If you ve done this week's @the_row_series your know that it stings. That burn is due to a reduction in intracellular and blood ph (making it more acidic) as a result of creating energy without the presence of oxygen from carbohydrates. This results in a increase in lactate (which actually has a neutral pH) and is a useful fuel supply but in correlation there is a increase in Hydrogen ions....... These are the MO-FO's that cause the burning and effect the efficiency of muscular contractions and increase pain perception which is the bodies defence system from preventing us doing ourselves any serious damage
Supplements like beta alanine, sodium bicarbonate, xendurance help buffer the build up of acid and help prolonged high intensity activities, the down side being both beta alanine and sodium bicarbonate have some unwanted side effects that some people experience potentially making them counter productive (check out some previous posts for more details)
A new study in the JISSN has just found that a diet that reduces acid load and includes higher alkaline foods for 4 day prior to a 400m run time trial could decrease times by 1.5 seconds (all be it the subjects used were very average runs). Never the less this is a pretty simple strategy that can easily be done by anyone without needing supplements and has no unwanted side effects.
For rowers this approach is mostly likely to help with events ranging from 250m up to 1000m or interval work with incomplete recoveries.
I have been trialing the "Lift-Row-Eat-Grow" nutrition protocol for about 6 weeks which is based on nutrition and supplements to improve power endurance and the results have been pretty impressive as tested by OPEX repeatability test, 500m and 1000m time trials.
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