Most serious athletes and bodybuilders are big fans of creatine and for good reason. But there’s another kid on the block that’s been stirring up a lot of interest that isn’t as well known – beta alanine. Ask those same athletes about it and chances are they’ve heard of it, but never actually used it. Maybe they should.
What is Beta Alanine?
First of all, it’s a natural occurring amino acid. It helps increase intramuscular carnosine concentrations, which leads to more energy, longer lasting endurance and overall athletic performance. There are many studies that have been released showing just how powerful it can be if used correctly:
- It can boost strong bouts of strength
- It can help add muscle mass
- It can improve both aerobic and muscular anaerobic endurance
In a nutshell, it can help you start training longer and harder to get better results faster.
Adding Beta Alanine into Your Creatine Cycle
Research shows that stacking beta alanine and creatine have great results. Whether you use a preworkout supplement that combines them or you (smartly) use them separately, you can greatly increase your muscle carnosine. By adding just 4 to 6 grams of beta alanine each day, you could see a 60 percent increase in merely one month.
A 2006 study showed that college level football players using a combination of beta alanine and creatine experienced an increase in lean muscle mass plus a higher body fat loss than those using only creatine. And according to Outside magazine, using it together with baking soda allowed cyclists to ride at maximum power input 12 percent longer. In yet another study, amateur soccer players were able to improve their sprinting by over 20 percent.
But the benefits you get from it continue to grow with time and for better results you might want to consider front loading with beta alanine before heading into your next creatine cycle. That is, if you’re running a typical four to 12 week cycle. But be aware, three weeks after your cycle ends, the benefits you experienced from beta alanine will completely disappear. So expect that decrease and shift in athletic performance.
Note: Beta alanine doesn’t have a very long life cycle once consumed, so it should be used several times per day. It’s recommended to use four times daily, in four hour increments.
Note: Supplementing with beta alanine can wipe out taurine in the body, so it’s a good idea to also supplement tuarine if you’re going to use beta alanine.
It’s pretty clear that beta alanine can boost the power of creatine. Together, you can increase endurance, lean muscle mass and strength, as well as burn more fat. Plus, both of these supplements are pretty affordable, either separately or combined together, and can give you a true boost. Although the best results seem to appear in high intensity exercise lasting one to four minutes. Not so much if it lasts less than a minute.
Possible Side Effects
No dangerous side effects were experienced in studies that lasted a maximum of eight weeks. But there is no research on longer term dosage. One side effect that some people experience is a “pins and needles” feeling or burning sensation. This can often be fixed if doses are divided.
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