Review: Athletic Edge Nutrition IntrAbolic!
Athletic Edge (AE) Nutrition calls IntrAbolic “The Pioneer of Intra-Workout Nutrition.” AE means this quite literally: it’s supposed to be consumed—not before or after—but during your workout for optimal muscle growth. It’s implicit in the name: “Intra (During) + Anabolic (Muscle building) = IntrAbolic.”
Athletic Edge claims that IntrAbolic will:
- Stimulate the Anabolic Response—Build Muscle Fast
- Fight Muscle Breakdown—Boost Recovery
- Increase Muscular Strength & Endurance
- Increase Muscle Fullness and Vascularity
Fact…or fiction? A look at the label will tell us more.
Aminobolic Response Blend 8,055mg
L-Leucine [5g], Arginine, L-Valine, L-Lysine HCL, L-Phenylalanine, L-Threonine, L-Isoleucine, L-Histidine, L-Methionine
Power/Strength/Endurance Blend 3,740mg
Beta-Alanine [3.2g], Potassium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride
IntrAbolic-Peptides™ (Hydrolyzed Whey Protein [Providing Rapidly Absorbed Low-Molecular Weight Di- And Tripeptides]), Natural And Artificial Flavors, Malic Acid, Maltodextrin, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, FD&C Yellow #5, FD&C Blue #2
IntrAbolic is already looking like my kind of supplement: straightforward and uncomplicated. Even better, most of the ingredients are pretty useful. This is easy to see when you look at each component in detail.
Aminobolic Response Blend: Like Controlled Labs’ Purple Wraath, most of the known, essential amino acids (tryptophan excepted) are included in the formula. Unlike Purple Wraath, however, a known (and rather generous amount) of L-leucine (5g) has been added.
What’s so great about leucine? It’s more than just a building block for the creation of new proteins; it also directly stimulates muscle protein synthesis (MPS) via insulin-dependent and independent pathways. Leucine plays a unique, anabolic role, which explains why it dominates the blend.
The Aminobolic blend also supplies arginine: a conditionally-essential amino acid that’s the primary ingredient in NO (nitric oxide) supplements. Arginine boosts the production of NO, which—in turn—enhances the “pump” you feel during a hard workout.
I expect leucine and arginine comprise the bulk of the listed 8.055g…which means the remaining amino acids in this blend are probably “label decoration.” It’s a small flaw, however, so I can live with it.
Power/Strength/Endurance Blend: The principle ingredient here is beta-alanine. Beta-alanine is one-half of the naturally-occurring dipeptide carnosine (beta-alanyl-l-histidine), which—among other functions—helps to buffer hydrogen ions produced during intense muscular contractions. As Paul explained in his review of iSatori’s H+Blocker:
…carnosine is stored in muscle tissues, and one of its jobs is to neutralize the hydrogen ions which are the by-product of anaerobic glycolysis. This is the process by which the body creates energy without the presence of oxygen. When you lift weights, you require dramatic amounts of energy for those explosive, powerful movements. This energy is generated by anaerobic glycolysis, since the energy requirements are too extreme to be met by aerobic means.
As contractions continue, hydrogen ions build up in the muscle, lowering its pH level, and thus increasing its acidity. This is known as muscular acidosis—and its the reason for the increasing burn and the increased weakness you feel as you progress farther into the reps of your chosen exercise.
The Power/Strength/Endurance blend also provides small amounts of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, etc.), to restore what’s lost in sweat.
IntrAbolic Peptides: In addition to free-form amino acids, IntrAbolic provides 7g of hydrolyzed whey protein. “Hydrolyzed” means the proteins have been broken down into smaller peptide fragments. This speeds up the process of digestion and absorption, as part of the work has already been done. In addition, the process creates di- and tri-peptides, which are more quickly absorbed than individual amino acids. This is because non-specific peptide transporters can be used, as opposed to the specific (and rate-limiting) transporters needed for free amino acids.
Seven grams of protein may not seem like much compared to the 40–50g some trainees knock back during their workouts, but research has shown that smaller amounts are also quite capable of stimulating MPS. Thus, in combination with the extra leucine/EAAs in the Aminobolic Blend, there’s enough here to get the job done.
Overall, AE’s claims for IntrAbolic are supported by existing research—with one small exception…the timing. Despite the number of studies done on “nutrient timing,” there’s no clear consensus on a “best” time for protein/peptide/amino acid supplementation. When it comes to MPS, consuming them during your workout isn’t likely to give better results than consuming them pre- and post-workout. Thus, I don’t think it’s necessary to take the directions literally to get good results, unless—of course—you’re stacking IntrAbolic with other pre-/post-workout products (such as AE’s Steel Edge and IntraXCell).
IntrAbolic appears to be a well-designed, good-quality supplement. This is borne out by the user reviews I’ve seen, which give it a thumbs up for both value and taste. I also like the fact that it isn’t loaded with carbohydrates, as many workout supplements are. As noted in the FAQ’s:
“Depending on the type and duration of your exercise regime, we suggest you add carbohydrates to IntrAbolic. We leave the type and amount of carbohydrate up to your individual needs.”
I think this is exactly right. I like to use some carbs either immediately before or during my workout, but prefer to add my own. This not only allows me to adjust the amount to my needs (i.e., cutting, gaining or maintaining), but also saves me money. It’s infuriating to pay “supplement” prices for dirt-cheap carbs.
I haven’t tried IntrAbolic yet, although it certainly looks like it’s worth trying…I’ll be adding this one to my short list.
|Summary of IntrAbolic|