Saturday, November 3, 2012

Product Review- Powerbar High Intensity

PowerBar® High Intensity Sustained Release Beta Alanine dietary supplement:

Provides an even supply of beta-alanine to your muscles. Beta-alanine works by increasing muscle carnosine levels, buffering lactic acid that builds up during high-intensity exercise, which can reduce muscle burn and fatigue. Designed for endurance, team, and strength athletes, these beta-alanine tablets are formulated to help enhance both high-intensity training and performance.*

Results are typically seen in about 4–8 weeks.

PowerBar® High Intensity Sustained Release Beta Alanine dietary supplement — key features:
1,600 mg of beta-alanine per two-tablet serving size
Only 10 calories in two tablets
NSF® Certified for Sport™

Excepts From:
Beta-Alanine: Push High-Intensity Training Limits and Improve Athletic Performance
By: Christopher D. Jensen, PhD, MPH, RD
Nutrition & Epidemiology Researcher

"Figuring Out Fatigue
Fatigue during exercise has many causes, and it varies by sport or event. For endurance athletes such as marathon runners and triathletes, who primarily rely on aerobic metabolism, fatigue can occur an hour or two into a competition or workout, when muscle and liver glycogen stores run dry and blood glucose begins to drop.

High-acid environments and high performance don't make for a good mix. Not only does too much lactic acid produce that all-too-familiar burning sensation in your muscles, it also impairs muscle contraction. The end result is that you're not able to continue to generate the force needed to maintain your speed or lift that weight. And that's when you get passed just a few strides from the finish or can't muster the extra push to get to where you need to be.

Now, imagine that you had a metabolic weapon that could help neutralize the lactic acid buildup. It would enable you to train harder and longer and to reap the performance benefits that come from pushing the limits of your high-intensity training. Your very own muscles do have this weapon at their disposal. And believe it or not, new research says that the strength of that arsenal is something that you can control.

Fighting on Your Side
Your ability to sustain high-intensity exercise and hold fatigue at bay is in part determined by the amount of a natural biochemical, called carnosine, in your muscles.

Carnosine's presence in muscle tissue has been known for over 100 years, but scientists are just now beginning to appreciate its range of functions — and fighting off fatigue is high on the list. Exactly how carnosine helps you resist fatigue is not completely understood, but buffering or neutralizing lactic acid buildup in muscle is believed to be its primary mechanism.

Decreasing oxidative stress is another probable route to performance benefit. High-intensity exercise leads to oxidative stress and to the production of highly reactive biochemicals called free radicals that compromise muscle function. Carnosine acts as a natural antioxidant and neutralizes these exercise-induced free radicals.

By buffering lactic acid buildup and decreasing oxidative stress, carnosine helps to delay the impaired muscle contractions that inevitably occur during high-intensity exercise. With an adequate supply of carnosine in your muscle tissue, you're able to generate the force needed to maintain your top speed a little longer, lift that extra measure of weight, or dig deep for an all-out charge to the finish.

Fighting Fatigue
Carnosine is made up of two amino acid building blocks — histidine and beta-alanine. Histidine is a common amino acid found in many of the proteins that exist throughout your body; you have lots of it around. So when researchers gave their study subjects extra histidine, muscle carnosine levels were not affected. But providing extra beta-alanine proved to be another story altogether. Beta-alanine is a unique amino acid that is not really used to make proteins, so we have much less of it available in our bodies. When researchers gave beta-alanine supplements to their study subjects, muscle carnosine concentrations soared! In fact, levels rose by as much as 80% in a matter of weeks.

Boosting Performance
Boosting muscle carnosine concentration is one thing, but does more carnosine have an impact on exercise performance?

•In a study where men were asked to cycle at 110% of their average power output during the final stretch of intermittent interval training, time to exhaustion was increased by 12% after 4 weeks of supplementing with beta-alanine.
•In men and women engaged in endurance exercise, daily beta-alanine supplementation for a month produced a 13–16% increase in physical working capacity."

