Competitive Cycling – Addressing the One Critical Factor That Makes ALL the Difference for Improved Athletic Performance!
Competitive cycling is a very broad term. It applies to those who wish to improve their personal time and performance; to those who wish to improve their competitive times and performances. It also encompasses a broad range of cycling events from short sprints and the need for speed and power; to cross country and the need for endurance and stamina. Competitive cycling can combine these extremes in the same event as well as just be a component in an athletic sport like the triathlon.
While there are a wide variety of training programs and techniques to prepare you and your body for your athletic performance, when you break it all down there are just 3 components to improved competitive cycling. These components are:
However, when you look at these 3 components, central to everything is your cardiovascular system. While your heart is vitally important to this system it’s not the organ that will make the ultimate difference. That organ is the endothelium that lines all of your cardiovascular system including your heart!
Most people in competitive cycling have never even heard of this organ.
The rest of this article will help show you how important this little known, but critically important organ is to your athletic performance. It all centers on the endothelium’s ability to properly produce a simple molecule called nitric oxide and all the impact nitric oxide can have on training, performance, and recovery.
Sports Science and Competitive Cycling
Sports science has come a long way in helping all levels of athletes improve their athletic performance. From teaching us the importance of developing your core muscles which provide a stable base to your cycling movements; to different strength training programs which improve muscle strength, tone, and endurance allowing you to stave off muscle fatigue and help to limit injury; to the importance of proper nutrition to both fuel and repair. Yet, there is still one factor that most leave out and that is the health of your endothelial cells and their ability to produce nitric oxide.
Before we go into depth and detail about how your endothelial cells, and their ability to produce nitric oxide, can improve your overall performance, I’d like to highlight Dr. Ed Burke and the points he made in Serious Cycling regarding the benefits of endurance activity:
- Increasing the potential of your muscles and liver to store carbs.
- Improving your respiratory system.
- Increasing the efficiency of your heart to pump blood to the muscles.
- Improving the neuromuscular efficiency of pedaling.
- Enhancing your ability to burn fat during long rides.
- Increasing the endurance of your cycling muscles by increasing the density of mitochondria in your muscles where aerobic energy is produced.
While every point Dr. Burke makes is important, central to each one of them is the ability of the cardiovascular system to deliver the necessary oxygen and nutrients needed to make these points a reality. Additionally, that same cardiovascular system is needed to remove the waste products created during energy production so that the muscle and organ systems can work optimally or as close to optimally as possible.
Many serious competitive cyclists spend a lot of time, money, and effort on training, nutrition, and equipment. Equally important is spending time making sure your endothelial cells are properly repaired and supplied with the amino acids they need for improved nitric oxide production.
Why Pay Attention to the Endothelial Cells …
… and Nitric Oxide Production?
Today, I’m going to open your eyes and mind to information that can take you to a whole new level of athletic performance in competitive cycling. But first a little background.
Your endothelium is a thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of your entire cardiovascular system including your heart. These cells are called the endothelial cells. When added up, the volume of these endothelial cells would cover the surface area of 8 tennis courts and weigh as much as the liver. That’s amazing since the endothelium is only one cell thick and can’t be seen by the human eye.
Once thought to be just an inert membrane, research over the last 25 years has shown that the endothelium is an active, multi-functional organ that plays a vital role in metabolic, immunologic, and cardiovascular health. Most researchers today would tell you that your endothelial cells ultimately determine the health of your blood vessels. It’s these blood vessels that are delivering the needed oxygen and nutrients for your athletic performance as well as removing the waste products that help determine the speed of your recovery. All key to improving competitive cycling.
One critical function of the endothelial cells is facilitating the formation of new capillaries. While this is important in wound healing, it also plays a significant role in muscle creation and in the heart’s ability to develop collateral vessels to improve delivery of oxygen and nutrients. This collateral vessel formation is also key to improving your ability to fuel your muscles with oxygen and nutrients as well as effectively removing waste products.
Another critical function of the endothelial cells is the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system. It regulates the muscle tone of your blood vessels allowing them to dilate for improved blood flow into the working muscles, tissues, and organs. Nitric oxide stops blood platelet cells from grouping together to enhance blood flow. Nitric oxide transmits messages between nerve cells. Nitric oxide is associated with the process of learning and memory for improved cognitive function. According to Dr. Jonathan S. Stamler – Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center:
“It does everything, everywhere. You cannot name a major cellular response or physiological effect in which [nitric oxide] is not implicated today. It’s involved in complex behavioral changes in the brain, airway relaxation, beating of the heart, dilation of blood vessels, regulation of intestinal movements, function of blood cells, the immune system, even how fingers and arms move.”
From airway relaxation for improved lung function to dilation of the blood vessels for improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, tissues, and organs, nitric oxide plays a critical role in competitive cycling and improved athletic performance. Here’s a general overview of how this affects training, performance, and recovery.
Training for Competitive Cycling
There are many different training programs designed to help you build strength, stamina, speed, endurance, and power specific to the competitive cycling you are doing. Foundational to every training program is your ability to fuel your muscle tissues with oxygen and nutrients to sustain your efforts. It also becomes the limiting factor in athletic performance because of the difference between anaerobic and aerobic energy production and the waste products they produce.
In the simplest of terms, 1 unit of glucose will produce 2 units of energy during anaerobic respiration and the resulting waste product is lactic acid. In aerobic respiration 1 unit of glucose will produce 36 units of energy and the resulting waste products are carbon dioxide and water. Aerobic respiration produces 18 times more energy and its waste products do not negatively effect muscle contraction like lactic acid does.
