Since graduate school, I have come across countless studies on the benefits of amino acids during endurance exercise, specifically branch chain amino acids. You probably know how much I am obsessed with whey protein and glutamine on a daily basis, in addition to complete protein foods in my meat-free diet.
Many people wondered how I was able to stay focused and energized during the 112 mile bike ride of IMKY with only 3 x 28 ounce bottles of my Hammer mixture, in addition to 20 ounces of water for a 5 hour and 44 minute ride. So long as I met my hydration needs (most athletes need around 20-24 ounces per hour) I knew I was in good hands with my endurance aminos to preserve my glycogen stores and keep my brain focused. I also took Liquid Endurance (Hammer) on the 3 days prior to the race which also had a major positive effect on my hydration status and ability to metabolize fats for fuel. Lastly, Hammer nutrition or not, my nutrition plan during training reflects a solid daily nutrition plan and proper training.
Here's a great article from Hammer Endurance News Issue 65 (which is FREE on the website, in addition to LOTS of free articles) that Steve Born asked me to contribute. Enjoy!
By the way.....when you are ready to make the switch to Hammer Nutrition and get rid of all GI problems and worries with your nutrition plan, mention my customer number 97495 for 15% off your first order.
*if you have any questions about the article, just let me know!
Hammer Endurance Aminos
Ever since its introduction just a short couple of months ago, we have received rave reviews on this product. Athletes are noticing that both their endurance and recovery is significantly enhanced from consistent use of Endurance Amino. Considering that amino acids foster protein synthesis after exercise, as well as delaying protein degradation during exercise, our newest product is recommended before, during, and after exercise.
During prolonged bouts of exercise (more than two hours), some amount of fatigue is expected. Although maltodextrin-rich carbohydrate drinks are the primary sources of fuel for meeting energy and fluid requirements during exercise, Endurance Amino plays an important role in energy production, glycogen resynthesis, and the postponement of fatigue. Taking hourly doses of Endurance Amino, along with Anti- Fatigue Caps, proves to be the ideal combination for athletes hoping to maximize performance. In reference to one of the plausible culprits of fatigue, Anti-Fatigue Caps scavenge excess plasma ammonia, which contributes to a reduction of lactic acid during exercise.
Although Endurance Amino is consumed in capsule form, the same performanceenhancing amino acids (l-leucine, l-isoleucine, l-valine, and l-alanine) naturally occur in the soy protein found in Sustained Energy and Perpetuem... when you take Endurance Amino along with Sustained Energy or Perpetuem, you’re bolstering the amounts of these highly beneficial, exercise-specific amino acids that your body receives (one athlete told me that taking Endurance Amino “supercharges” the benefits received from Perpetuem). Additionally, amino acids play a significant role in providing antioxidant support (via the reduced glutathione component) in Endurance Amino.
BCAAs – The heart of the Endurance Amino formula
How to Use
2-4 capsules prior to and after exercise. For prolonged exercise, 1-2 capsules may also be taken every hour during exercise.
Without taking anything away whatsoever from the l-alanine and reduced glutathione components in Endurance Amino (because they most definitely have an important place in the formula), the undeniable “heart” of the product is the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) – L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L -valine. Here is some information on these all-important amino acids:
* The BCAAs are considered “essential” amino acids because the body cannot manufacture them on its own. Therefore, the 9 essential amino acids, including the BCAAs, must be obtained from the dietary sources.
* Exogenous protein sources are required in the diet, either through supplements or food, in order to provide essential amino acids necessary for protein synthesis.
* Approximately 1/3 of muscle protein is comprised of BCAAs.
* Unlike the other 17 nonessential and essential amino acids, BCAAs are oxidized in the muscle as opposed to the liver. Therefore, BCAAs are used as a fuel source during strenuous, intense, or prolonged activity.
* BCAAs help fulfill 5-15% of the body’s protein-derived energy requirements in an effort to spare glycogen stores, prevent the breakdown of lean muscle tissue, and postpone fatigue.
* According to the central fatigue theory (Bloomstrand, 2006), research suggests that BCAA supplementation plays a significant role in reducing perceived exertion and mental fatigue during exercise. Due to the natural decrease in plasma BCAAs during exercise, the ratio of free tryptophan to BCAAs increases, with a subsequent feeling of lethargy or fatigue. Through BCAA supplementation, tryptophan transport to the brain is inhibited, thus decreasing the buildup of tryptophan in the brain (tryptophan being a precursor to serotonin).
* BCAAs promote anabolism post exercise. Due to a natural catabolic state after exercise, BCAAs help increase protein synthesis and repair micro tears in order to promote an increase in lean muscle mass.
* BCAAs are a precursor for alanine and glutamine, both of which are depleted in large amounts during prolonged exercise. Supplementation with BCAAs helps to restore levels of alanine and glutamine. Maclean et al. (1996) states: “BCAA administration results in significantly greater muscle alanine and glutamine production.”
* L-Leucine appears to play a significant role in protein metabolism. Mediated by intracellular signaling pathways (mTOR), L-leucine encourages protein synthesis in the skin, liver, and muscle while stimulating the secretion of pancreatic insulin.
* Although all three BCAAs are metabolized in the liver, L-leucine has the highest oxidation rate, which contributes to protein synthesis. During exercise when glycogen stores diminish and carbohydrate administration is not meeting energy demands, L-leucine is rapidly broken down into glucose, thus demonstrating its effectiveness for averting muscle loss.
NOTE: Though L-leucine has the highest oxidation rate of the three BCAAs in contributing to protein synthesis, supplementation solely with L-leucine is not recommended because it may lead to an amino acid imbalance. All three BCAAs work together and synergistically; high L-leucine intake is purported to decrease blood and muscle tissue concentrations of both L-isoleucine and L-valine.
Why BCAAs are at the heart of Endurance Amino is summarized nicely by nutritional scientists Bill Misner and Antti Mero. Misner writes:
“Amino acids provide from 5-15% of the energy moiety (portion) for the glucose fraction recruited for energy during exercise. Branched chain amino acids support endurance performance, improve immune system reaction, and enhance recovery. Physiologists often use BCAAs in various formulations to decrease central nervous system fatigue in athletes. Intake of BCAAs during or prior to exercise may delay exerciseinduced or central nervous systeminduced fatigue.”
Amino acid power
“BCAAs (L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine), particularly leucine, have anabolic effects on protein metabolism by increasing the rate of protein synthesis and decreasing the rate of protein degradation in resting human muscle. During recovery from endurance exercise, BCAAs were found to have anabolic effects in human muscle. These effects are likely to be mediated through changes in signaling pathways controlling protein synthesis. Intake of BCAA supplements and/or BCAA-enriched energy gel or drinks enhances endurance performance. BCAA administration results in enhanced endurance performance. Research dramatically supports each of these statements.”
"Consumption of BCAA (30-35% leucine) before or during endurance exercise may prevent or decrease the net rate of protein degradation, may improve both mental and physical performance and may have a sparing effect on muscle glycogen degradation and depletion of muscle glycogen stores."
If Endurance Amino is not yet a part of your supplement “arsenal,” it’s time to put this powerful product to work for you! It really does deliver the results we say it will, and it’s cost-effective as well (unlike those “everything-and-thekitchen- sink” amino acid products.
Note: Special thanks to Hammer Nutrition sponsored athlete Marni Rakes—who holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN)—for her contributions to this article.