So how does High Intensity work for a typical AGer?
I am a 42 year old MOP age grouper. I tried High Endurance starting in June of this year. For the first month you take 2 pills twice a day, then after the first month take 2 pills once a day. Per the bottle results are typically seen in about 4 weeks. My first three races of the year Rev 3 Olympic at Knoxville in May and the Revolution (Olympic and HIM back to back days) at Rev3 Quazzy in June, were two good perfromances. I PRed at Knoxville by about 33 seconds and PRed the Revolution by about 12 min. But in each of these races my run was a struggle. I ran a 48:02 at Knoxville but I faded in the second half (split 1 20:12 2.74 miles (7:22) Split 2 27:50 3.46 miles (8:03)). At Rev 3 Quazzy I ran a similar run 48:27 again fading and losing severage spots in my AG (13th)(First 2 miles in 15:11 (7:36) Flat Next 4.21 miles in 33:26 (7:58)). For the half my run also dropped off considerably again losing alot of positions in my AG (78th). (2:01:17-First 5.6 miles 47:27 (8:28) included the Kswis hill Next 5.2 miles 52:16 (10:03) included hill out and Olympic bike hill Last 2.3 miles 21:34 (9:22) included final hill).

After using High Intensity starting in the beginning of June. My run performance did appear to improve as I was able to maintain my pace for noticably longer. At Rev3 Wisconsin-The Dells in August, I ran a new Olympic run PR of 46:27, but most encouraging I ran a negative split on a rolling hilly course (First 3.18 miles 24:05 (7:34) Second 3.03 miles 22:23 (7:23)) ran the 4th faster split in my AG and ran up from 8th to 6th in my AG for a personal best. My next race Rev3 Maine-Old Orchard Beach at the end of August, I PRed by over 3 Min for the Olympic ran the 4th fastest SPlit in my AG again at 47:24 and again slightly negative splited (Out 23:43 (7:39) and back 23:40 (7:38)) running my way up from 9th to 5th (and for a few minutes 4th).

But the best was still to come. In October, I did the Half Full Tri HIM. On an absolutely nasty day weather wise on a hilly course, Lance didn't lap me and not only did I PR my HIM but over 2 min, I PRed my HIM run by over 4 min with a 1:48:28 on a hilly course with the 4th fastest split in my AG noticing a trend here. Ran a very steady half marathon running fastest in the middle (First 3.1 miles 25:32 (8:14/mile) Second 6.7 miles 54:30 (8:08/mile) Last 3.3 miles 28:27 (8:37/mile)). FInishing 25th OA (best for any race and 7th in my AG best in a HIM). The following weekend at Rev3 South Carolina-Anderson. I ran a strong race and finished it off with another Oly run PR of 46:04 and fairly even splits (First 3.4 miles 25:14 (7:25 min/mile) Last 2.8 miles 20:50 (7:26 min/mile)). The third fastest split in my AG and finished 6th in my AG and 30th OA.

Is that a scientific test, No. But do I think High Intensity works. Absolutely! Did my legs still tighten up yes but, it occurred later in the run and it became very clear in my results when you compared the first and second halves of my season.

Race Report- Rev3 South Carolina-Anderson

Rev3 Anderson - Olympic Rev
Anderson, South Carolina
United States
70F / 21C

Triathlon - Olympic
Total Time = 2h 34m 10s
Overall Rank = 30/184
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 6/17

Pre-race routine:

My last Triathlon of 2012! Drove down Friday after getting my State Inspection for my car done but the forgot to change the oil. Got on the road about 11am and it was a good 11 hour drive which became 12 when my GPS didn't tell me about a turn so I stayed left and ended up in downtown Greenville. FInally got to Clemson just about midnight and immediately crashed. Next morning I headed over to Andeson and the expo and picked up my packet and chip, then headed over to Darwin Walker Park to drop off my bike and do the practice swim. Missed my teammates for the tri slide pit but swam a nice relaxed loop of the HIM course. Had issues with my goggles fogging up so Foggled up after I got out. Dropped of the bike and headed back to the hotel. Went to dinner with a bunch of my teammates at the same restraunt as last year in old town Anderson and again we had a great time eating and following the Ironman World Championships (and some of our teammates) via Twitter and facebook. Rolled back to the hotel took a shower and put on my race numbers laid everything out and hit the sack, Woke up at 5am drove to the expo by 5:30 and set up T2 then got on the shuttle and drove over to Darwin Walker at T1. Ended up sitting next to Jaqui Gordon and another pro and listened to them talk about the race and what else they had planned for the year. Got into T1 early, pumped up my tires before the lines, loaded up my bottles and set up T1, then found a nice corner and laid down for about 30 min till it was time to get my wetsuit on and head out. Had Stu come by and wish me luck. We got ushered out of transition at 7am and I visited the potta potties and headed down to watch the pros and the HIM get under way.

