There is a great deal of stigma around supplements, people see the local meathead pounding his 4 litre jug of bright purple concoction, and think “I don’t want to look like that guy, supplements are not for me”. But what if I told you that supplements are not just for getting jacked? That they have a lot of benefits, even to endurance athletes like gireviks?

Your heart is pounding, fingers aching, you’re 7 minutes in and you feel like you’re going to collapse. High rep snatches, swings and cleans can obliterate your endurance during an intense workout. Let’s face it; fatigue is the number 1 factor that limits our GS training sessions.

The solution: 1. work your ass off to get better. 2. add these bad boys to your medicine cabinet and reap the rewards in training.

1. Beta alanine

Beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid which aids in the increment of intramuscular carnosine concentrations. During moderate to high intensity training sessions, there is a rapid influx of hydrogen ions in your muscle tissue, leading to a drop in pH which leads to a drop in muscular performance. An increase in carnosine levels will bring down the hydrogen ion surge and hence, elevate or maintain muscle performance.

[1]

You can’t take carnosine directly because it cannot be effectively broken down and absorbed in our bodies.

Other key benefits of beta-alanine include increased aerobic endurance, increased lean muscle mass, delay in muscle fatigue and more power. Dosage: 3 to 6.5 mg per day depending on your training level

2. L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine or simply, carnitine, is an essential nutrient that aids in burning fat to fuel your bodily functions and workouts. [2]

Kettlebell training helps us torch calories while increasing muscle mass in our bodies, but giving your body an extra kick to burn more fat is only going to define your entire structure and decrease your body fat percentage.

Carnitine deficiencies have been associated with muscle function impairments and thus, more studies have been done to test carnitine’s efficacy in elevating muscular performance.

Research shows that carnitine plays a critical role in transporting fat into the powerhouse of your cells, i.e. the mitochondria [3]. More carnitine means more fat is transported to the mitochondria and burnt to produce more energy.

Carnitine also boosts recovery and lowers your risk of heart disease.

3. Whey protein

This is literally food for most athletes and bodybuilders but we will talk about it as a supplement anyway – because it is.

You need protein to build muscle, increase energy and to live. Protein is the building block of your body so if you’re taking your protein intake for granted, you need to reevaluate your diet.

Whey protein strengthens your immune system, increases strength and muscle performance, strengthens bones, detoxifies your body and helps you recover much faster. [4]

Whey protein has a complete amino acid profile, which is why almost every athlete takes it.

4. Creatine

Creatine should be a staple part of every girevik. Creatine phospohate prevents premature fatigue in the fast-twitch fibers. This strengthens the muscular contractions, enhances endurance, helps you perform more reps during your kettlebell workout.

Creatine also plays a key role in enhancing recovery, increasing anaerobic capacity, increasing cognitive function and elevating bone recovery levels. [5]

5. BCAAs

Branched chain amino acids or BCAAs consist of three amnio acids, namely leucine, isoleucine and valine.

Also found in dietary protein such as lean meat and eggs, BCAAs are generally taken as they help in building muscle, reducing soreness after workouts, decreasing recovery periods and improving workout performances. [6]

Branched chain amino acids have an anabolic effect in the human body. This helps us increase muscle strength and size. Some studies show that BCAAs may stimulate key enzymes in protein synthesis after exercise. BCAAs increase the rate of protein synthesis, thereby building muscle, while decreasing the rate of muscle loss. [7]

Branched chain amino acids also improve exercise performance by reducing your chances of getting fatigued too quickly while burning fat, instead of glycogen stores reserved to fuel muscle cells.

6. Caffeine

Another supplement that boosts fat metabolism is caffeine. Around 200mg of caffeine typically has a thermogenic effect in the body, which helps it melt more fat. [8]

Thermogenesis involves the conversion of calories from the food you eat to heat energy. Furthermore, additional calories utilized in the process of thermogenesis can help you burn more fat and help you lose weight faster. Exactly how caffeine instigates thermogenesis still requires more research. The extra pep from caffeine also helps with your grinder 10 minute sets, not something you want to go into doughy eyed.

References

  1. Effects of Beta-Alanine on Muscle Carnosine and Exercise Performance:A Review of the Current Literature Julie Y. Culbertson, Richard B. Kreider, […], and Matthew Cooke
  2. Am J Vet Res.2012 Jul;73(7):1002-15. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.73.7.1002. Influence of dietary supplementation with (L)-carnitine on metabolic rate, fatty acid oxidation, body condition, and weight loss in overweight cats.
  3. Biochim Biophys Acta.2000 Jun 26;1486(1):1-17.Fatty acid import into mitochondria.
  4. Nutr J.2012 Dec 11;11:105. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-105.Whey protein and essential amino acids promote the reduction of adipose tissue and increased muscle protein synthesis during caloric restriction-induced weight loss in elderly, obese individuals
  5. Mol Cell Biochem.2003 Feb;244(1-2):89-94. Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations.
  6. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab.2001 Aug;281(2):E365-74. BCAA intake affects protein metabolism in muscle after but not during exercise in humans.
  7. J Nutr.2004 Jun;134(6 Suppl):1583S-1587S. Exercise promotes BCAA catabolism: effects of BCAA supplementation on skeletal muscle during exercise.
  8. Med Sci Sports Exerc.1982;14(4):317-21.The effects of caffeine and exercise on body weight, fat-pad weight, and fat-cell size.

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