As an endurance athlete, you spend hours each and everyday training and conditioning yourself to enhance aerobic and anaerobic capacity, so you can train harder and delay fatigue. Whether you’re training to be the fittest on earth, or you put hundreds of miles on the pavement running or cycling each week, properly optimizing your diet and supplementation is crucial to maximizing your performance. Here are the best supplements for endurance athletes so you can maximize your performance and gain the competitive edge you’re looking for.
5 Best Supplements For Endurance
Kre-Alkalyn is a ph corrected form of creatine, and creatine is one of the most heavily researched supplements that's proven to help increase athletic performance. With the addition of creatine into the muscle cells, you can produce higher muscle force, strength, power, and speed.
Why Is Kre-Alkalyn One Of The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes?
Kre-Alkalyn increases the body's immediate energy supply, by facilitating the production of ATP. Supplementing with Kre-Alkalyn is reported to increase the content of creatine phosphate in muscle by approximately 20%. Therefore more creatine phosphate in muscle cells means more ATP can be rapidly produced during intense exercise, which can lead to gains in strength, power, speed and muscle growth. Additionally, unlike other creatine supplements, clinical studies have shown that KreAlkalyn boosts VO2 Max and oxygen uptake, which is directly correlated with increased endurance.
VO2 max is the maximum volume of oxygen the body can consume during intense, whole-body exercise. Because oxygen consumption is linearly related to energy expenditure, when we measure oxygen consumption, we are indirectly measuring an individual's maximum capacity to do work aerobically. Therefore, with an improvement in VO2 Max, comes a significant improvement in endurance and exercise performance [R].
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In a clinical trial comparing Kre-Alkalyn to Creatine Monohydrate by a group of physicians at Greenberg Medical Center, 24 Male Olympic level athletes were divided into two test groups. Group one ingested 750 mg of Kre-Alkalyn, while group two ingested 750 mg of Creatine Monohydrate for a test period of 4 months.
The results indicated that despite a negligible difference between the two groups in lean muscle mass and muscle strength, there was a significant increase in VO2 Max within the Kre-Alkalyn group.
CrossFit and other high-intensity training programs require the body to go under strenuous aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Therefore, with an improvement in VO2 Max and oxygen consumption comes a significant improvement in exercise endurance, resulting in faster times, high peak performance, and delayed muscle fatigue. Kre-Alklayn proves to be one of the best supplements for endurance athletes.
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2. Beta-Alanine (CarnoSyn)
Beta-Alanine is a non-essential beta-amino acid, which has proven to be one of the most effective supplements for endurance athletes, due to its ability to delay muscle fatigue by reducing lactic acid buildup.
Unique in its anatomy, beta alanine is a component of the histidine dipeptides carnosine and anserine, as well as vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid. When taken as a supplement, beta-alanine passes through the bloodstream into skeletal muscle, via a beta-alanine and taurine transporter. Once in the skeletal muscle, it binds with the essential amino acid L-histidine, to form dipeptide carnosine [R]
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Why is Beta-Alanine One Of The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes?
Beta-alanine raises blood carnosine levels. Carnosine is the bodies’ first line of defense against increased hydrogen ions, during high-intensity training [R]
The rise in hydrogen lowers muscle pH, which is correlated with increased muscle fatigue. Studies have shown, that supplementation with beta-alanine can increase muscle carnosine concentrations up to 58 percent in just four weeks, and 80 percent in 10 weeks. Higher concentrations of carnosine, via beta-alanine supplementation, means less muscle fatigue, leading to improvements in exercise performance, higher training volume, and improved endurance.
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3. Citrulline Malate
Citrulline Malate is a unique combination of the nonessential amino acid L-Citrulline and malate, which comes from malic acid. Citrulline Malate is perhaps one of the most impressive and versatile supplements proven to boost endurance, increase strength, and optimize recovery.
Why Is Citrulline Malate One Of The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes?
One of the greatest benefits of Citrulline Malate amongst many is in its proven ability to help delay muscle fatigue, by promoting an increase in aerobic energy production.
A study published in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine found that 6g of CM taken daily reduced muscle fatigue, by producing a 34% increase in the rate of oxidative ATP production during exercise. The study also found a 20% increase in the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after exercise, indicating a larger contribution of oxidative ATP synthesis to energy production. [R]
Thus, CM supplementation can help you fight muscle fatigue, due to the increase in ATP production and phosphocreatine release after exercise. When you’re competing at an elite level, generating more energy can provide a sustainable impact on your athletic performance.
