Sometimes during a workout you can lose focus and motivation, and it can affect your endurance and power. Many supplements are available that can help to maintain mental endurance while working out, and ALCAR is one of them.
ALCAR is a shortened name for Acetyl-L-carnitine, a naturally-occurring compound that plays a role in the transport of fatty acids across cells during metabolic processes. It can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, and it acts as an antioxidant in the brain, removing toxins. It is neuroprotective, meaning that it can prevent damage from happening to brain cells. ALCAR provides the body with its main component, L-carnitine, an amino acid that provides assistance with fatty-acid metabolism. Since ALCAR helps with fatty acid metabolism, it increases the availability of fuel that your body can use. It can also help to improve mood and mental clarity due to its antioxidant effects.
Taking ALCAR before working out means that you have more energy and are more mentally fit to power through a tough workout. The supplement is good for increasing metabolism of fats and providing more energy, and it also can improve heart health and muscle function. One of its biggest benefits, however, is the role it plays as an antioxidant. Generally, antioxidants are known for removing toxins, improving the mind, and slowing aging. Antioxidants that cross the blood-brain barrier help you to think clearer and to improve your mood. It’s easier to get out of a slump when working out if your mind is boosted and you feel clear and motivated. Supplementing with ALCAR can provide that extra boost, while also having the physical benefit of allowing your cells to produce more readily usable energy from the breakdown of fats. ALCAR is even used by some for weight loss because of this reason.
ALCAR is most effective when taken on an empty stomach a half an hour or so before eating. The normal dosage is between 1 and 3 grams of ALCAR. It can be taken as a powder or capsule, and most people take it in the morning so that they can work out later in the day and enjoy its full effects.
Creatine and citrulline malate are two powerful supplements that when combined will boost energy levels and muscle development. But first let's look at the two supplements one by one, beginning with creatine monohydrate.
What is creatine monohydrate? Creatine helps to supply energy to all cells in the body, in particular the muscles. This is why creatine supplements create such as buzz in the world of bodybuilding.
Creatine is particularly effective for fast and explosive movements you would find in sports like boxing, rugby, and football. Does taking creatine help with weightlifting? Yes and when mixed in a combination with citrulline malate, the power is enhanced even more.
Citrulline malate comes in a powder form and is mixed up with creatine and turned into power drinks or shakes. You will find that using citrulline malate powder with creatine will boost energy levels, increase endurance, boost strength, and slow down muscle fatigue.
Citrulline malate comes from a non-essential amino acid called malic acid, which naturally occurs in our bodies. It does help to improve our blood flow and relaxes blood vessels so they can carry blood through our bodies more easily.
You may be wondering why you should be taking citrulline malate and creatine when both are being naturally produced in our own bodies anyway. Surely, you can work out effectively with what nature gives us? Not really, you see we produce citrulline malate and creatine from the food we eat but it only amounts to around one or two grams per day.
Both citrulline malate and arginine can be taken as supplements to help boost your workout and give you more power, but which is right for you?
Citrulline malate is a form of the amino acid citrulline bonded with malic acid in order to increase its absorption in the body. It is actually produced from arginine, and it has been shown to promote aerobic energy production. This means that it increases production of ATP, the cell’s energy currency, and provides its user with more energy while reducing muscle fatigue. Citrulline can also be synthesized back into arginine, though this process doesn’t happen often naturally. Arginine, or more accurately, L-arginine, is also an amino acid. It is not nutritionally essential, since the body usually is able to produce enough of it. It plays a role in reducing healing time and aiding in the repair of damaged tissue, and is also important for the synthesis of creatine. Because creatine supplies energy throughout the body by increasing production of ATP, it is often taken as a dietary supplement before workouts. Additional arginine in the body can boost creatine levels and result in a greater store of energy.
