Citrus Fruits & Muscle Fatigue – An Athletic Advantage

Citrus Fruits & Muscle Fatigue - An Athletic Advantage

You’re training hard, but suddenly, with one rep to go, your muscles give up.

You can see the finish line but owch, the burn is real!

Muscle fatigue can be crippling for athletes and severely impact performance.

But, did you know that citrus fruits could help to delay the onset and duration of muscle fatigue? Helping you, to train harder, for longer.

Read on to find out how…

The Bodies Main Energy Systems

The body has two primary energy systems, aerobic (meaning with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen).

Aerobic energy production is the bodies preferred and most efficient method of energy conversion, which is why our breathing rate increases as we exercise.

During strenuous exercise, the body can require energy faster than oxygen can be delivered to the muscles.

Without oxygen, the body must turn to anaerobic energy production to meet its needs.

Anaerobic Energy Production & Muscle Fatigue

During the production of energy without oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis), glucose and glycogen are broken down to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and pyruvic acid.

If oxygen is available, pyruvic acid is used in aerobic respiration.

However, if oxygen is not available, pyruvic acid is converted into the well known, lactic acid.

Despite common belief, it is not lactic acid, but the next step in the cycle, that creates the dreaded muscle fatigue.

Without oxygen, lactic acid can very quickly dissociate into hydrogen ions and lactate.

During strenuous exercise (aka Beast Mode), anaerobic glycolysis can only continue for up to three minutes; during which, the hydrogen ions and lactate can accumulate to alarmingly high levels.

The hydrogen ions increase the acidity of the muscle cells which can cause muscle fatigue and pain, forcing you to stop exercising (1).

Reduce Muscle Fatigue with Citrus Fruits

If we train regularly, we can increase the number of blood vessels within our muscles; which in turn, can help the body to clean out the metabolic byproducts and reduce muscle fatigue.

Moreover, if we train and increase our intake of citrus fruits, we can clear the metabolic byproducts, decrease blood lactate concentration, and improve our anaerobic threshold. (2) (3)

Studies show that ingestion of citric acid before exercise could further reduce the bodies blood lactate concentration by as much 10%!

Such a reduction can lead to an improvement in physical performance due to lowered muscle fatigue. (3)

Knowingly, or unknowingly, this is the reason for orange segments at halftime!

If you would like a health fuelled athletic edge when exercising why not try it for yourself?

Remember, the whole fruit is always a better option than fruit juice as it contains the fibre, which can help to slow the rate of sugar absorption.

Citrus fruits that can reduce muscle fatigue include oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, pineapples, passion fruits, lemons and limes.

Let us know if you feel the positive citrus effect by leaving a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, I would love if you could share it via your favourite social media channel. It helps to support my work so I can continue to produce more free content!


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    • Kathryn
      25/11/2016 / 7:33 AM

      Thanks Lucy! So happy you enjoy my posts. Peace and positive vibes, Kate

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