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However, the greatest benefit of Citrulline Malate is in its ability to promote Nitric Oxide (NO) production. NO is a vasodilator, meaning that it widens the blood vessels, without raising blood pressure. By promoting the release of NO, the body is able to transport more oxygen and blood, resulting in improved strength, better endurance, and optimized recovery. By improving each aspect of your training through an increase in Nitric Oxide production, you'll be able to clock faster times, delay muscle fatigue, increase training volume, row harder, and lift heavier.
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Your training isn't over until you recover and as an endurance athlete, recovery is crucial to your overall performance. L-Glutamine is the most abundant conditionally essential amino acid in the human body. However, with increased training volume, glutamine stores are depleted faster than your body can replenish them, which can cause your body to be catabolic and break down lean muscle mass. Low levels of glutamine can also compromise your immune system, increasing the risk of infection.
Why Is L-Glutamine One Of The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes?
Glutamine is vital for reducing muscle mass breakdown and boosting immune system function for endurance athletes. After prolonged periods of exercise, your immune system becomes susceptible to infection.
In a study conducted by Oxford Universities Biochemistry Department, 200 elite endurance athletes including distance runners and rowers, consumed a post-workout drink either containing 5g of glutamine, or a placebo immediately after and two hours after exercise. The results indicated that seven days following exercise, 81% of the glutamine group showed no infection post-workout, as compared to the placebo group, which showed 49% with no infection [R]
Glutamine is one of the best supplements for endurance athletes, due to its ability in reducing muscle mass breakdown and post-workout soreness. With less soreness and faster recovery, you can increase training volume. Increased training volume translates to more training and better results.
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In another study conducted by the School of Health and Exercise Performance in the division of Kinesiology at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Sixteen healthy participants volunteered in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study. to examine the effects that L-glutamine supplementation has on muscle strength and soreness ratings following eccentric exercise. The results concluded that supplementation of L-Glutamine directly influenced the faster recovery of peak torque and diminished muscle soreness following eccentric exercise.
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5. Complex Carbohydrates
Carbohydrate supplements are formulated from various carbohydrate sources as a tool to delay fatigue and provide energy for endurance athletes. Carbohydrate supplements help replenish glycogen stores in your muscle tissue, which are depleted during high-intensity workouts. With such high demand for training volume, endurance athletes need an abundant store of glycogen for added energy and improved performance, to promote more power and speed. It’s imperative to eat a carbohydrate-rich diet and supplement with carbohydrates as needed to sustain energy reserves to fuel high-intensity workouts [R]
Carbohydrate supplements such as gels, chews, or supplemental drinks are extremely crucial especially for endurance athletes like cross-fitters, runners or cyclists, who are competing for a prolonged period of time.
RELATED ARTICLE The Ultimate Guide to Carbohydrate Supplements
In a study conducted at the University of California, Davis, 16 male, and female athletes cycled at 75% of max VO2 for 80min followed by a 10km time trial. Participants consumed 0.6g of carbohydrates per hour through carbohydrate gels, chews, drinks, or water only before, during, and after exercise. The 10km time trial using all three carbohydrate treatments resulted in significantly faster times than water, proving glycogen stores improve exercise performance [R]
What Are The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes? Conclusion
If you’re looking to increase your endurance and become more competitive in your sport, optimizing your performance with the right supplements is crucial to your success as an athlete. Adding some of the supplements to your nutrition regimen will definitely help boost your endurance, and maximize your athletic performance.
Looking For The Best Supplements To Boost Your Endurance?
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- Chandler TJ. Physiology of aerobic fitness/endurance. Instr Course Lect. 1994;43:11-5.
- Lockwood, Chris. “Your Expert Guide To Beta-Alanine.” Bodybuilding.com, 3 Feb. 2017, www.bodybuilding.com/fun/your-expert-guide-to-beta-alanine.html.
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- Hawley, John A., and Jill J. Leckey. “Carbohydrate Dependence During Prolonged, Intense Endurance Exercise.” Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.z.)45.Suppl 1 (2015): 5–12. PMC. Web. 23 Mar. 2018.
- Campbell C, Prince D, Braun M, Applegate E, Casazza GA. Carbohydrate-supplement form and exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2008;18(2):179-90.
- Castell LM, Poortmans JR, Newsholme EA. Does glutamine have a role in reducing infections in athletes?. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1996;73(5):488-90.
- Chen, Steve, et al. “Arginine and antioxidant supplement on performance in elderly male cyclists: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, BioMed Central, 23 Mar. 2010, jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-7-13.