With Christmas now behind us and the New Year ahead, many athletes take this time to re-evaluate their training and diet to ensure it’s on track for the season ahead.
For some this means getting back on track after a few too many festive indulgences, but for others it means mixing up the diet, training or supplementation to try something new.
Regardless of your particular viewpoint, studies reveal Guarana could help kick start your 2012 training and be a welcome addition to your gym bag.
Present in most energy drinks, guarana is a plant that’s commonly found in South America and was historically used by tribes since it was believed to have the ability to cure headaches, give energy and increase mental alertness. Research later revealed the ‘miraculous’ powers of the plant described by the tribe’s people was actually due to its large caffeine content, which studies show can trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response.
This is essentially where the stroke volume of the heart increases, airways are widened and blood flow and pressure increases to allow more oxygen to be delivered to the muscles ready for them to spring into action and produce stronger, quicker contractions.
However, even more important for those concerned with endurance is caffeine’s ability to help fight fatigue. Since during long periods of exercise your body uses glycogen for fuel and when glycogen runs out, exhaustion sets in. Caffeine helps prolong your glycogen stores by encouraging your body to burn stored fat as fuel, saving the glycogen for later.
This all takes place early in the exercise, according to Dr. Mark Jenkins of SportsMed Web, you may use as much as 50 percent less glycogen during the first 15 minutes. But this leaves larger stores intact for the rest of the event, delaying the point of exhaustion.
Lastly if that’s not enough, researchers at Yale University found that caffeine actually helped increase your resistance to fatigue by stimulating the production of the neuro transmitter beta-endorphin, which studies show can reduce pain and perceived fatigue, therefore not only do your muscles have more energy to resist fatigue, but your brain doesn’t feel the fatigue.