Any developing or professional track and field athlete will appreciate the vital importance of body composition and nutrition. Sprinters in particular must sustain the optimal power-to-weight ratio to push their body’s performance. Maintaining a strict diet and achieving a low body fat percentage is particularly important.
This isn’t easy. Each individual must focus on their body and their own unique needs. Too much weight loss can cause a reduction in muscle mass and subsequent loss of power and stamina. Consequently, nutrition has a profound effect on how the body recovers from training and competitions, as well as power-to-weight ratio, and training adaptations.
Without paying close attention to nutrition, budding sprinters will never made the grade. This is where amino acids become so vital.
Why are amino acids so important for sprinters?
Amino acids are naturally found in food and/or synthesised by our body. These compounds are used for a range of processes, including the production of proteins and subsequent muscle building. To generate energy the body requires fuel in the form of food.
However, the process of breaking down food proteins into amino acids takes time. This is perfectly fine for the majority of people. Yet, athletes, especially sprinters, need to accelerate this process to ensure that they get the best possible performance from their body.
This is why top sprinters take lots of amino acid supplements, in both tablet and powder from. This way the necessary amino acids are immediately available and do not require the body to break down food to source the vital energy and subsequent performance. With the right supplements, athletes are able to get a competitive edge over other competitors.
Top American sprinter and former world and Olympic champion, Justin Gatlin, is well known for his use of amino acids to support his athleticism.
All professional athletes have to complete a ‘Declaration of Use’ (DOU) form documenting all the medications and other substances they have taken for up to seven days prior to participating in an event.
In Spring of 2016, Gatlin’s DOU included the following; all taken on the same day:
- 1 spoonful of Beta-alanine;
- 1 spoonful of Calcium;
- 1 spoonful of Magnesium;
- 1 spoonful of the regenerative energy supplements EPIQ Protein and MD Plus Power Drink
- 1 tablet of the following weight-loss / fat-burning supplements: EPIQ HEAT GC, EPIQ Ripped, MD Plus Lipoflush and MD Plus Thermo Cell
- 1 tablet of the following muscle-growth supplements: EPIQ 3X Muscle and MD Plus G Boost
- 1 tablet of the following testosterone booster supplements: MD Plus Test and EPIQ Test
These supplements regularly used by Gatlin are formulated using amino acids, micro and macro nutrients and plant extracts. They are made especially to assist the body in supporting weight loss while simultaneously enhancing protein synthesis.
The helps athletes to maintain muscle mass. Many of the amino acids taken by Gatlin also help to improve blood circulation, reduce lactic acid accumulation, increase endurance and reduce recovery times.
This allow athletes to train harder for longer and push their body to maintain peak performance.
Which amino acids are ideal for sprinters?
There are several amino acids that are highly beneficial for sprinters and other athletes. In particular, leucine, isoleucine and valine (branched-chain amino acids) are ideal for converting fat into energy and improving endurance.
To learn more, read our post Top 6 Amino Acids For Athletes to the get the edge and train harder for better results.