Six Ingredients To Help Fuel Longer, More Intense Workouts
Over-worked and undernourished: a perfect recipe to skip the gym. When it comes down to it, sometimes all we need is a little kick in the butt to get us going. If you’re searching for something to push you to the next level or heck, just to push you over hump day, then read on. Here are some of the most effective pre-workout ingredients for a quick pick-me-up, and to help fuel longer, more intense workouts.
Used as an agent to augment nitric oxide (NO) production, arginine is marketed primarily as an aid to improve blood flow to exercising muscle. Theoretically, arginine enhances the delivery of hormones, nutrients and oxygen. Some evidence suggests that growth-hormone levels may also be increased. Arginine may serve as an effective pre-workout ingredient when consumed in appropriate doses 30 to 60 minutes prior to exercise.
Caffeine is a central nervous system and metabolic stimulant utilised to reduce feelings of fatigue and to restore mental acuity. Numerous studies have demonstrated how caffeine enhances performance. The most common effective dosing recommendation would be to supplement with three to six mg per kg of body weight, 30 to 60 minutes before exercise.
Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that is vital for the synthesis of arginine and nitric oxide. Research suggests that citrulline may increase lactate reabsorption and more importantly, ATP resynthesis. The potential result of citrulline’s action is delayed fatigue. Based on certain research, in order to delay muscle fatigue by increasing ATP resynthesis and lactate reabsorption, consume six grams per day.
Beta-alanine has been identified as the rate-limiting substrate necessary for the synthesis of a dipeptide protein called carnosine. Carnosine appears to buffer as much as 40 percent of the hydrogen ions (a metabolic by-product that contributes to fatigue) that cause the acidic conditions in skeletal muscle. In theory, increasing muscle carnosine levels through chronic training or beta-alanine supplementation would improve the muscle’s buffering capabilities, and lead to an improvement in anaerobic performance. The most efficacious dosing recommendation is a loading phase consisting of two grams, three times daily for four weeks.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
BCAAs are in high demand as the primary amino acids oxidised during exercise (especially endurance exercise) and are fundamental for protein synthesis. Research investigating BCAA supplementation pre-, during-, and post-exercise has demonstrated augmented protein synthesis and a reduction in protein degradation, ultimately enhancing recovery time.
Taurine has been proposed to improve time to exhaustion, reduce exercise-induced injury, decrease oxidative stress, and regulate core body temperature, which may translate into augmented performance. Furthermore, it is considered a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that under certain conditions, such as intense training, the body cannot synthesise adequate amounts, suggesting the importance of taurine supplementation. Based on the current research, recommendations consist of 100 to 500 mg per kg of body weight per day, consumed prior to meals and/or glucose-containing solutions.
Source: Smith, A. (2011, November/December). Pre-workout pick-me-ups. Inside Fitness, 110–111.