What is it? Maximum performance coupled with fast recovery is what it’s all about in every sport, Boxing and Martial arts is no different. Let’s look at a few different supplements that are most beneficial to Boxing and Martial Arts!
Who Should take it? Anybody wanting to get the most out of their training, whether they are an enthusiast looking to get fit or a seasoned competitor getting ready for the next tournament/bout. Males and females of all ages will benefit from the correct supplements taken at the appropriate times.
What does it do? Let’s look at recovery and performance separately.
RECOVERY: The 3 main products used for peak recovery are (in order of importance) Whey Protein powder, BCAA and L-Glutamine.
Whey Protein Powder, particularly directly after an exercise session is the number one choice for improving the rate at which the muscles repair themselves. If a muscle isn’t fully repaired the next time you go to train then your performance, strength, agility and endurance are all going to less than optimal. Beginners and professional athletes should all be having a serve of Protein powder directly after exercise.
BCAA (branch chain amino acids) are best suited for intermediate trainers, those exercising 4 or more times per week. Whey protein powder already contains some BCAA naturally, however if you are pushing yourself extra hard you may benefit from adding a BCAA formula to your water bottle while exercising. BCAA help stop the muscles from getting damaged in the first place and also signal the muscles (and every other cell in your body) to start repairing themselves. A good BCAA formula will also contain electrolytes to help stop cramping.
L-Glutamine is for the more advanced trainer and helps remove waste products from muscles that are produced during exercise. Often good BCAA formulas will contain some L-glutamine, though advanced trainers may need to add extra.
PERFORMANCE: The 3 most popular products for fighters to improve energy and performance are Pre-workouts, Creatine and Beta-Alanine.
Pre-Workouts are top of the list because a good pre-workout will actually contain the other 2 performance ingredients on our list as well as a whole bunch of other ingredients. Most pre-workouts will contain a few different stimulants to give you more focus and energy. Stay clear of formulas that contain a large amount of L-Citrulline and Agmatine as they will give your muscles a large pump that may interfere with endurance and performance.
Creatine is great for explosive strength, kicking and punching power. Water retention from Creatine is debatable. A sensible daily dosage of Creatine (5-10grams) will only cause mild water retention inside the muscle which is completely desirable as it contributes to strength and recovery. Doses of creatine above 15 grams per day may give the kidneys unnecessary work and result in water retention under the skin. Bottom line, keep your dose under 10 grams a day and cut creatine 1 week before the weigh-in at events.
Beta-Alanine again should be in a good pre-workout anyway, though some athletes choose to take it by itself. Beta-Alanine helps reduce lactic acid and will contribute to better endurance right from your first dose.
How do I take it?
Whey Protein: 1 to 2 scoops directly after every training session
BCAA: 1 scoop in 600-700ml water, sip on it during your exercise session
Glutamine: 5-10 grams after exercise and/or before bed.
Pre-Workout: depending on the strength of your pre-workout, anywhere between half to 2 serves in 200ml water 30 minutes before exercise. Particularly in regards to stimulants ideally you want your pre-workout to give you a mild mental lift, not make you so buzzed that you can’t stay focussed or perform properly. Sometimes less is best, particularly in regards to the stimulants in pre-workouts.
Creatine: Women and smaller males will do well on 5 grams daily, morning or before exercise with 300-400ml water. Larger Males (over 90kg) may do better with 10 grams per day.
Beta-Alanine: 1 to 3 grams in water 30 minutes before exercise is the standard protocol.