If you workout at odd hours, you're prone to fatigue or you 'hitting a wall' during your workouts, you should try integrating beta-alanine into your supplementation regime. Here is a concise guide on everything you need to know about beta-alanine, and how it can benefit your gym performance.
Photo credit: muscleandstrength
WHAT IS BETA-ALANINE?
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is not typically attainable through whole food protein sources, and it converts into carnosine when ingested. When one is going through strenuous exercise, your muscles retain acidic hydrogen ions, causing them to become fatigued due to a pH imbalance. Carnosine acts as a cellular barrier against this imbalance, allowing your body to maintain a certain level of stamina. With increased carnosine in your system, you feel less fatigue, which allows you to push harder during your workouts. This in turn allows for greater muscle growth as you progress.
As carnosine cannot be directly consumed, beta-alanine is the only way to attain the aforementioned benefits.
HOW ELSE CAN BETA-ALANINE HELP MY PERFORMANCE?
With less fatigue, you'll be able to work out harder, and utilise more strength during your lifts without suffering the full force of exhaustion. Beta-alanine also helps increase the anaerobic endurance levels of your muscles, which enables you to execute short bursts of greater strength during each lift. Higher carnosine levels in your system also permits you to train for longer, making each stint at the gym well worth your time.
Beta-alanine is also particularly helpful if you've hit a plateau in your training, and want to break out of the results stasis.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SEE RESULTS?
Typically, you should see improvements in two weeks or less. These might be minor changes, with the most significant occurring during the 3-4 week mark. Your body will reach optimum carnosine levels in 12 weeks, so it's recommended for you to continue with beta-alanine supplementation until the three-month mark before cycling.
WHAT BETA-ALANINE SUPPLEMENTS SHOULD I TAKE?
Beta-alanine comes in many pre-workout supplements that boosts strength and energy, such as MusclePharm's Assault. If you're really looking for a double-punch, opt for pre-workout mixes that have creatine monohydrate and beta-alanine, like Platinum Labs' Defcon 1 2nd Strike.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED DOSE OF BETA-ALANINE?
Start off by loading beta-alanine, with around 6 grams a day for the first week, and then taking about 3 grams a day for the remaining duration. Beta-alanine should be taken as a pre-workout.
Some people experience a tingling sensation when first taking beta-alanine, which is nothing to worry about. This is just the supplement binding to your nerve receptors, essentially doing its job. The tingling will rarely continue past 90 minutes. Even if you don't experience the sensation, it doesn't mean the supplement isn't working as everyone's body reacts differently.
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