High intensity interval training (HIIT training) is one of the hottest and effective new trends in physical fitness and fat burning. However, progressive HIIT bouts are extremely fatiguing due to the build-up of metabolites— this is where the benefits of beta-alanine supplementation come in.
Beta-alanine combines with the amino acid histidine in the body to form carnosine, which raises muscle carnosine levels. The main mechanism by which elevated muscle carnosine levels increase muscle function and performance is through its ability to buffer skeletal muscle pH (acidity) during prolonged high intensity exercise. Recent work presented at ACSM 2016 (Boston) illustrated that taking 6.4 g of beta-alanine per day for 24 weeks improved time to exhaustion from week 4 to 24 by up to 11%, where the placebo resulted in negligible improvements and even decreases in time to exhaustion at some time points (e.g., -7.1% at week 20).
ACTION POINT: During HIIT style training, increasing time to exhaustion is a hallmark of training success. But, beyond time to exhaustion, research has shown that subjects who completed a 6-week HIIT program (without weight training), while supplementing with beta-alanine, gained more than 2 pounds of muscle after 3 weeks!
For best results, we recommend taking 2-3 g of beta-alanine 30 minutes before training and again immediately after training— if you are looking for an extra strength boost take 2-5 g of creatine monohydrate with both doses of beta-alanine.
Saunders B, de Salles Painelli V, Silva VE, de Oliveira LF, da Silva RP, Sale C, Harris RC, Roschel H, Artioli GG, Gualano B. Effect Of 24 Weeks β-alanine Supplementation On High-intensity Cycling: 244 Board #81 June 1, 9: 30 AM – 11: 00 AM. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 May;48(5 Suppl 1):55-6.