By properly nourishing your endothelial cells you will help them increase capillary beds to the working muscles, tissues, and organs involved in your competitive cycling. You will also improve their ability to produce nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of your cardiovascular system. This will improve blood flow to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. This will allow them to work at a higher aerobic capacity for a longer period of time. This will allow you to work at a higher intensity with less lactic acid formation for quicker recoveries so that subsequent training sets can be performed at a higher intensity with less lactic acid buildup. This improves your anaerobic threshold, which is the limiting factor for most people in their training program.
Improved blood flow results in improved performance of the working muscles, faster recovery, and better muscle development to maximize your training program specific to your competitive cycling.
Performance in Competitive Cycling!
While there are many factors that can affect your performance on race day, most athletic performance is a product of your training and the ability to properly fuel your body to meet the demands of your competitive cycling event. Just like in training, properly nourishing your endothelial cells to improve their ability to properly produce nitric oxide can make a significant difference in your athletic performance.
Critical to your performance will be your body’s ability to deliver needed oxygen and nutrients to meet the intensity of your race, and to sustain that intensity for as long as needed. By optimizing the health of your endothelial cells you will help improve circulation. Improved circulation improves the delivery of needed oxygen and nutrients while carrying away the waste products that can be a limiting factor in performance. Again, you have significantly improved your anaerobic threshold, which is usually the limiting factor for most people in competitive cycling and affects everyone’s performance.
Recovery in Competitive Cycling
Just as the endothelial cells, and their ability to properly produce nitric oxide, improve both training and performance, they will also have a positive effect on recovery. Recovery is a combination of waste product removal and reloading the muscle tissues with the nutrients they need for repair and energy production. Again, this is a function of improved circulation.
When your endothelial cells properly produce nitric oxide for improved circulation, you work at a higher anaerobic threshold, which means less lactic acid production. With improved circulation it’s easier to remove this limiting waste product to speed recover. Improved circulation also delivers the needed nutrients to reload the muscle tissue and facilitate any tissue repair. All of this means quicker recovery from both your training and performance activities.
Two Critical Amino Acids for Competitive Cycling
There are two amino acids that are critical to properly nourishing and repairing your endothelial cells to optimize their ability to produce nitric oxide. They are L-arginine and L-citrulline. Many have heard of L-arginine since there is a wealth of information and products in the marketplace. Few have heard of L-citrulline yet it is just as important to the health of your endothelial cells as L-arginine.
The essential amino acid L-arginine is found in foods like eggs, tuna, chicken, peanuts, and beans. However, when isolated and properly brought into the body, L-arginine has the ability to produce some remarkable results. Specific to competitive cycling, research shows the following benefits:
- Precursor for the synthesis of nitric oxide.
- Stimulates growth hormone for anti aging benefits.
- Improves blood circulation and aids in blood pressure regulation.
- Improves insulin sensitivity to help normalize blood sugar.
Your endothelial cells use L-arginine to create nitric oxide. Most research indicates that for you to receive a therapeutic effect you need to consume 5 grams of pharmaceutical grade L-arginine. This means both the quantity and quality of L-arginine used is extremely important.
The amino acid L-citrulline is very hard to obtain from food alone so supplementation is the best option. Most vascular researchers will tell you that L-citrulline is equally important, maybe even more important, than L-arginine because it significantly extends the ability of the endothelial cells to properly produce nitric oxide.
Typically, a therapeutic level of L-arginine creates a 30 minute to 2 hours window of improved nitric oxide production. By including the proper amount of L-citrulline you can extend this improved nitric oxide production to 24 to 36 hours. This extended window of improved nitric oxide production allows for significant health benefits. This helps to repair the endothelial cells so that they can work optimally. This provides improved blood flow so that muscles, tissues, and organs that have been used during all phases of competitive cycling can recover quicker for better results.
Additionally, L-citrulline can bypass the destructive nature of the enzyme arginase that everyone carries in their blood stream. Arginase destroys L-arginine, which can limit nitric oxide production. L-citrulline provides an alternative pathway for the endothelial cells to convert L-citrulline to L-arginine for improved nitric oxide production. This is especially important for African American cyclists since they have a genetic predisposition for carrying higher levels of arginase in their bloodstream.
Unfortunately, most L-arginine products sold as nitric oxide enhancers do not include this critical amino acid L-citrulline.
ProArgi-9 Plus for Competitive Cycling
ProArgi-9 Plus is a clinically proven, natural, nutritional supplement that is uniquely designed to repair the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system to improve their ability to create nitric oxide. This product was originally designed for clinical use for those with cardiovascular health issues. It has both long term and short term clinical results. Results that have clearly demonstrated the ability of
ProArgi-9 Plus to remarkably improve the health of the endothelial cells and enhance their ability to create nitric oxide. This has resulted in dramatically improving circulation and eliminating or substantially reducing cardiovascular challenges.
As this product has been applied to athletic performance it has produced remarkable improvements for athletes. Improved training, improved performance, and improved recovery have all been noted by those who have made ProArgi-9 Plus a part of their nutritional program. Most athletes will take 1 ½ to 2 scoops of ProArgi-9 Plus approximately 30 minutes prior to their workout or performance. By the time they have completed their warm up it’s in their system to help provide their endothelial cells with the necessary ingredients for improved nitric oxide production. It then significantly enhances their ability to work at higher intensity levels with less lactic acid formation for quicker recoveries. Because ProArgi-9 Plus includes L-citrulline it helps to enhance the body’s ability to repair so that recovery is quicker.
This overall effect in training, performance, and recovery has helped those in competitive cycling see significant improvements. If you’re currently looking to improve your competitive cycling and would like to try a clinically proven product that can repair your endothelial cells and improve their ability to produce nitric oxide, then order ProArgi-9 Plus.