Alpha-GPC and Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Muscle contraction is a complex process, but one of the major components is a chemical called acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates muscles to contract. During workouts, it becomes depleted, leading to fatigue and weaker contractions. However, if you have more available prior to and during your training session, you'll be stronger and have greater muscular endurance. L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, or alpha-GPC for short, is a nutritional precursor to acetylcholine, providing the choline component. It alone can stimulate the cascade of muscular events that lead to stronger, more powerful contractions. With
Acetyl-L-Carnitine, a substance with a large range of neurological and potentially hormonal effects, the results are also prolific. This unique form of carnitine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and act as an acetycholine precursor by donating its acetyl group. Combine a deliverable form of choline from Alpha-GPC with an acetyl donor from
Acetyl-L-Carnitine, and you create the ultimate combination in precursors for acetylcholine synthesis.
Beta-alanine. When you're weight training and you just have to end your set, whether it's due to fatigue or a "burning" in your muscles, it's most likely due to the buildup of hydrogen ions (H+), which in turn increase acidity in muscle. This is precisely what you don't want when training. Simply put, this acidic buildup stops muscle contraction cold. That's where
beta-alanine comes in. It kicks off the processes that halt the growth-killing upsurge of hydrogen ions. Because acidic buildup occurs in all types of activity, in all muscle fiber types, and
beta-alanine can absorb it, it?s rapidly becoming the premiere training supplement for anyone looking to get stronger, leaner, and more muscular.
Creatine. No stranger to the nutrition world, creatine has perhaps the best reputation of any strength/power supplement. As stated above, there are many factors that contribute to muscle fatigue, most notably acetylcholine depletion and the build-up of hydrogen ions. Another contributor to fatigue during exercise is the depletion of ATP, our most readily available and usable source of energy.
Creatine is the substance that replenishes the loss of the phosphate group that's pulled off an ATP molecule to release energy.
Creatine essentially puts the ATP back together, to be used once again for energy. Since high-strength and power activities (i.e., weight training) deplete ATP the quickest, creatine is most beneficial for anyone engaging in them - anyone trying to get bigger and stronger.
Branched-chain amino acids have been around forever, but they never seem to be short on new benefits. The latest? The ability to reduce central fatigue, the type of fatigue that results from a tired brain. Sometimes you just feel sluggish and bored prior to and during workouts, and often it's a result of depleted brain neurotransmitters.
BCAAs work to combat this by reducing the brain's uptake of tryptophan, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel sleepy.
BCAAs also work in muscles themselves, increasing energy output and strength.
Tyrosine. The powerful neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine are all derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine, underscoring the importance of tyrosine for optimal neurological function.
Tyrosine at the proper dose has been shown in human studies to improve performance, mood, and psychological function under stressful physiological conditions such as exercise. It can also improve cognitive function, improving focus and concentration. Many of these positive attributes of
tyrosine are believed to come from its ability to manufacture these neurotransmitters and prevent their depletion during exercise. This makes tyrosine an ideal pre-workout compound, but only in the proper dosage (2-3 grams) and timing (prior to exercise).
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system by triggering the release of epinephrine from the adrenal glands and by indirectly blocking a chemical in the body called adenosine, which has calming effects on the central nervous system. There is what's considered an "optimal" level of nervous system stimulation, so taking too much of a stimulant such as
caffeine can actually worsen performance. Finding the correct dose and ingesting it with proper timing can aid greatly in helping you achieve the optimal state for the most intense and focused training sessions. What's the most effective dose