Here are some of the key benefits of hydrolyzed collagen for athletes:
• Promotes healthy joints, ligaments, and tendons. • Improves muscle recovery and increases lean body mass when combined with strength training. • Supports a healthy gut.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant amino acid in the human body. It accounts for one-third of the total protein in your body. Collagen also helps to rebuild connective tissues and gives structure to our bones, ligaments, and tendons. Because of that, Collagen is often referred to as the “glue” in our bodies.
As we begin to age our body’s ability to produce collagen naturally slows.
By the time we hit 25, our bodies become less efficient in creating collagen. Compounded by the pounding of our joints from sports, the degenerative process accelerates.
That’s why more and more athletes are turning towards the benefits of supplementing with collagen peptides.
Benefits of Collagen: Supports Joint Health
Research shows supplementing with collagen peptides helps by supplying amino acids necessary to build new collagen and prevent joint deterioration . Collagen peptides are naturally high in the amino acids glycine and proline that aid in the production of new collagen. In addition, collagen peptides also stimulate fibroblasts and osteoblasts cells to build new collagen.
One clinical trial gave athletes 10 grams of collagen hydrolysate a day for 24 weeks. Athletes who received the collagen peptides noticed reduced joint pain when compared to a placebo . A review of scientific studies concluded, “there is a growing body of evidence that provides a rationale for the use of collagen peptides for patients with osteoarthritis” .
Benefits of Collagen: Improved Muscle Recovery and Lean Body Mass
Collagen peptides has been shown to increase muscle mass, reduce fat, and increase strength when used in combination with resistance training.
One study conducted resistance training with older subjects to study the effect of collagen protein powder. They found a higher increase in muscle strength, higher reduction in fat mass, and a higher increase in fat free body mass. 
In addition, collagen peptides contain high amounts of the amino acids arginine and glycine. These amino acids play critical role in the synthesis of creatine. Creatine has been shown to improve exercise performance, increase athlete’s lean body mass and reduce body fat .
When compared to whey protein, collagen peptides are superior in preserving lean body mass and maintaining nitrogen balance. This is especially true when on a low-protein diet .
Benefits of Collagen: Supports Healthy Gut
The 18 amino acids in collagen have the power to help support your gut and even improve many digestive disorders. It is able to do so by strengthening the protective lining of your digestive tract .
Collagen peptides contain concentrated amounts of the amino acids glycine and proline. These amino acids have been shown to protect stomach lining for injury. They also improve the healing of stomach ulcers from stress .
Have you heard of using glutamine for gut inflammation? It just so happens that Collagen is also high in this key amino acid.
Studies have found that individuals with digestive issues also have lower collagen levels. They’ve concluded that there is an association between inflammatory bowel disease and decreased serum collagen levels .
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 Bello, A E, and S Oesser. “Collagen Hydrolysate for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis and Other Joint Disorders: a Review of the Literature.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17076983.
 Brosnan, J T, and M E Brosnan. “Creatine: Endogenous Metabolite, Dietary, and Therapeutic Supplement.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17430086.
 Hays, N P, et al. “Effects of Whey and Fortified Collagen Hydrolysate Protein Supplements on Nitrogen Balance and Body Composition in Older Women.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19465192/.
 Hoffman, J. R., et al. “Effect of creatine and ß-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes.” Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc. Metab 16 (2006): 430-446.
 Koutroubakis, I E, et al. “Serum Laminin and Collagen IV in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2003, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14600124.
 Kristine L. Clark, Wayne Sebastianelli, Klaus R. Flechsenhar, Douglas F. Aukermann, Felix Meza, Roberta L. Millard, John R. Deitch, Paul S. Sherbondy & Ann Albert (2008) 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain, Current Medical Research and Opinion, 24:5, 1485-1496, DOI: 10.1185/030079908X291967
 Sugihara, F, et al. “Ingestion of Bioactive Collagen Hydrolysates Enhanced Pressure Ulcer Healing in a Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 July 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30061579.
 Wienecke, Elmar. Performance Explosion in Sports: An Anti-doping Concept: Revolutionary New Findings in the Area of Micronutrient Therapy: Training Continuity, Training Optimization, Injury Prevention Through Personalized Micronutrients. Meyer & Meyer Verlag, 2011. ISBN 978-3-89899-652-5;
 Zdzieblik, Denise et al. “Collagen Peptide Supplementation in Combination with Resistance Training Improves Body Composition and Increases Muscle Strength in Elderly Sarcopenic Men: A Randomised Controlled Trial.” The British Journal of Nutrition 114.8 (2015): 1237–1245. PMC. Web. 19 Aug. 2018.
