Supplementing For Endurance

by DeanMcKillop 3346 views Supplements

Supplementing For Endurance

As with any performance based sport, the goal should always be about optimising your approach in the most holistic manner possible. Being holistic means we look at the bigger picture and instead of focusing on a limited amount of key principles, whereby you may be so short sited that you miss something important, we focus on an approach that is all encompassing.

So while performance may primarily be improved via nutritional parameters matching your physical requirements, supplementation should not be forgotten.

ESPECIALLY when there are some supplements available that you cannot achieve the benefits from by simply following specific dieting methodologies.

If you’re an endurance athlete and you are not using supplements, you are limiting your potential.

Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine is known as a rate limiting amino acid, whereby its primary benefit of oral consumption is its effect on increasing intramuscular Carnosine levels. In essence, by consuming Beta Alanine, your body uses it to create and store more Carnosine than consuming even Carnosine itself would.

Beta Alanine is the limiting factor.

Carnosine, which is known as a di-peptide (2 amino acids) is responsible for the buffering of Hydrogen ions, which accumulate as a result of lactic acid accumulation. Now if you understand lactic acid, you will know that lactate is both a positive thing and a negative thing.

Lactic acid is positive in that it can assist in the regeneration of ATP via the Krebs Cycle during submaximal exercise, however, it can also cause fatigue if the accumulation is greater than the bodies ability to remove it at sufficient speed.

This is called the lactate threshold.

Beta Alanine by Genetix Nutrition

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Supplementing with Beta Alanine has been shown to enhance endurance capacity, which is achieved via increased intramuscular Carnosine levels. In essence, by supplementing with Beta-Alanine you have the ability to work at a higher percentage of your heart rate max, without completely fatiguing.

Beta Alanine allows you to work harder without fatigue! 

Citrulline Malate

L-Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that can be biosynthesised naturally by the body, however, supplementation of L-Citrulline, especially when attached to a malic acid bond, has been shown to enhances its benefits.

Supplementing with Citrulline Malate results in an increase in Arginine levels, of which Arginine offers a multitude of benefits. One of the primary benefits of increased Arginine levels is its ability to enhance blood flow, which can help facilitate the delivery and removal of nutrients/toxic compounds such as lactic acid more effectively.

Even more importantly, Citrulline Malate has also been shown to:

  • Increase anaerobic strength performance
  • Reduce muscle soreness
  • Increase work capacity
  • Improve exercise pain tolerance
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Increased time trial performance

Citrulline Malate by Gen-Tec Nutrition

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Electrolyte and Carbohydrate Blend

During exercise, the primary energy source used for performance is glucose, whereby stored glycogen is broken down into glucose to provide a fuel source to the Krebs Cycle to generate ATP. In doing so, one of the primary determinants for muscle performance reduction is the glucose availability status of the athlete.

Similarly, during exercise, the body achieves thermoregulation via both aspiration (breath) and perspiration (sweat), which are both mechanisms for controlling body temperature. The unfortunate repercussion of sweating is a loss of electrolytes.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a performance reduction can be expected with as little as 2-3% dehydration (1). Other factors that are affected by dehydration are:

Rehydration Performance Fuel by Endura

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  • Blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Cramps
  • Nausea/Vomiting

In order to mitigate this from happening, utilising both water and a supplement that contains the necessary electrolytes responsible for hydration (Potassium/Sodium) is critically important. Likewise, a combination electrolyte product that also contains Calcium and Magnesium, will aid in supporting the innervation, activation and contractility of the muscle via nerve regulation.

Not sure how much you need, check out Endura’s guide for hydration. 

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Final Thoughts

Sports supplementation is all about optimising both the performance of the athlete as well as improving their ability to recover faster. Ensuring you have an adequate nutritional intake from protein, carbohydrates and fats is the first and most important aspect of performance and recovery, however, supplementation of these 3 key products will aid in improving performance and recovery even further.

Aim for 3-4g of Beta Alanine daily, 4-8g of Citrulline Malate prior to exercise and use Endura according to its recommendations above to ensure hydration is optimised. 


Exercise Scientist

I completed my Exercise Science Degree at the University of QLD and have worked in the fitness industry for over 8 years, including a short stint at the Brisbane Broncos in 2010 as a student. I also hold my Level 2 Strength and Conditioning Coach accreditation (ASCA) and have competed in 1 bodybuilding season, placing 2nd at the IFBB u85kg Nationals.

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