One of the best weapons against muscle fatigue is carnosine, a substance that is abundant in your muscles in order to help prevent acid build up. But your carnosine supply is limited to the pool of its root enzymes, amino acids l-histidine and beta-alanine. That means supplementing with beta-alanine helps replenish your stores of carnosine. In fact, a 2010 study in Nutrients found that taking 800 mg of the amino acid multiple times a day elevated muscle carnosine levels by as much as 66%. Why it’s worth it: Brazilian research found that taking beta-alanine supplements can help your muscles’ endurance and specifically your performance during high intensity exercises like weight lifting, meaning you can work out harder. Plus, the supplement has been shown to support lean muscle mass and enhance muscle fiber synthesis, says Jalali. Bonus: A study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that guys who took a combination of both creatine and beta-alanine gained more lean mass and lost more body fat than guys who took creatine alone. Since it has a limited half-life in the body, most research suggests taking 800 mgs of beta-alanine at least four times a day.
Great article, again!! I have a question as it relates to giving the body a break. I’ve been squatting, deadlifting, pressing, and bench pressing HEAVY for about 6 months. I’m 38 years old, 5’10” and am up to about 170 lbs. I’ve been eating a lot of food to gain weight and it’s been working (although I’ve definitely gained some fat in the process). I’m starting to feel pretty “beat down” and my motivation is diminishing. I’m considering a program of pushups, dips, inverted rows, pullups, one legged squats, and sprints (all bodyweight excercises) for a 2-3 month period. My concern is that I will lose the strength I’ve worked so hard to gain. Everyone says it’s nearly impossible maintain, let alone gain muscle from a routine like this. What are your thoughts? Thanks, again, for all of your insight on this website. Joel
When it comes to a great all-around food to build muscle, the trophy goes to salmon. It is loaded with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, two key nutrients to build and repair muscle tissue, and to keep your hunger in check. You can also cook salmon several different ways. Salmon is also rich in key nutrients, such as selenium, Vitamin D, B12, niacin and vitamin D. The list goes on with all of the health benefits associated with salmon, such as reducing cholesterol and improving memory. If you were not into fish – some people are not – you could go with grass-fed beef.