What are BCAAs? Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein that help reduce muscle soreness, encourage muscle growth, and prevent protein breakdown. They are comprised of the essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are are not metabolized to any significant degree by your liver, meaning they are able to make it to your bloodstream intact to be used by your skeletal muscle.
When do you use BCAAs?
• Pre Workout • Post Workout • During Training
The best time to take BCAAs are before or during workouts to promote muscle building and prevent muscle loss. Another good time to use is as a meal replacement if you are trying to lose weight.
Why use BCAA supplements?
BCAAs are one of the more widely studied sports nutrition supplements. It’s popularity has continued to grow as more athletes are realizing the benefits. Whey protein naturally has only 20-23% total BCAAs per gram. As a result athletes are turning to high quality BCAA supplements to increase their intake.
BCAAs role in athletics has been widely studied in relation to sparing muscle mass while dieting, improving immune system function, limiting fatigue, and promoting protein synthesis. We’ll be taking a look of the few highlights of BCAA benefits.
Staff writers hard at work
During workouts our body uses amino acids in our muscles for output. Replenishing the amino’s being used increases your performance, resulting in a reduction of fatigue and increased endurance in athletes. Amino enriched shakes increase muscle protein synthesis by a whole 30%. (Wolfe, 2018). The primary function of muscle protein synthesis is to help repair and build new muscle tissue. While you’re breaking down your muscles you’re also feeding it the nutrients it needs to repair itself.
Not only are BCAA’s physically beneficial they also help with mental performance and clarity. There were mental tests taken of two groups of marathon athletes, a group that BCAA’s were given during race, and a placebo group. Subjects that were given the BCAA’s improved their scores while the placebo group were similar before and after the race. (Blomstrand E., 2018)
BCAA’s are a great source of energy too. After your body has depleted its glucose store you can rely on the energy provided by a BCAA shake, giving you close to 40% more energy than having nothing. Studies show that aminos can compete as an energy source with glucose (Tessari P., 2018). So an amino acid shake during your workout or before will give you that extra energy to keep going. Who doesn’t want a secondary energy source?
As an athlete we’re looking at ways to get stronger. Not necessarily getting swole and bulky, but increasing our output. Increasing reps on lifts translates to being better equipped in our competitions. A study in 2009 showed that ingestion of supplements rich in BCAAs over a period of 8 weeks of resistance training increased the 10- rep max in participants bench press and squat (Stoppani., 2018). Taking BCAA’s while working out or 30 minutes before provides your body with the energy and strength to get the most out of your workouts.
It’s a given that if your able to exercise harder and longer than you’ll be able to burn more body fat. But a study in 2011 proved that BCAA supplementation enhanced lipid oxidation in glycogen-depleted subjects (Gualano AB., 2018). Taking BCAA’s between meals, especially on a diet will help keep muscle on and help your body remain in a fat burning state.
Immune System Benefits
Like glutamine, BCAAs are heavily involved in the function of your immune system. In one study of triathletes, BCAAs helped reduce the incidence of infections following a triathlon (6).
Reducing Central Fatigue
BCAAs may also help reduce central fatigue by preventing tryptophan from entering the brain, and keeping serotonin levels incheck. By maintaining BCAA levels high, athletes can perform long without becoming fatigued (7).
So that’s it. We covered the highlights of what BCAAs do as well as the research behind the benefits of supplementing with BCAAs. In future posts we’ll be covering what makes our plant-based BCAAs unique when compared to the traditional BCAAs out on the market.
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1. Tessari P, e., Inchiostro S, Biolo G, Duner E, Nosadini R, Tiengo A and Crepaldi G (2018). Hyperaminoacidaemia reduces insulin-mediated glucose disposal in healthy man. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3910497 [Accessed 15 May 2018].
2. Stoppani, J., Scheett, T., Pena, J., Rudolph, C. and Charlebois, D. (2018). Consuming a supplement containing branched-chain amino acids during a resistance-training program increases lean mass, muscle strength and fat loss. [online] Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Available at: https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-6-S1-P1 [Accessed 15 May 2018].
3. Gualano AB, e., Bozza T, Lopes De Campos P, Roschel H, Dos Santos Costa A, Luiz Marquezi M, Benatti F and Herbert Lancha Junior A (2018). Branched-chain amino acids supplementation enhances exercise capacity and lipid oxidation during endurance exercise after muscle glycogen depletion. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21297567%20 [Accessed 15 May 2018].
4. Blomstrand E, Hassmén P, Ekblom B and Newsholme EA (2018). Administration of branched-chain amino acids during sustained exercise--effects on performance and on plasma concentration of some amino acids. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1748109 [Accessed 15 May 2018].
5. Wolfe, R. (2018). Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?. [online] Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Available at: https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0184-9 [Accessed 15 May 2018].
