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Supplements for Endurance Athletes

Author: Rudy Mawer Contributing Author

Many supplements and products tend to focus upon gym performance and bodybuilding solely, however the key supplements featured across the KAGED MUSCLE product range, can also have be just as beneficial to endurance performance.

In fact, most of the science and investigations for the key ingredients you now consume, such as creatine, beta alanine, betaine, caffeine, citrulline and even protein started with research into endurance athletes.

If you perform regular endurance training, work with athletes or just want to improve you cardiovascular performance to support your recovery between sets, here’s an overview of the key supplements, mechanisms and benefits for endurance athletes and training.

1. Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the world’s most powerful supplements for any kind of athlete. It’s extremely unique and one of the few supplements on the planet that can be of benefit for all types of exercise, from 2 second 1 rep max lifts all the way to 60 minute endurance sessions!

Furthermore, it even provides extended benefits in helping you oxidize and burn more fat, while reducing fatigue, increasing brain function and focus! If you want a super pill or ingredient, caffeine is it.

If you are new and unaware of the benefits of caffeine, here’s a summary:

  • Nervous system stimulation: For anyone who has used higher doses of caffeine, they will know how it can get you fired up, focused and pumped. This is because it excites your nervous system, which controls all your muscles and is linked to the brain.
  • Boosts fat burning hormones: Increases powerful hormones such as epinephrine, which helps you remove fatty acids from the fat cells and burns them as energy. 
  • Increased endorphins: Endorphins are known as “happy hormones” which boost your mood and brain function. These hormones also play a role in fatigue prevention, which, for an endurance athlete, means they can train harder and longer.
  • Muscle stimuli and peak power: Well known to boost 1 rep max, power strength and even muscular endurance, caffeine affects the mortar cortex, which plays a role in muscle activation.
  • Fuel utilization: one of the most beneficial aspects for an endurance athlete is its effects on fuel utilization, burning more fat and sparing glycogen. Glycogen (carb stores) plays a key role in high intensity performance. When they become depleted, fatigue quickly kicks in and this is known as “bonking”.

2. Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine is another impressive supplement that can help athletes and those exercising in a wide range of sports. Starting at around 30 seconds, it can help both short duration movements or exercise all the way up to 10 minutes or more!

For an endurance athlete, it may have less of a benefit if you a working at a moderate intensity for 60 minutes straight; however, it can help for more high intensity bouts. The best of examples of this are sprint finishes, or simply if you are biking / swimming / running and need to overtake a competitor, run up a hill/incline etc.

Beta alanine’s mechanisms works well due to the biological effect it elicits in the body. It does this by buffering muscle carnosine levels, which help remove the “burn” or fatigue that you may experience during high intensity bouts or prolonged exercise.

For endurance athletes, several studies have shown improvements in time to exhaustion. In one study, they found 4 weeks of supplementation increased the amount of work they perform by over 10%. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16868650

3. Citrulline

Citrulline is another cost effective ingredient for exercise performance. It works by boosting Nitric Oxide production which plays an important role in blood flow and blood pressure.

Several studies have shown it can boost exercise performance for endurance athletes. Here’s one summary from a recent study showing improvements in both short term (60 seconds) and time to fatigue.

Source: mysportscience.com

Although most people will take arginine to boost NO production, it’s actually less beneficial than citrulline because most of it is broken down during absorption. In fact, only around 1% of ingested absorption is available for use, which obviously provides no real benefit!

As with the other products, you can get the efficacious dose of citrulline as part of PRE-KAGED, which also gives you the perfect dose of beta-alanine and caffeine. If dosing separately, aim for around 6 grams of citrulline.

Take your performance to the next level with these supplements.

Along with improving standard endurance performance, all of these supplements will also enhance your daily training and gym work. Over the long term, supporting your training and maximizing each session will undoubtedly improve performance on race or match day.

The two easiest and more sure-fired ways to achieve this are to add in PRE and RE-KAGED to your regime, which provide all the ingredients discussed along with other post-workout nutrients to aid in the recovery process. By also optimizing recovery, you can perform more workouts with a higher intensity, without risking over-training.

For most endurance athletes, this simple addition can provide a very easy 5% boost in performance. While this may not sound like much, in a running race for example, 5% could separate 1st place to 100th place.

References:

Tarnopolsky, M. A. (1994). Caffeine and endurance performance. Sports Medicine, 18(2), 109-125. 

Tarnopolsky, M. A., Atkinson, S. A., MacDougall, J. D., Sale, D. G., & Sutton, J. R. (1989). Physiological responses to caffeine during endurance running in habitual caffeine users. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 21(4), 418-424.

Artioli, G. G., Gualano, B., Smith, A., Stout, J., & Lancha Jr, A. H. (2010). Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 42(6), 1162-1173.

Sale, C., Saunders, B., & Harris, R. C. (2010). Effect of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine concentrations and exercise performance. Amino acids, 39(2), 321-333.

Sureda, A., & Pons, A. (2012). Arginine and citrulline supplementation in sports and exercise: ergogenic nutrients?. In Acute Topics in Sport Nutrition (Vol. 59, pp. 18-28). Karger Publishers.

Urhausen, A., & Kindermann, W. (1992). Blood ammonia and lactate concentrations during endurance exercise of differing intensities. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 65(3), 209-214.


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