BETA ALANINE FOR CYCLISTS IN 2019
THE TOP SUPPLEMENT FOR MULTI SPEED ENDURANCE ATHLETES
Beta Alanine is one of the most studied performance supplements for runners, weight training, and you guessed it, cycling. Beta Alanine first came to attention in 2006, as it has been shown to have a significant benefit on anaerobic and aerobic power production by increasing the ability of the body to create muscle carnosine. If you are a hard charging athlete powering a consistent training load, then this supplement is going to have a huge positive impact on your performance!
What is Beta Alanine?
Beta Alanine is a nonessential amino acid; nonessential meaning our bodies CAN produce the stuff on its own. Our body uses beta alanine and the essential amino acid L-histidine to produce carnosine, which in turn regulates acidity levels in our muscles. Essential amino acids are the ones that we CANNOT produce, and therefore have to acquire from food sources. When our muscles contract during exercise, they become more and more acidic, and eventually when we can no longer clear this acid, the muscle can no longer contract.
Our bodies can consume and store a lot of L-histidine, but athletes will see a significant increase in muscle carnosine - 80% - after a 10 week routine of supplementing Beta Alanine. More beta alanine supply → more carnosine → better muscular performance → better depth in workouts and races.
Additionally, Cyclists see improvement in Cycling Maximum Output ergometer tests from the 30 second range all the way out to about 4 minutes, with improvements of 3% when compared to a placebo. 3% might not seem like a lot, but when you are dealing with the marginal gains of training, this sort of edge might just be exactly what the difference between 3rd and 1st! For a full 3 minute effort, this is a free 10 watts for most Cat 3’s, and a free 15 Watts for a Cat 1!
Athletes in the gym are able to get more than a few more reps when sets last more than 30”. At first glance, it would seem that the elevated levels of carnosine in the muscles don't affect 1RM strength. After all - we’re talking about endurance gains, right?
Well, not quite. The elevated performance when doing reps at your working weight, 1RM will go up more than when compared to placebo. That is, the ability to get in a greater number of efforts before fatiguing in your workout means harder training sessions, and better stimulus for growth.
Is Beta Alanine Cycling Specific?
Absolutely yes! Having any amount of extra kick at crucial moments of an event is worth having. By being able to train harder, you can teach your legs to go just that little bit deeper into the pain cave. You’ll feel that little extra gear - that little something left in the tank that’s ultimately the difference maker putting you on the podium. Although it hasn’t been studied in cycling, both EVOQ.BIKE Leaders have felt a big benefit to using beta alanine when racing or training for long durations. Trust us - you’ll feel that extra kick on those last few climbs in the 4th and 5th hour of a hard century.
Additionally: Fatigue Slower and increase TTE! This study from 2006 found:
“Scientists examined the effects of 28 days of beta-alanine supplementation on the physical working capacity at fatigue threshold (PWC(FT)), ventilatory threshold (VT), maximal oxygen consumption and time-to-exhaustion (TTE) in women. Twenty-two women (age 27 years) participated and were randomly assigned to either the beta-alanine or Placebo (PL) group. Before (pre) and after (post) the supplementation period, participants performed a cycle ergometry test to exhaustion and found that beta-alanine supplementation delays the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and the ventilatory threshold (VT) at submaximal workloads, and increases the time to exhaustion during maximal cycle ergometry performance.”
When Do I Take Beta Alanine?
You can take beta-alanine before or after workout, but really whenever convenient. Although Beta alanine will give you a tingling sensation, known as paresthesia, you don't get a performance benefit directly after taking it. Beta alanine needs to be converted to carnosine and build up in concentration in your muscles over the loading supplementation period.
How Often Do I Take Beta Alanine?
10-12 weeks ON, 10-12 weeks OFF. 1:1 levels will fall after you stop supplementation, but they don’t fall all the way down to pre supplementation levels right away. A maximum limit of carnosine stored in the muscles has not been found, so after a full 20-24 week cycle, you should continue to see even higher carnosine levels and even better performance if your legs are up for the training!
how much Beta Alanine do i take?
If the sensation of paresthesia bothers you, consider simply taking 3 grams 2x a day. If you don’t mind it, you can go with 6g daily in one dose.
Is Beta Alanine safe and legal for competition?
There have been a significant number of studies for beta alanine and long term use has shown no negative side effects. It is a completely legal supplement approved by USADA and WADA
Should I Take Beta Alanine As A Cyclist?
if you take your training seriously, then you should consider beta alanine!
Beta alanine will not magically make you faster. After all - there’s no safe, magic pill that replaces the good ‘ole fashion pain cave. If you don't get on the bike and smash out the KJ’s, Beta Alanine won’t help you one bit.
With that said - consider it a tool. A tool to help you dig a little bit deeper on those last 2 intervals that reaaaaaallllllly bring the suck.
Questions? Comments? Reach out to us below, or let us know what you think in the comment section! Our training journey is a collaborative one and we would love to know your experience with similar tactics. Let’s talk!
Here’s the Beta Alanine that we take: Buy It Today!