6. Bassit RA et. al. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation and the immune response of long-distance athletes. Nutrition. (2002) 18(5):376-9.
7. Bloomstrand E. A role for branched-chain amino acids in reducing central fatigue. J Nutr. (2006) 136(2):544S-547S.
If you train, you’re constantly looking for ways to reduce inflammation and joint pain. Up until recently, athletes often over-relied upon Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) like ibuprofen to keep them on the mat. According to Robert Hoffman, MD, chief of rheumatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, “Gastritis, esophageal reflux disease (heartburn), and bleeding ulcers are all problems that can develop from NSAIDs.”
Two groups were randomly given either curcumin extracts or ibuprofen. At the end of 4 weeks, the results showed that curcumin was just as effective as ibuprofen for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis, but fewer gastrointestinal problems were reported from the patients who received the curcumin extract compared to the ibuprofen group.
When you combine Turmeric with other natural anti-inflammatory powerhouses like Pomegranate, MSM, and Glucosamine, you can avoid relying on ibuprofen to keep your joints feeling 100.
Your stomach will thank you later.
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Daily, J W, et al. “Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.” Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 19 Aug. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27533649.
Kuptniratsaikul, V, et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Curcuma Domestica Extracts Compared with Ibuprofen in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: a Multicenter Study.” Efficacy and Safety of Curcuma Domestica Extracts Compared with Ibuprofen in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: a Multicenter Study., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 Mar. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/196787802.
Omega-3’s have been making a lot of headlines lately. In 2012, close to 19 million Americans supplemented with Fish Oil, making it the number one natural supplement (1). When it comes to supporting your joints, cardiovascular and cognitive health, nothing compares to Omega-3’s. In fact, The Journal of Clinical Lipidology lists Omega-3’s as one of the main dietary factors for preventable early mortality.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating at least 8 ounces of fatty fish a week to get your recommended amount of Omega-3’s. But according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 2003-2008, only 1 out of 5 Americans consumed enough Omega-3’s.
What exactly are Omega-3s?
Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids, meaning your body can’t produce them, found in a wide variety of foods. However, the most beneficial forms are Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) found in fatty fish. Previously, athletes supplemented with fish oils that were derived from cold water oily fish: salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. Lately, a lot of athletes have been choosing to supplement with Krill Oil instead.
Why Krill Oil?
Just like Fish Oil, Krill is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. The shorter lifespans of krill lessen the potential for mercury contamination, PCBs, and other toxins, unlike the longer lifespans of fish which increases the risk of contamination. When comparing Krill Oil to Fish Oil, there are a bunch of other reasons why you’d choose Krill Oil over Fish Oil:
Krill Oil omega-3’s have a greater bioavailability than fish oil because they are attached to phospholipids which makes it easier for the small intestines to absorb.
Krill Oil’s variety of DHA is preferred by your brain.
Krill Oil contains a unique antioxidant Astaxanthin, which is not found in fish oil.
Krill Oil is sourced from the Southern Hemisphere, a pristine environment, ensuring less potential of toxins and contamination.
Fish Oil is heavily processed via Molecular Distillation to remove pollutants like mercury and alters composition into an ethyl ester form which are less bioavailable.
Krill Oil is a more sustainable source than Fish Oil
Is Krill Oil sustainable?
Antarctic Krill, Euphausia superba, are tiny crustaceans found in the Antarctic Ocean. They make up an estimated biomass of around 379 million tonnes, more than the biomass global population of humans, and are viewed as a one of the most sustainable sources of fishing.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) manages the krill Antarctic fisheries and has set a limit of a sustainable harvest at 5.6 million tonnes annually. However, the CCAMLR has a set “trigger” level of 620,000 tonnes that represents approximately 1% of the estimated 60 million tonnes of krill in this region as a precautionary level.
Current krill fishing is far below the limit, around 200,000 tonnes and about .02 percent of the total biomass, less than half of the trigger level. Because of the abundance of Krill, and the tight management of fisheries, Krill is viewed as a more sustainable resource than fish oil.
Don't take our word for it
Listen to Dr. Rhonda Patrick discuss the differences between Krill Oil and Fish Oil in terms of bioavailability and transport into different cells.
Finally, here's an infographic with all the highlights showcasing the differences between these two supplements.
3. Danaei G, Ding EL, Mozaffarian D, Taylor B, Rehm J, Murray CJL, et al. (2009) The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors. PLoS Med 6(4): e1000058. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000058
4. Harris, W. S., Tintle, N. L., Etherton, M. R., & Vasan, R. S. (2018). Erythrocyte long-chain omega-3 fatty acid levels are inversely associated with mortality and with incident cardiovascular disease: The Framingham Heart Study. Journal of Clinical Lipidology. doi:10.1016/j.jacl.2018.02.010
5. Papanikolaou Y, Brooks J, Reider C, Fulgoni VL. U.S. adults are not meeting recommended levels for fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake: results of an analysis using observational data from NHANES 2003–2008. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:31. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-31.
