We've all been there: You wake up in the morning, roll out of bed, and as you take your first steps towards the kitchen, WHAM!
It feels as if your legs have turned into noodles and you just about manage to avoid falling face first into the floor – then the fire in your quads and hamstrings brings flashbacks of last night’s Tabata squat WOD!
Damn you, lactic acid, this is the last time you’ll get the better of me!
How to reduce lactic acid and delayed on-set muscle soreness
So Long, Lactic Acid!
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology clearly showed that supplementing with creatine monohydrate provides a significant reduction in the amount of lactic acid produced in muscles during exercise.
This, in turn, helps to reduce muscle soreness or DOMS and residual lactate accumulation in the muscles post-exercise.
Creatine supplementation works by increasing the amount of available phosphocreatine within the muscle cell, thereby enhancing energy production and output. This means that your body will be able to use a greater amount of glucose for energy, rather than resorting to lactic acid which is actually a by-product of energy production.
What About BCAA? Do they help?
Branched-chain amino acids or BCAA are sold in capsule and loose powder form, and consist of the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Leucine is the one we are most interested in because around 3g or so – the amount typically found in a 5g serving of BCAA – is enough to “switch on” protein synthesis in the body, putting a halt on muscle protein breakdown.
This is vitally important first thing in the morning and when your muscles are sore because your body is in a state of recovery. Remember, you have broken down your muscle fibers so now they need to be repaired!
A Japanese study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology in 2009 demonstrated that “Branched-chain amino acid supplementation increases the lactate threshold during an incremental exercise test in trained individuals” when compared with a placebo.
This is great news for those of us who are serious about our training, so you can rest assured I promptly stumble into the kitchen to grab my tub of BCAA on those fateful mornings!
How to Take Creatine and BCAA
Around 5g – 10g of creatine monohydrate per day is enough to cut the onset of lactic acid accumulation, with the higher end of the dosing spectrum being for the heavier 200lb'ers among you.
Be aware that some of you may be sensitive to creatine when you first wake up, so you might want to have it with breakfast and not on an empty stomach; either way, be sure to consume plenty of water when you take it as that will help to carry it where it is most needed – your muscles!
As for BCAA, 5g – 15g is enough, and it is actually better taken on an empty stomach to enhance absorption.
If you are suffering from extreme soreness then try splitting up a larger amount into even doses, spaced between each of your meals.
I've used the Genuine Health BCAA+Creatine combo product with tremendous success over the past few months.
A few of the key benefits include:
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Improves strength & power
- Assists in cell muscle repair
- Prevent muscle catabolism
I invite you to give it a try to come to your own conclusions. Happy Training!
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This post is one of an 8 part series inspired by Genuine Health's #ItMatters campaign. Check out a few of the following posts to learn more about how to optimize your nutrition for performance and recovery:
- Optimum Nutrition for Peak Performance and WHY it matters
- Sports Nutrition Vs Everyday Nutrition – There IS a Difference
- The Way of the Weekend Warrior: Recovery, it matters
- The Athlete’s Way: Prepare, Perform, Rebuild – then Repeat (Often!)
- The Pre-pre-race preparation: 6 & 1/2 Sports Nutrition Tips
- The Whey or No Whey of Protein: Are Plants enough to fuel me?
- Getting the most from my WOD: Sports Nutrition Must Do’s
This is my disclaimer, “Just so you know, I have been compensated to share my ideas on this topic. Sometimes it is in the form of products, or services or even money… But here’s the thing; I won’t share anything with you that I don’t fully support. It doesn't matter what it is, or how much they are willing to give me, if I don’t believe in it, It won’t be on my site. Seriously. You’ll just have to trust me on this.” ~ Moose