Amino Acid Supplements
Many athletes supplement with amino acids – but do you know what they are and what they can do for you?
Amino acids are the building blocks of muscles – they are nutrients that are found in proteins, and without them you cannot build or maintain muscle. There are twenty amino acids, and athletes are interested in them because of their ability to help in building muscle, increasing stamina, and recovering from fatigue.
The most important amino acids for athletes are what are called BCAAs – Branch Chain Amino Acids. Humans cannot survive without BCAAs, but athletes in particular need them because of their role in the maintenance of muscle tissue and preservation of glycogen in the muscles. They also help prevent muscle protein breakdown during exercise.
It’s perfectly possible to maintain appropriate levels of BCAAs if you eat a healthy balanced diet, but athletes have different needs from the general population. When you exercise hard your body depletes the proteins in your muscles. By supplementing your levels of amino acids before or after your workouts you can reduce muscle damage and preserve muscle strength, essential for any athlete.
The role of amino acids in recovery is essential, which is why you will find so many post workout supplements containing amino acids. By replenishing them immediately after a workout, you can help to repair damaged muscles and reduce muscle soreness.
Many people associate this type of supplement only with strength athletes, but these essential proteins are not just for those looking to build muscles – they also have a key role to play for endurance athletes. Because they suppress the production of lactic acid, the principal fatigue-causing substance, they allow athletes to train longer and harder.
In addition, hard endurance workouts – whether it is a long run, or a tough interval session – will also cause muscle breakdown. Replenishing the BCAAs after these workouts will speed recovery, ensuring that you are ready to go again the next day.
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