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.

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