When citrulline malate is absorbed, it reduces the amounts of lactic acid and ammonia in the body, and provides higher levels of arginine. This means that it gets rid of some of the byproducts of muscle strain and provides the body with an amino acid that regulates nitrous oxide. Generally, nitrous oxide helps to regulate blood flow and muscle power, so increased arginine helps to promote better cardiovascular health and more muscle strength. Supplementing with arginine directly can also produce these results, since it will both increase blood flow trigger the release of growth hormone. Both supplements have similar results in regards to increased power and muscle recovery.
Citrulline malate powder should be taken in doses between 3 and 6grams per day. It can be split up into pre and post workout dosages or taken all at once with a meal or a sports drink. The L-arginine supplement has been shown most effective at 6grams per day for muscle gains and energy, usually taken pre-workout. Arginine powder can also be taken with food or in at least 500 mL of liquid.
To combat muscle soreness when working out at the gym, we are often told or advised to take glutamine or beta alanine. But which one is more effective? Beta alanine or glutamine? Or why not take them together?
Many bodybuilders confess to liking glutamine a lot, but are often open to trying something different. Many bodybuilders favor beta alanine over glutamine. Beta alanine is cheap and effective and you would probably need no more than one or two scoops per day to relieve muscle soreness. Other beta alanine benefits include a slight tingling sensation in the muscles.
But what about glutamine, what does it do and how does it benefit us? Glutamine is an amino acid that is absolutely vital to your body and every muscle. It is considered to be one of the most useful building blocks when proteins are formed; it helps muscles develop and repair. It also is used to improve cell health and repair tissues damaged by overuse.
You can find glutamine in food or you could just take a glutamine supplement. In food, glutamine can be found in most of the meat and fish we eat. There are smaller amounts of glutamine in vegetables like beans, peas and chick peas, but our meat is where the main source of glutamine is found.
One of the reasons glutamine is so favored by athletes and body builders is that it prevents cramping on the muscles. During repetitious cycles where we use a muscle over and over, we risk getting a cramp. Glutamine helps to prevent cramping and therefore is very good for muscle soreness.
Beta alanine benefits include seeing your muscular strength and power production increase, muscular mass increase, aerobic and cardio vascular workout length increase, and a notable delay in muscle fatigue. A beta alanine supplement also boosts muscular endurance levels.
Casein is a type of protein commonly found in the milk of mammals. It supplies the body with important amino acids along with calcium, phosphorus, and carbohydrates. It has many uses outside of being a dietary supplement, and is a component in cheese, fibers and plastics, and paint. Casein is taken as a protein supplement because it holds nutrients in the stomach so that they are slowly released to the body.
Taking a protein supplement before bed is important when working out on a regular basis because it allows the body to have nutrients to break down during a period in which you are essentially fasting. During the day, simple whey proteins are fine for a quickly digested protein boost, but at night your body has more time to break down proteins and utilize them. Casein provides a slow release of amino acids, and can help to reduce the oxidation of leucine, an amino acid that is linked to muscle growth. Lowering the oxidation of leucine means that there is more available to aid in muscle growth overnight. Essentially, the body needs a source of proteins overnight to heal itself from strenuous workouts, and casein provides a slowly digestible protein source.
Casein protein is the best to take before bed because it is slow to digest and can provide hours of nutrition. Slow-digesting proteins like casein increase the body’s retention of helpful amino acids. A lack of protein before bed can result in muscle fatigue, soreness, and additional hunger. All of these issues can get in the way of regular diet and exercise, and can be discouraging to your workout. A casein supplement will allow your body to get the nutrients that it needs overnight without requiring you to eat an extra meal.
Casein protein powders are the best source of this nutrient, though it is found naturally in some foods. Casein is found in two forms, casein hydrolysate and micellar casein. The former is altered to be more easily digestible, while the latter is the more “pure” form. Either form works well as a slow-burning protein source, but micellar casein provides more calcium. The standard dosage of casein is up to 50 grams before bed, but amount taken will depend on body weight.