine, a common ingredient found in these supplements, can cause minor bloating in some people. This is because creatine makes your muscles retain more water – which is one of the main reasons it works so well as a performance enhancing ingredient. However, this extra water weight can feel like bloating to some, and you may experience some temporary water weight gain. It will all go away when you stop taking creatine.

Those are the two common side effects reported, but others are possible. More severe side effects can occur if you take more than the recommended serving size. NEVER take more than instructed!

Note: We do not recommend taking any supplements featured on this website without speaking with a doctor first!

How to Take Intra-Workout Products

These supplements are best taken during your workout. Depending on the length of your typical exercise session, you’ll have to choose the best time for your individual situation. If you typically exercise for less than an hour, you may want to take your serving right when you get to the gym, so that it has time to get to work.

For those that exercise for 1-2+ hours at a time, you should take a dose of the supplement about one-third of the way through your workout. So, in a typical 90-minute workout, you should drink your shake at about the 30-minute mark.You should take it before you begin to feel tired. If you wait until you’re already getting tired, it won’t be as effective because it takes a while to kick in.

Again, we recommend that you use a BlenderBottle to mix your shake up at the gym. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with a clumpy mess!

As for dosing/serving size, you should ALWAYS take the recommended dose. Check the product packaging for the serving size and recommended dosage amount. Do not take more than recommended unless you talk to a doctor first!

Go ToTop 10 Shaker Bottles & Mixers

What to Look for in a Good Intra-Workout Supplement

In order to select the most effective intra-workout supplement for you, you will have to compare the various options and make an informed decision. We’ve already put together a list of the top intra-workout products on the market, but it will be up to you to pick the one that’s best for you. To help you choose, here are some things to look for:

  • Included ingredients – First, take a close look at what is in each supplement. Does it include carbs, BCAAs, creatine, etc? If so, in what quantity? Compare and contrast the various products and the individual formulas of each.
  • Value for Money – While you don’t necessarily want cheap intra-workout supplements, you want to find a product that fits your budget. When you’re comparing multiple options, do the math and figure out the per-serving cost of each. In general, for a high quality intra-workout supplement you should be paying between $0.75-$1.50 per serving, depending on what’s in it.
  • Brand recognition – Pay attention to who makes the product, and what their reputation in the community is. You’ll want to find products from good, trustworthy companies. All 10 of our recommendations (see below) come from very reputable and quality companies, but if you shop elsewhere be sure to do your own research.
  • Taste/texture – Since you’ll be taking these supplements often, you should try to find one that tastes good and mixes well. Obviously this can be a bit difficult without actually trying the product for yourself. Reading intra-workout supplement reviews can help, as it gives you an idea of how the general public likes the taste of various products.

Top 10 Intra-Workout Products Compared

Heads up, there are affiliate links in this article, so if you buy something, we get a cut of the sale.


1. Scivation Xtend BCAAs

Scivation Xtend Bcaas

Scivation Xtend BCAAs is our pick of the #1 intra-workout supplement available. This effective, unique and affordable supplement tops our list of recommendations for many reasons. Offering a carbohydrate blend, electrolyte blend, BCAAs and more, Xtend BCAAs gives your body all it needs to push through and have an amazing workout.

Highlights:

  • 7 grams BCAA per serving
  • Added glutamine and citrulline malate
  • Excellent value for money
  • Comes in a good choice of flavors
  • Mixes easily
  • Our overall top recommendation

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 25g carbo triplex blend, consisting of maltodextrin, cluster dextrin and waxy maize.
  • 1170mg electrolyte blend, consisting of potassium chloride, sodium chloride and more.
  • 7g BCAAs (2:1:1 ratio), consisting of 5g leucine, 1.75g isoleucine, and 1.75g valine.
  • 5g glutamine
  • 1g citrulline malate

Who makes it: Xtend is made by Scivation, a company dedicated to “building better bodies through science and innovation”. Scivation develops, manufactures and distributes a wide range of fitness supplements. They take care in the development stage to create truly high quality and effective supplements that can help their customers reach (and exceed) their fitness goals.

