Stop Inefficient Training: Nitric Oxide Benefits for Athletes Wall Ball Workout


Stop Inefficient Training: Nitric Oxide Benefits for Athletes Wall Ball Workout

Posted by Ron Slavick on


“It is from the greatest dangers that the greatest glory is to be won.” -Thucydides1

Nitric Oxide (NO) is radically effective for streamlining your workout performance; it’s the stuff that makes your veins jolt. It’s what fuels your inner cellular soul, sparks your mitochondrial output, and fires up your heart like a cornered rhino. It’s the same stuff that jumpstarts WODS: box jumps, kettle swings, rope throws, and AMRAPs. And it doesn’t need to be unhealthy long-term. Nitric Oxide benefits athletes in nearly every field.

Now, just to clarify we are talking about the right thing: Nitric Oxide is not Nitrous Oxide. You would be amazed how confusing the two can be. Nitric Oxide is a very important naturally-occurring signaling molecule in the human body. Let’s talk about Nitric Oxide and how it separates your fitness performance from the rest.

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” ― Thucydides2
As you research the ins and outs about Nitric Oxide, there is some basic parts of the body to understand. Trust me, these quick definitions will help you understand how nitric oxide works within the body and how to pull the performance benefits from it. Take a quick mental note:

Cardiovascular System: Controls vascular tone. Relaxes vascular smooth muscles and reduces blood pressure. Dilates vessels and relieves the pain of angina. Inhibits the aggregation of platelets within the vessels and prevents thrombotic events.

Nervous System: Acts as a neurotransmitter, including in the autonomic nervous system. Increases cerebral blood flow and oxygenation to the brain. One of the important mediators in penile erection during sexual arousal.

Lungs: Dilates pulmonary vessels. Beneficial in Adult Respiratory, Distress Syndrome, Pulmonary hypertension and Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease. Produced in abnormal amounts in inflammatory lung conditions. Concentration of NO in exhaled air can be taken as a marker of airway inflammation.

Gastrointestinal Tract: Regulates the relaxation of smooth muscles. It controls peristalsis and the function of sphincters.

Renal System: Due to its vasodilator effect, increases blood flow to the kidney. Increases the glomerular filtration rate and the production of urine.

Immune System: Modulates T cell-mediated immune response.3

“The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” ― Thucydides4

What is nitric oxide and how does it work? Some people think it’s the gas that makes us laugh at the dentist office. Some think it’s the fuel racecar drivers use to speed up their cars. But it’s neither. Nitric oxide is a molecule that our body produces to help its 50 trillion cells communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body.

The importance of your body’s cellular activity are far-reaching: NO production help memory and behavior by transmitting information between nerve cells in the brain, assist the immune system at fighting off bacteria and defending against tumors, regulate blood pressure by dilating arteries, reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality, increase your recognition of sense (i.e. smell), increase endurance and strength, assist in gastric motility

There have been over 60,000 studies done on nitric oxide in the last 20 years and in 1998, The Nobel Prize for Medicine was given to three scientists that discovered the signaling role of nitric oxide.

We know it is good, but how do you increase NO in a healthy way?

How to increase nitric oxide in your body: The most common way to increase nitric oxide is through exercise. When you run or lift weights, your muscles need more oxygen, which is supplied by the blood. As the heart pumps with more pressure to supply the muscles with blood, the lining in your arteries releases nitric oxide into the blood, which relaxes and widens the vessel wall, allowing for more blood to pass though. As we age, our blood vessels and nitric oxide system become less efficient due to free radical damage, inactivity, and poor diet, causing our veins and arteries to deteriorate. Think of a fire hose as water rushes through it to put out a fire – it needs to expand enough to handle the pressure, still keeping enough force to put out the fire. Athletes and youth have the most optimal nitric oxide systems, reflecting their energy and resilience.

Another way to increase nitric oxide is through diet, most notably by consuming the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline. Arginine, which can be found in nuts, fruits, meats and dairy, directly creates nitric oxide and citrulline inside the cell (diagram 1).(6) Citrulline is then recycled back into arginine, making even more nitric oxide. Enzymes that convert arginine to citrulline, and citrulline to arginine need to function optimally for efficient nitric oxide production. We can protect those enzymes and nitric oxide by consuming healthy foods and antioxidants, like fruit, garlic, soy, vitamins C and E, Co-Q10, and alpha lipoid acid, allowing you to produce more nitric oxide. Nitric oxide only lasts a few seconds in the body, so the more antioxidant protection we provide, the more stable it will be and the longer it will last. Doctors are utilizing this science by coating stents (mesh tubes that prop open arteries after surgery) with drugs that produce nitric oxide.5

Get the full breakdown of foods that promote natural Nitric Oxide production, HERE.

We must remember that one man is much the same as another, and that he is best who is trained in the severest school.” –Thucydides

Nitric oxide for athletes and bodybuilders: Increasing nitric oxide has become the new secret weapon for athletes and bodybuilders. Athletes are now taking supplements with L-arginine and L-citrulline to support the flow of blood and oxygen to the skeletal muscle. They also use them to facilitate the removal of exercise-induced lactic acid build-up, which reduces fatigue and recovery time. Since arginine levels become depleted during exercise, the entire arginine-nitric oxide – citrulline loop can lose efficiency, causing less-than-ideal nitric oxide levels and higher lactate levels. Supplements can help restore this loop allowing for better workouts and faster recovery from workouts.

With nitric oxide deficiencies due to aging, inactivity, smoking, high cholesterol, fatty diets, and lack of healthy foods, increasing your nitric oxide levels can help increase your energy, vitality and overall wellness. The basic adage of eating well and staying active all makes sense now.6

Over 300 Spartan soldiers led the fight against the mighty Persian army–led by Xerxes, an adversary of humanity. -An impossible task. As Crossfit athletes, we’re at war with mediocrity, up in arms against the processed food. It’s a battle hard won with difficult dietary choices. Nitric Oxide production will boost your cellular performance for long-term sustainable gains.


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