Whether by acquiring the latest training gear, hiring the best coach, watching instructional DVD's or finding a nutritional supplement to build muscle, softball players, like all athletes, strive to separate themselves from their competition.
In the category of nutritional supplements, one stands out in the crowd: beta alanine. This naturally occurring non-essential amino acid increases muscular strength, overall power, muscle mass, and anaerobic and aerobic endurance, while buffering muscular fatigue so that softball players can train harder and longer. Unlike many supplements at your local health food store, beta alanine has been proven safe and effective.
So how does it apply to a softball player? If a girl can train longer for speed, agility, conditioning, core, plyometrics, and softball-specific drills like hitting, defense, and base running—without tiring near the beginning of her workout—she will become a stronger, more competitive athlete.
Another point: supplementing with beta alanine doesn't take several weeks of accumulation to show results. After your first intake, you should notice an immediate improvement in your body's ability to outlast your workout partners, teammates or opponents.
Typical recommended dosage is three to five grams before training or a long weekend tournament. Consume the same dosage throughout competition or training. Beta alanine can be taken in powder or pill form and easily added to a sports drink or water.
Don't be duped by fancy marketing and pay too much for a beta alanine product. A month's supply of 100% pure beta alanine is available at several online retailers for around $15.
If you're a competitive softball player, serious about finding a supplement to build muscle, do your own research on beta alanine before adding it to your off-season or in-season training regimen.
photo credit: highschoolsports.mlive.com
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock