The performance enhancing effects of Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that has gained popularity in the fitness industry for its performance-enhancing effects. It has been shown to increase muscular endurance, power output, and improve exercise capacity in both athletes and non-athletes alike. In this blog post, we will discuss the science behind beta-alanine supplementation, its recommended protocols for training and competition in a CrossFit setting.

What is Beta-Alanine?

Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is found in foods such as chicken, beef, and fish. Unlike other amino acids, it is not involved in protein synthesis but instead combines with histidine to form carnosine, a dipeptide that is found in high concentrations in skeletal muscle. Carnosine is a buffer that helps to reduce the accumulation of hydrogen ions during intense exercise, which can cause muscle fatigue and reduce performance.

Performance-Enhancing Effects of Beta-Alanine

Numerous studies have shown that beta-alanine supplementation can significantly increase muscular endurance, power output, and exercise capacity. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that subjects who took beta-alanine supplements had significantly higher muscle carnosine levels and improved performance in a high-intensity cycling test compared to the placebo group (1). Another study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that beta-alanine supplementation increased peak power output by 11% and time to exhaustion by 16% during a cycling test (2).

Recommended Protocols for Training

The recommended protocol for beta-alanine supplementation is to take 3-6 grams per day, divided into 2-3 doses, for a period of 4-6 weeks. This loading phase is necessary to increase muscle carnosine levels, which can take several weeks to achieve. After the loading phase, a maintenance dose of 1-2 grams per day is recommended to maintain muscle carnosine levels.

In a CrossFit Competition Setting

In a CrossFit competition setting, beta-alanine supplementation can be particularly beneficial during high-intensity workouts that involve repeated bouts of exercise. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that beta-alanine supplementation improved performance in a CrossFit-style workout that involved high-intensity interval training (3). The recommended protocol for competition is to take 3-6 grams of beta-alanine approximately 60-90 minutes before the workout to maximize its performance-enhancing effects.

Conclusion

Beta-alanine is a safe and effective supplement that can help to improve muscular endurance, power output, and exercise capacity. Its performance-enhancing effects make it particularly useful for athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to improve their performance in high-intensity workouts. The recommended protocols for training and competition outlined in this blog post can help to maximize its benefits and improve overall performance.

References:

  1. Saunders B, et al. β-alanine supplementation improves YoYo intermittent recovery test performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jul 9;9(1):39.

  2. Hill CA, et al. Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high-intensity cycling capacity. Amino Acids. 2007 Feb;32(2):225-33.

  3. Smith AE, et al. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 11;6:5.


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