Beta-alanine is an amino acid that I highly recommend supplementing with to increase muscle strength and power as well as muscle endurance, not to mention greater muscle growth and even enhanced fat loss.
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If you’re a fighter — whether that be a boxer, martial artist, or MMA fighter — you will definitely want to add beta-alanine to your supplement list ASAP, according to a study from the UK.
Reserachers from Glynwr University (Wrexham, Wales) had amateur boxers supplement with 1.5 grams of beta-alanine taken four times a day (for a total of 6 grams per day) or a placebo for four weeks. They had them perform three 3-minute simulated rounds on a punching bag. During the first 2 minutes and 50 seconds, they performed standardized punching. During the last 10 seconds of each simulated round, they performed maximum all-out punching where they punched as hard and as fast as they could. They tested their punching force and punching rate during these final 10 seconds of each round at the start of the study, and at the end after four weeks of supplementation.
They reported in an October 2012 issue of the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism that the boxers taking the beta-alanine had significantly greater punching force and punching frequency than the boxers taking the placebo.
They concluded that beta-alanine does improve punching performance and that this may not only work in boxers but also other combat-related athletes.
Jim’s Take-Home Point
If you are a fighter, do not hesitate to start supplementing with beta-alanine. It can make a significant impact on your punching power, as well as your ability to maintain punching speed, especially later in the round. I typically recommend taking about 1.5-3 grams of beta-alanine with your pre- and post-workout shakes. Here, a workout would mean either a weight workout, fight training or cardio. Like with creatine monohydrate, you can choose to either do a loading phase with beta-alanine or not. The loading phase may allow you to get the benefits quicker. In that case, do the full 3 grams before and after workouts for 2-4 weeks. Then follow with the maintenance dose of 1.5-3 grams before and after training.You can get your daily dose of beta-alanine by taking Pre JYM before workouts as it contains 2g, and Post JYM after workouts, which also contains 2g of beta-alanine.
Donovan, T., et al. Î²-alanine Improves Punch Force and Frequency in Amateur Boxers During a Simulated Contest. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2012 Oct;22(5):331-7.