Bottom line: Overall, Scivation Xtend BCAAs is among the highest rated intra-workout supplements for men and women alike. As you can see from the list above, this product contains ingredients that target all the most important aspects of improving exercise quality. This highly effective and affordable product is our top recommendation – try it today!

Full Breakdown: Scivation Xtend

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2. Gaspari Nutrition SizeOn Maximum Performance

Gaspari-Nutrition-SizeOn-Maximum-Performance

SizeOn Maximum Performance is a powerful intra-workout and recovery supplement made by Gaspari Nutrition. Combining protein, BCAAs, amino acids, creatine and more into one product, Gaspari has come up with a truly unique formula.

Highlights:

  • Added BCAAs and other amino acids
  • Mixes easily
  • Great choices in flavor
  • Affordable

What’s in it: One serving contains 62.2g SizeOn Proprietary Blend, consisting of:

  • Protein synthesis acceleration matrix, consisting of whey protein hydrolysate, leucine, isoleucine, valine, and more.
  • PhosphoDrive endurance complex, consisting of creatine monohydrate, magnesium creatine chelate and disodium creatine phosphate.
  • OsmoDrive advanced hydration complex, consisting of taurine, potassium, calcium, sodium, and more.

Who makes it: SizeOn Maximum Performance is made by Gaspari Nutrition. Since 1998, Gaspari has been in the business of building better supplements to help customers build better bodies! Combining unique formulas with innovative new ingredients and techniques, Gaspari Nutrition is on the cutting edge of exercise science.

Bottom line: Overall, SizeOn Maximum Performance is a great product and one of the top intra-workout supplements out there. Its unique formula harnesses the power of creatine, BCAAs and more to help improve the quality and length of your workouts.

Full Breakdown: Gaspari Nutrition SizeOn

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3. Cellucor COR-Performance Beta-BCAA

Cellucor-COR-Performance-Beta-BCAA

Cellucor COR-Performance Beta-BCAA is a powerful and effective product and one of the better intra-workout supplements on the market. With an impressive 5g of branched chain amino acids per serving, plus added beta-alanine and citrulline malate, Beta-BCAA is packed with ingredients to help you exercise more effectively.

Highlights:

  • 5g BCAAs per serving
  • Affordable
  • Highest quality ingredients used
  • Great flavor choices
  • Very easy to mix

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 5g BCAAs, including 5g leucine, 1.25g valine and 1.25g isoleucine. These free form branched chain amino acids are absorbed rapidly, getting to work right away.
  • 2g citrulline malate
  • 6g beta-alanine
  • 750mg HICA (A-hydroxyisocaproic acid), a metabolite of leucine.

Who makes it: COR-Performance Beta-BCAA is made by Cellucor, one of the largest names in the business. Cellucor makes everything from protein powders to recovery supplements, and they are best known for their super-popular C4 line of pre-workout supps. Cellucor has built a solid reputation of quality products and excellent customer service, and with one of the best R&D teams in the industry, they are constantly coming out with innovative new products to supply the growing fitness industry.

Bottom line: Overall, Cellucor Beta-BCAA is a very good intra-workout supplement and one of our top recommendations. Harnessing the natural power of branched chain amino acids, beta-alanine, citrulline malate and more, this product gets to work fast and can produce impressive results. Plus, it’s made by Cellucor, one of the fitness community’s favorite brands.

Full Breakdown: Cellucor Beta-BCAA

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4. Rich Piana 5% Nutrition ALLDAYYOUMAY

Rich-Piana-5-Nutrition-ALLDAYYOUMAY

ALLDAYYOUMAY is a good intra-workout supplement made by Rich Piana’s 5% Nutrition. This product is formulated to give you a muscle-building boost at any time of the day, and works great as either an intra-workout or a post-workout supplement.

Highlights:

  • Can be used at any time of the day
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Affordable

Drawbacks:

  • No carbohydrates for energy

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 6g BCAAs in a 10:1:1 ratio. Includes 5g leucine, 500mg isoleucine and 500mg valine.
  • 8g amino acid blend, consisting of cysteine, glutamine and carnitine.
  • 960mg amino acid support blend, consisting of coconut water extract, bromelain, taurine and more.
  • 5g Intra-cellular buffer blend, consisting of creatinol-o-phosphate and beta-alanine.

