If you run out of energy mid-workout…
Consider taking: carb supplements
You can absolutely gain an advantage from carb supplements during your workout. These supplements typically take the form of purified glucose polymers, which deliver glucose to your muscles while they’re under stress. They’re especially useful during long workouts.
“There is a ton of information to support liquid carbohydrate consumption during exercise, particularly in cycling athletes,” McCune says. “Even if they swish it around in their mouth and spit it out, they feel like they’ve lowered their rate of exertion.”
Carbs come in a huge variety of labels, so do your homework about the supplement you pick up. “If you want to get really fancy, a new supplement called branched cyclic dextrin is popular—it’s not cheap, but it clears the GI tract very quickly and gets to the muscles faster,” McCune says.
When to take: During your workout. The scientific evidence mostly supports supplemental carbs during long (at least 45 min.) endurance workouts.
How much to take: There’s no set amount. McCune recommends mixing carbohydrates with water to create a 6–8% solution—roughly the concentration of Gatorade or Powerade.
You should know: “There’s no perfect carb for everybody,” McCune says. Gels work for some athletes and leave others with upset stomachs. Be cautious if you experiment with carb supplements mid-workout—even sports drinks.Back to top