What is lactic acid and how can you neutralise it in your muscles?

Lactic acid 'burn' – ouch! Whether it's in the gym, running or playing sport – no doubt you've felt the impact of this infamous substance, which has a big reputation as something that causes painful muscle fatigue. However, what is lactic acid, why is it produced and how can you neutralise it in your muscles?


When you pump-out reps in the gym, or run up a steep hill, your muscles' glycotic system kicks into gear – generating energy from the breakdown of carbohydrates. The result is a host of metabolic by-products – including lactic acid. However, scientists now believe that it's not specifically the lactate that causes muscle pain – instead, it's the hydrogen ions that are produced when the compound is broken down.

Crazy as it sounds, if you're well trained then lactic acid can be used as a performance boosting substance, because the body becomes efficient at burning it with oxygen to generate extra energy.


While lactic acid itself may not be responsible for muscle burn and fatigue – its metabolites certainly are! Follow these strategies to enhance your fatigue neutralising power:

1. Training intensity > To boost your capacity to tolerate muscle toxins and metabolise lactic acid into energy, you'll need to train at a level over the lactic-threshold (the level where lactic acid starts causing discomfort). Excellent examples are sprints, maximum intensity interval training, circuit training and weights sets with less than 60 second's rest. It's tough – but it burns fat like nothing else!

2. Workout primer > Taking a pre/intra workout that contains arginine (AMINO INTRA RIPPEDCORE™/X-PLODE RIPPEDCORE™) will help to regulate levels of fatigue promoting ammonia. They also contain caffeine to reduce perceived exertion, which can help fight the lactic

3, Creatine > Some preliminary studies have associated creatine with reducing the impact of lactic acid production by linking-up with those pain producing hydrogen ions. What's known for sure is that creatine definitely enhances resistance to fatigue during high intensity training.

Lactic acid is friend and foe to the serious trainer – don't let it take you down!

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