Event warmup:

There was about 30 min between the HIM and the first Olympic wave while they repositioned the buoys so we got a chance to do a swim warm up. Swam out to the first buoy and back. Was a bit chilly at first but warmed up and felt good.

00:33:31 | 1640.42 yards | 02m 02s / 100yards
Age Group: 9/17
Overall: 62/184
Performance: Average
Suit: TYR Hurricane Cat 5 Full


Counter clock wise loop around the point then a loop on the other side. The moved the buoys on the starting side but left the two red one on the other side and I think the college kids started going around them so they had everyone follow suit thus making the swim long. How long I don't know but that makes sense with the time as my swim was quite that slow based on my place w/i my AGE and OA.

Start type:Run
Plus: Waves
Water temp: 67F / 19C
200M Perf: Good
Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average
Drafting: Below average
Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average


Started on the beach on the far right a few rows back. Strolled into the water and got going fairly event free. Heard Scott tell be to get going. Swam to the outside of the main group to the first buoy and then blended in going to the second. Got into a good steady rhythm and kept pace with the folks around me as we rounded the inlet, I drifted way outside on that leg and had to arc back in to get the buoy. At the candy corn buoy I thought we were supposed to head for home everyone was going straight towards the two red buoys and they had siad to round all the buoys that were still out on the course so I followed suit. Again I swung wide on this section and I definetely fell out of my rhythm. By the time I got it back we were pararrel with the shore and ready to get out.

What would you do differently?:

Swim more! And swim straighter! 9/17 AG and 62/184 OA

Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average
Wetsuit stuck? Yes
Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below Average


SHort run up the beach to the parking lot and T1. Had a small issue pulling my wetsuit off my feet, them took my time getting my glasses and ring, helmet and finally shoes and socks. Socks were tough to get on. Loaed my gel and then stuffed everything into my transition bag and tied it as it was a point to point.

What would you do differently?:

Little smoother gear change and not have such a fight with my swiftwicks and wetsuit. Fell to 10th in AG and 66th OA

01:09:47 | 24.85 miles | 21.37 mile/hr
Age Group: 6/17
Overall: 31/184
Performance: Good
Wind: Some


After riding out of the park and the speedbumps, took a right and hit the rolling hills out of town and around the country. No huge hills but steady rollers and about 750 ft of climbing, then back past the park into Anderson on some main roads with more rollers and back around to the convention center and T2.

Road: Smooth Dry
Turns: Average
Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good
Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard
Drinks: Just right


Had some issues getting clipped in and lost a bit of ground then took it easy out to the road before finally dropping into aero and setting sail. Started passing people and found a good hard tempo. Started catching the collegate women and men 5 and 10 min ahead of my wave and it gave me something to shoot for. Passed a few people in my AG one with an aero helmit and IM tattoo on his calf, (love passing them) and hammered the hills and stayed in the big ring the whole time. On the second half I had 1 guy from the 30-35 AG pass me and ease away other than that I don't remember anyone passing me and staying in front of me (other than the 1 pro once the course came together. Had 1 guy in an aero helmit and trispoke wheel do a back a forth with me for 10 miles before I finally passed him for good on the main road in Anderson. Finished strong and felt good.

What would you do differently?:

Pretty well executed ride, maybe could have pushed the envelop a bit. Rode up to 6th in my AG and 31 OA plus passed a ton of collegate wave but need to ride stronger to place in my AG as I was 6th faster bike split as well.