Who makes it: ALLDAYYOUMAY is made by 5% Nutrition, a large fitness supplement company founded by legendary bodybuilder Rich Piana. The company aims to provide the hardest-working athletes with the tools they need to find success.

Bottom line: Overall, ALLDAYYOUMAY is a great product. It can be used before, during, or after your workout, giving it a lot of flexibility. Its unique formula offers a lot of value, yet it’s priced very affordably. The only downside is that it does not contain carbohydrates, so it won’t give you as much energy during your workout as some other recommendations.

Full Breakdown: 5% Nutrition AllDayYouMay

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5. Nutrabolics Anabolic State

Nutrabolics-Anabolic-State

Nutrabolics Anabolic State is a muscle-building supplement designed to be taken during or shortly after your workouts with added BCAAs, HICA, and Lysine.

Highlights:

  • 0 carbs/sugar/calories
  • Affordable
  • Great flavors

Drawbacks:

  • No carbohydrates for mid-workout energy

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 6g BCAAs (2:1:1) ratio, including 3g leucine, 1.5g isoleucine and 5g valine. Branched chain amino acids are known for their various helpful attributes.
  • 3g glutamine, an amino acid.
  • 500mg HICA (alpha-hydroxyisocaproic acid), HICA is a leucine metabolite.
  • 500mg lysine, an essential amino acid.

Who makes it: Anabolic State is made by Nutrabolics, a large-scale fitness supplement company with a worldwide reach. In just 10 years, Nutrabolics has exploded into the world of fitness and now has loyal customers in more than 50 countries. They strive to be on the cutting edge of fitness science and are constantly working on the next big thing.

Bottom line: Overall, Nutrabolics Anabolic State is a great product. It contains a solid dose of the hard-hitting BCAAs that are highly effective, plus many more helpful ingredients. It does not contain any carbohydrates, so it will be less energizing than some of our other recommendations – but still a great option.

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6. RSP Nutrition Regen

RSP-Nutrition-Regen

RSP Nutrition Regen is a powerful BCAA and during workout supplement. Made by RSP Nutrition, a leader in the fitness industry, Regen packs quite a punch. With a powerful blend of BCAAs, citrulline malate, glutamine, and much more, Regen has all it takes to improve your performance – all in one easy & tasty package!

Highlights:

  • Stimulant-free
  • Bioperine for enhanced bioavailability
  • Great tasting flavors
  • Mixes easily
  • Very affordable

Drawbacks:

  • No carbohydrates for energy
  • Less BCAAs than average

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 750mg BCAAs, including leucine, isoleucine and valine.
  • Nitric Oxide generation matrix, consisting of citrulline malate, agmatine sulfate, and norvaline.
  • Replenishment and recovery matrix, consisting of glutamine, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and more.

Who makes it: Regen is made by RSP Nutrition, a large company that has made it their mission to provide innovative premium nutrition supplements to a wide range of customers. Founded by athletes, the dedicated team at RSP Nutrition knows exactly what athletes and weightlifters need to succeed, and they strive every day to provide those tools.

Bottom line: Overall, Regen is a good intra-workout supplement and a very affordable option that can produce good results, but keep in mind that Regen contains significantly less BCAAs than most products on this list.

7. Controlled Labs Purple Wraath

Controlled-Labs-Purple-Wraath

Purple Wraath is a powerful intra-workout supplement made by Controlled Labs. Packed with BCAAs, amino acids, beta alanine, citrulline malate and much more, Purple Wraath targets multiple aspects of performance and recovery to offer a well-rounded, effective product.

Highlights:

  • Improves nutrient absorption
  • Absorbs quickly
  • Affordable

Drawbacks:

  • Only available in grape flavor

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 7g PurpleEAA complex (amino acid complex), consisting of leucine, isoleucine, valine, arginine, and more.
  • PurplEndurance complex, consisting of beta alanine, citrulline malate, ginger and more.

