Best Supplement for High Intensity Training
by: Robbie Durand
What would you rather do to get a smaller waist? Spend an hour on the treadmill running at a slow speed or 20 minutes doing short, hard, interval training bouts. Interval training has a ton of benefits when compared with steady state cardio activity. It takes less time time to perform interval training and it also creates more of a metabolic demand to perform and raises metabolic rate.
In a previous study, participants performed hour-long workouts four times a week. While everyone did 40 minutes of strength training, they were divided into two groups for cardio. One group ran for 20 minutes on treadmills and the other group performed body-weight intervals for 20 minutes. At the end of eight weeks, the interval participants lost two inches of belly fat compared to the runners who lost less than one inch. So if you’re looking for a smaller waist line, then interval training is the way to go.
A new study published this year suggests that very short rest periods between bouts are the key for making the most out of interval training. Researchers had cyclists do interval training for about 40 minutes twice a week for ten weeks. They combined the interval training with their regular training. Half of the cyclists did more or less classical interval training: cycling for 4.5 minutes as fast as they could and then 2.5 minutes cycling gently to recover. They repeated this cycle until the 40 minutes were up. The other half of the cyclists did a more explosive kind of interval training, with shorter cycles: they cycled as fast as they could for 30 seconds and then cycled gently for 15 seconds. They repeated this cycle for 9 minutes and then rested for 3 minutes. Then they started a second series, completing a total of 3 series. At the end of the study, there were no differences between groups in total volume of both HIT and low-intensity training. The short rest period group (30 seconds and then cycled gently for 15 seconds) achieved a larger relative improvement in
VO2max than the longer rest period group (4.5 minutes as fast as they could and then 2.5 minutes cycling gently to recover). The cyclists who did the short rest period interval training also developed more power and were therefore faster. The longer rest period training on the other hand had little effect in this department. These results suggest that the present shorter rest interval training protocol induces superior training adaptations on both the high-power region and lower power region of cyclists’ power profile compared with a longer rest period protocol.
So if you want the best gains in cardiovascular and anaerobic power from interval training, keep your rest periods short. So now that you know that training with short rest periods is the way to go for interval training, now you need the right supplementation.
Beta alanine increases intramuscular levels of carnosine, which has a “buffering” effect on the hydrogen ions in the muscle tissue. As a result, beta alanine increases muscular endurance, allowing you to perform additional reps on each set and/or improve your performance on cardiovascular activities like running, rowing, swimming, interval training, etc. Here is a neat study to show you how effective beta alanine is for increasing muscle endurance. The researchers here wanted to know what effect beta-alanine has on athletes who do interval training. So they did an experiment with 46 athletic students, and got them to do interval training 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Every training session the students cycled 5-6 times intensively for 2 minutes. Between sets they rested for 1 minute. The intensity increased gradually over the 6 weeks. The students started at 90 percent of their VO2max and by the end of the 6 weeks they were cycling at 115 percent of their VO2max. Half of the subjects were given a placebo, and the other half took 6 g beta-alanine daily for the first 3 weeks. After that the dose was halved. The athletes spread the supplement over 4 smaller doses each day. At the end of the study, the supplementation of beta alanine extended the time that the athletes were able to cycle at 110 percent of their VO2max. The subjects taking beta alanine were capable of doing more work, thus beta-alanine makes interval training more effective. Another benefit was the subjects who took beta-alanine did gain nearly a kilo lean body mass, whereas the lean body mass in the placebo group remained pretty much constant.