This one’s for anyone who’s in boxing and looking to fuel their workouts more effectively.
Let’s get started.
When it comes to boxing, it’s one sport that’s not for the “feint” of heart (see what I did there?).
Far from just being a physical game, it’s a mental one as well – the training an amateur to professional boxer endures is a testament to that.
On the flip side, while training your mind to be strong is the best way to unlock your physical strength, more often than not it’s smart to nourish your body when putting such taxing demands on it.
Every smart boxer (especially one that serves in the military and boxes competitively) knows that nutrition is critical to keeping your body strong and primed for a fight – but how many know about supplementation?
I don’t advocate having a laundry list of supplements, but there are a few select ones I believe in through time tested years of use and research.
One of those supplements is Beta-Alanine, paired with Taurine.
For those who’ve bought either SUPP UP. No Bull, Whole Food Military Nutrition On The Go, or SUPP UP. No Bull, Whole Food Military Nutrition At Home, you’ll know why these supplements are so effective, as in both books I’ve listed the natural role they play in our bodies, their benefits, and why (not to mention how) they work together so well.
If you’ve never heard of Beta-Alanine, or you’ve heard of it but aren’t quite sure what it does, put simply it’s a naturally occurring beta-amino acid. It’s also a powerful antioxidant with a host of benefits (which both nutrition books elaborate on).
But for this post let’s focus on one – punching power.
Anyone who’s sparred or hit the heavy bag hard and often can tell you that punching is an exercise that requires high intensity muscle performance.
They can also tell you that a good punch is more than a result of having a “strong arm,” understanding that there are several movements with muscles and joints which make for a punch which packs some serious power (explained in detail in my Gym In A Bag Workout Guide).
Punching also taxes the body at an incredible rate, as speed and strength are what make a punch powerful, meaning training for both is important, thus making boxing one of the top sports for conditioning and fat loss.
When you’ve reached a plateau in your boxing training, Beta-Alanine can contribute towards getting you over that hump. While our body naturally creates Beta-Alanine, the rate at which it’s used during an intense session can often outweigh our body’s rate of production.
What’s great about this amino acid as a supplement is, there’s been enough research done on it that shows consistent benefits of taking it in conjunction with doing high intensity training.
One such study was performed in the UK, which had evidence that supplementing with 6 g/day of Beta-Alanine (that’s 1.5 g, 4 x a day), increased amateur boxer’s punching force by an incredible rate of 20 times, and punching frequency by an impressive 4 times, in comparison to a placebo used on other participants in the study (Donovan et al, 2012).
It’s important to note though that this only works during real high intensity.
If you’re taking longer periods of rest (say 2-5 minutes), between rounds of strength training or bag work, you’re rendering the effects of Beta-Alanine insignificant or useless.
So naturally, it makes sense to supplement with Beta-Alanine in serious boxing training (none of this boxercise business), because the average training round is anywhere from 2-3 (sometimes 4-5) minutes depending on level of conditioning, with a 1 minute rest time, making the benefits of this amino acid really shine through.
You can take it during your workout as part of your intra-workout nutrition, or anytime of the day, as long as you pair it with Taurine, as Taurine serves as an antagonist to balance things out.
Taking Beta-Alanine without Taurine would mean having to cycle off of Beta-Alanine, as if you’ll remember, it’s serving as a booster to what’s already naturally occurring in your body.
Taking too much of either one causes neurological and neuromuscular decreases in performance tests – so everything in moderation.
While I wouldn’t recommend using the same amounts as in the case study, I’d recommend starting with 2 grams per day, with 2-3 grams of Taurine, then dialling into whatever works for you. A great place to get Beta-Alanine is from Bulk Powders.
Lately, I’ve been buying more from Bulk Powders, mostly because I like their Certificates of Analysis they leave readily available to view on several products.
Just remember to keep things balanced, and you’ll do just fine.
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If you really liked this post, but don’t have the SUPP UP. books yet, buy either SUPP UP. On The Go or SUPP UP. At Home E-BOOKS now, and discover what other supplements are the best to use for pre-, intra-, and post-workout nutrition under the “Supplements – Avoid Off the Shelf Pre-Mixes” chapter (preview of chapters available in shop).
These work very well in conjunction with my workout guide, SUPP UP. No Bull, Gym In A Bag Workout Guide, which provides guidance on the best portable workout equipment to own, a breakdown of how muscles are and can be effectively worked, and customizable workout plans. If you haven’t already check it out now, either in paperback or as an e-book.
Drop by next week for yet another great post to add to your workout and nutrition arsenal.
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Donovan, T, Ballam, T, Morton, J.P, Graeme, L.C. 2012. β-Alanine Improves Punch Force and Frequency in Amateur Boxers During a Simulated Contest. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. [Online]. 22(5), 331-337. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.22.5.331
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