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"Fatigue makes cowards of us all" - Vince Lombardi. Get our 4 week conditioning program emailed to your inbox. Sign up below through Facebook Messenger. Grappling arts such as wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Judo are notoriously grueling. Our 4 week program is a scientifically backed program used by our sponsored Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes proven to increase your conditioning. We accomplish this by targeting both your anaerobic as well as your aerobic system. By emphasizing your aerobic system, you'll have a solid foundation to build your conditioning off of. Check it out below.
"How's it going? Just ordered my first few products last week. Was wondering what you guys recommend if I'm trying to gain lean muscle a little as well. Mahaloz"
[ ATH ]
What's up Dylan, gaining muscle is primarily two components = heavy weights + extra calories. They key to gaining muscle without gaining excess fat is monitoring your caloric intake. (Note: you're gonna gain a small amount of body fat whenever bulking -- just don't let it get out of control). If you're taking too many calories in, you're gonna start gaining fat. Most athletes can only gain about 1lb of muscle mass a week, at most.
Each pound = 3500 calories. So if you divide that by 7, that's 500 calories extra a day over your maintenance level that you need to take in.
When you first step on the mats, you quickly realize how exhausting grappling arts are. One of the most common questions you hear is, 'What can I do to improve my conditioning?'
1. ROLL MORE
What's the best exercise to improve my conditioning? I can hear you say, "Roll more!"
True, rolling more will help you become more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. It will also teach you to relax when you need to rest and how to tighten up when you need to explode. By rolling more, you'll also learn to manage your gas tank which is often the most understated part of the game. But what else can you do to improve your conditioning? and is just rolling the most efficient way to improve your conditioning?
2. DRILLING VIA TABATA INTERVALS
Of course by rolling more you'll be more comfortable on the mat and also improve your physical conditioning at the same time. But taking it a step further and adding in drilling via the form of Tabata intervals is one of our favorite ways to improve my physical conditioning for BJJ.
Tabata intervals are basically high intensity intervals that were first made popular by Professor Izumi Tabata while training Olympic speed skaters. The template calls for 20-30 seconds of work (depending on the drill) and 10 second rests for 5-8 sets with one minute of rest in between sets. The best way to do this is to pick a high intensity drill, like Toreando guard passing, takedowns, etc, and switching off with a partner.
3. IMPROVE YOUR STRENGTH
The number three answer is to improve your strength. As Pavel Tsatsouline says, "Strength First." The stronger you are, the less exertion required. Steve Maxwell, one of Pavel's students of the Kettlebell preaches 3-5 sets of 3-5 repetitions of big compound movements.
I can hear the nay sayers saying, "I don't want to be too bulky!" A protocol such as above will improve your strength, while minimizing muscle growth, which is important for weight class sports like BJJ. Ie: You want to be as strong as possible, but still remain in the same weight class. When it comes to muscle endurance, an example you can think of is this: If your one rep max is 225 on bench press, how many times do you think you could press 185? Now, imagine what if your one rep max is 315?
Number four is to improve your aerobic conditioning. You'll naturally get a lot of anaerobic training in by rolling more, but aerobic conditioning is less taxing on the body and can be beneficial for your recovery. It can also be thought of as the foundation of your energy systems and improve your resting heart rate.
The last thing you want to do is have your training outside of jiu jitsu take away from your actual training. Adding in one or two 20 minute aerobic sessions in your targeted heart range can improve your conditioning while not taking away from your skill training. We personally like Phil Maffetone's take on heart rate training which describes how you can find your targeted heart rate by subtracting your age from 180 and modifying the number based upon your health & fitness profile.
We go more in depth about specific training in our free 4 week Conditioning for BJJ PDF. Click the button below to have it emailed to you.
Finally, a bonus exercise that you can do to improve your conditioning is by practicing your breathing. While drilling (& training), focus on exhaling throughout the movements with your lips 'pursed'. You should try to keep a normal inhale through your nose as much as possible. Avoid holding your breath when drilling. Breathing using pursed lips increases the back pressure in your airways which allows them to stay open during exhalation. It also calms you down and slows your breathing. The more you pay attention to your breathing, the more you'll realize that you were probably holding your breath a lot.
Bonus, bonus, exercise: This is a drill I learned from Relson Gracie - roll with a mouth full of water. This will make you focus on breathing through your nose and will help you stay relaxed during your training. At the end of the round, spit out the water into the grass. If you're spazzing out, you'll struggle holding water in your mouth.
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