Who makes it: Purple Wraath is made by Controlled Labs, a New York-based manufacturer of fitness and health supplements. Controlled Labs focuses on using proven ingredients to create effective and affordable supplements.

Bottom line: Overall, Purple Wraath is a good product containing many of the ingredients that are most essential in a good intra-workout supplement. It’s a very affordable and effective option, but unfortunately it’s only available in grape flavor.

8. Beast Sports Nutrition Aminolytes

Beast-Sports-Nutrition-Aminolyte

Aminolytes is an effective and simple BCAA/intra-workout supplement made by Beast Sports Nutrition. Combining hefty doses of BCAAs, essential amino acids, electrolytes and more, Aminolytes supplies your body with the tools it needs to hit the gym hard and find success.

Highlights:

  • Can be taken during or after workouts
  • Very affordable
  • Tastes great

Drawbacks:

  • No carbohydrates for energy
  • Only available in 3 flavors

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 6g BCAAs, consisting of leucine, isoleucine and valine.
  • 8g amino acid blend, consisting of lysine, beta alanine, methionine and more. This blend provides many essential amino acids plus beta alanine.
  • 25g electrolyte blend, consisting of sodium phosphate, potassium phosphate and magnesium phosphate.

Who makes it: Aminolytes is made by Beast Sports Nutrition. This award-winning supplement manufacturer has more than 20 years of experience in developing high quality supplements and health products.

Bottom line: Overall, Aminolytes is a good product that can really help improve your results from exercise. It contains all the most important ingredients that may give you a boost at the gym. It does not contain any carbohydrates, so it won’t be quite as energizing as some of our top recommendations.

9. DS Splyce intra-workout AAs

DS-Splyce-Intra-Workout-AAs

Splyce is a simple intra-workout amino acid supplement made by Driven Sports. Harnessing the natural power of BCAAs, taurine, TMG and more, Driven Sports has put together an effective and straightforward product to improve your performance and help you achieve better results.

Highlights:

  • Affordable
  • Mixes easily

Drawbacks:

  • Expensive for what it is
  • Less active ingredients than most supplements on this list
  • Only 2 flavors available

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 8g Splyce proprietary blend, consisting of leucine, isoleucine, valine, taurine, trimethylglycine, and more. This proprietary blend harnesses the power of branched chain amino acids.

Who makes it: Splyce is made by Driven Sports, a newly founded supplement manufacturer. With a humble beginning in 2008, Driven Sports went on to win the Breakout Brand of the Year award from Bodybuilding.com in 2011. Today, they are still a relatively small company, but they are known for a quality over quantity approach.

Bottom line: Overall, Splyce is a simple product that can help improve your athletic performance, support endurance and promote recovery. With that being said, it doesn’t contain nearly as many proven ingredients as most of our top recommendations. For the price, it’s a decent value, but there are definitely better options.

10. MusclePharm Amino1

MusclePharm-Amino1

Amino1 is a simple and effective new recovery/intra-workout drink mix made by MusclePharm. With BCAAs and blends to promote energy and hydration, Amino 1 works well as an intra-workout booster or a post-workout recovery drink.

Highlights:

  • Mixes easily
  • Comes from a great company

Drawbacks:

  • Expensive for what it is

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 3g BCAAs, including 5g leucine, 1g valine and 500mg isoleucine.
  • 4,775mg cellular energy blend, consisting of glycine, citrulline malate, alanine, carnitine, and more.
  • 2,323mg amino hydrate blend, consisting of coconut water powder, taurine, beet root extract and more.

Who makes it: Amino1 is made by MusclePharm, one of the largest manufacturers in the supplement industry. With millions of loyal fans and an impressive catalog of high quality products, MusclePharm is a true leader in the industry.

Bottom line: Overall, Amino1 is a good product providing a solid dose of amino acids and a decent boost of energy. For the price, we think there are better options out there.

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering adding a intra-workout supplement to your diet, we recommend picking one of our top recommendations and giving it a try. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results you see!

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