You’ve seen how your muscles react to intense exercise. Can you image what’s taking place with competitors engaged in an ultra-endurance contest? A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiologygives us some idea of what’s going on with the body’s supply of amino acids when athletes compete in grueling 24-hour events.
Nine male ultra-endurance athletes performed 12 sessions of running, kayaking and cycling. Researchers took blood samples before, during and after exercise, then made a final test 28 hours into the recovery phase. Blood levels of essential amino acids fell 14% during exercise, and glutamine dropped off 19%. All amino acid levels returned to normal after 28 hours.
True Strength Moment: Although there were no changes to amino acid concentrations in muscle tissue, treating yourself to a whey protein shake before prolonged exercise could provide some anti-catabolic support. Whey protein is a rich source of both essential amino acids, including the BCAAs, along with the conditionally essential amino acid glutamine, which is one of the most abundant amino acids in your body.