Recently retired CrossFit star Mat Fraser revealed to Joe Rogan his favorite pre-workout supplement during a recent conversation on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast: beta alanine. The 31-year-old Fraser, who won five CrossFit Games championships in a row and is the winningest athlete in the competition’s history, told Rogan it has been a key to his successful training. Fraser said he uses a “s***load of beta alanine.”
Fraser told Rogan during the March 2021, podcast, “Love that stuff. I can’t believe more people don’t take it. I found where I could buy it on my own, not mixed in a pre-workout and kept it in my gym bag, just a scoop before every training session. It makes me feel like I have a third lung. I felt like I had a third lung when I took.”
According to Fraser, he would take a scoop of it dry and chase it with water about 10 minutes before working out. “Your mouth gets tingly right away,” Fraser said. “By the end of the warmup, you’re rubbing your face like, ‘oh s*** it’s kicking in.’ Someone told me it actually blocks lactic acid production, so that makes sense why I feel so good when I take this.”
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Beta Alanine Supplements Are Marketed as a Way to Enhance Athletic Performance & Endurance & Is Said to Cause a ‘Tingling’ Sensation
Beta Alanine, or β-Alanine, according to WebMD, “is a non-essential amino acid that is produced naturally in the body. Beta-alanine aids in the production of carnosine. That’s a compound that plays a role in muscle endurance in high-intensity exercise. Beta-alanine is marketed as a way to enhance sports performance and endurance. Some scientific evidence backs such uses, but the studies have been small and the results inconclusive.” WebMD expert Melinda Ratini adds:
Here’s how it’s said to work. Muscles contain carnosine. Higher levels of carnosine may allow the muscles to perform for longer periods before they become fatigued. Carnosine does this by helping to regulate acid buildup in the muscles, a primary cause of muscle fatigue.
Beta-alanine is one of carnosine’s main ingredients. Beta-alanine supplements are thought to boost the production of carnosine and, in turn, boost sports performance.
However, a review of studies of the beta-alanine supplement shows that it doesn’t increase muscle strength or aerobic endurance. Instead, it appears to slightly increase the amount of time an athlete can perform high-intensity exercises, such as weight lifting and sprinting, before getting exhausted.
According to WebMD, “Some people have reported tingling of the skin after taking large doses of beta-alanine.”
The International Society of Sports Nutrition wrote in a 2015 paper, “Over the past ten years, beta-alanine has grown to become one of the most popular sports nutrition ingredients. Although relatively new, with the first human study published in 2006, beta-alanine use and formulation has expanded into nearly every pre-workout formula on the market, and a number of daily and recovery formulas.”
The organization added, “Beta-alanine supplementation currently appears to be safe in healthy populations at recommended doses. Beta-alanine attenuates neuromuscular fatigue, particularly in older subjects, and preliminary evidence indicates that beta-alanine may improve tactical performance. More research is needed to determine the effects of beta-alanine on strength, endurance performance beyond 25 min in duration, and other health-related benefits associated with carnosine.”
Another study on beta alanine was released by the journal Amino Acids in 2012.
Fraser told Rogan, “So much of CrossFit is A) who can spike their heart rate and keep it there the longest and then who can hold off the lactic acid the longest.” Fraser admitted he “didn’t do that much research on it,” and told Rogan, “I wish I could tell you,” what dose he took. Rogan, laughing, responded, “People that are so meticulous about their supplements and their nutrition are probably screaming right now.”
Fraser Says He Ate Snickers Bars & Drinks Gatorade ‘Sludge’ During Competitions
Fraser said at the CrossFit Games, “Everyone has their prepackaged food, they’re weighing out their chicken and white rice, their broccoli and I’m just scarfing down Snickers bars as soon as I come off the floor.” Fraser said he worked with experts who told him after 60-minute, “Coca-Cola and a Snickers bar as soon as your done. … I can never eat a Snickers again, I’ve eaten so many over my career the last 3, 4 years.”
Rogan said Floyd Mayweather used to drink Coca-Cola after training and people would say it was ruining his body, “But I was like ‘no, no no, he knows what he’s doing.’ He’s dumping sugar into his muscles.”
Fraser said another expert told him, “Don’t drink the bottled Gatorade. You buy the scoop and the powder and mix a gallon-worth into like 8 ounces of water. … Slug that down. It’s just like sludge.” Fraser said, “I listen to people who are smarter than me and know what they’re doing. … Eat a Snickers bar after a workout, slug down this condensed Gatorade and you’re good to go. … I’ve had good performances the last couple of years.”