Time: 01:06
Overall: Good
Running with bike: Good
Racking bike: Below average
Shoe and helmet removal:Good


Really good quick transition. My tri bag was in the way of my rack and it took a few extra seconds. But quickly out of my bike shoes into my running shoes grabbed my race belt and off. Got cheer from Alexander and Carole and off I went.

What would you do differently?:

Set up my bag better. Maintained my position OA and in my AG and actually made up about 10 seconds on the leader.

00:46:04 | 06.21 miles | 07m 25s min/mile
Age Group: 6/17
Overall: 30/184
Performance: Good
First 3.4 miles 25:14 (7:25 min/mile) Last 2.8 miles 20:50 (7:26 min/mile)


Out of transition, loop around the duck pond then out along the roads on the Expo center to the Park trails, across the street on some rolling hills and out to some more trails turn around and come back to the finiah line minus the second loop around the duck pond.

Keeping cool: Good
Drinking: Just right


Quick transition and got rolling on the little hill out of transition. had one guy pass me there and one college kid pacing behind me. Got into a good free pace and felt good. Were still catching the college wave people but few else. The pros doing the HIM had a two loop course so I got to see Andrew Strokowitz, Torenzo, and Richie Cunningham. Got up to the 3 mile point and the college kid passed me, then stopped to tie his shoe as I passed back and then passed my as a pro I didn't know passed us both. Passed Charlie Patten the head guy at Rev3 and had him tell me i was too old to be racing so much. Hit the turn and tried to lengthen my stride and work for home. Had the same pro pass me again (HIM turn around was a bit further up the road) and saw the leader (Andrew S. was absolutelte crushing the field. Passed Terenzo who was lloking strong and then Richie and Jaqui Gordon who gave me a big smile when I cheered her one. Saw Carole (MB!) again at the mile 5 aid station and pushed hard to the end. Had the finish line pretty much to myself and posed a bit for the finishline photo.

What would you do differently?:

46:04 is my Oly run PR, and it really didn't feel like I was going that hard as it was a smooth fast run. 3rd fastest split in my AG (behind only 1st and 3rd place)so it was a good run. Lost focus for a stretch but got it back so very happy with the run. Ended up 6th in my AG and 30th OA which was a bit depressing that I only passed one person with a PR run but I had a 4 mins to make up on 5th and had a 2 min gap which I stretched to 4 min on 7th.

Post race

Warm down:

Got my medal and towel and some water and walked over to my friends at the NormaTec tent and sat in the boots. Then went over to the transition and found Laura, and Alexander. Laura's brother was injuried in Afganistan over the weekend but had made it back to Walter Reed in DE and is going to be OK, which was great news. Then found my dry clothes and T1 bags and got changed and then loaded up T2 and walked my stuff to my car. Came back and got some food (Southern BBQ!!) then went to chek the results. The computer lost internet so that failed but a preliminary results sheet was up and it showed me 26th OA and 3rd in my AG. Unfortunately once the computers came back I saw that the Prelim sheet missed about a min and a half of finishers and 3 of them were in my AG, so I ended up 6th. That sort of sucked as I have never placed in my AG before and thought I had. Stayed around for the awards ceremony and found the OA winner was in my AG so only missed the podium by 2 spots.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Swimming and maybe being too conservative early on the bike and run. The swim was long by all accounts or I might have been close to 2:30 and certainly would have PRed, but I was very satisfied especially with the run PR and considering i was coming off a HIM PR last week. Satisfying race but left a bit of room to hunger for a bit more.

Event comments:

Cool race and concept having pros and the SEC collegate championships alongside the regular ag oly and HIm races. Point to point course was reasonable and not a logisitcal nightmare like IM 70.3 Providence was as the transitions were only about 2 miles apart. Really nice homey athmosphere and feel to the race. Was announced this race will be the USAT Long Course Championships next year so now I defintiely have to qualify.

Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5]: 4
Physical exertion [1-5]: 5
Good race?: Yes
Course challenge: Just right
Organized?: Yes
Events on-time?: Yes
Lots of volunteers?: Yes
Plenty of drinks?: Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5]: 5