Amino acids and muscle growth go hand in hand. Aminos enhance workout performance, promote muscle recovery, and build strength.
The benefits of protein for muscle growth are well known, but the amino acids are what actually perform the real work. The body breaks down protein to form amino acids, making them a usable form for muscles to use. Your body wouldn’t be able to function without these nutrients.
Because amino acids are so critical, they are added to many exercise supplements such as pre workout powders and post workout protein powders to increase muscle performance and growth.
Amino Acids and Muscle Growth – How They Work
You may have heard before that amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
Protein, the primary energy nutrient behind muscle function is comprised of amino acids. These are the basic molecules that put all of this into action.
When your body breaks down proteins for energy and tissue repair they are left with organic amino acids. The number of amino acids that are synthesized from protein depend on your body’s needs at the time.
When needed (brought on by exercise), they are distributed through the bloodstream to whichever part of your body requires them the most. This goes for every body part including muscle tissue, the liver, and the stomach.
The remaining proteins will be converted to glucose and burned as energy, or will be converted to fat or glycogen for storage.
Exercise causes your muscle tissue to be more receptive to nutrients, resulting in a more efficient uptake. Through many chemical processes, the amino acids take form for optimal use in your muscle tissue.
During and after exercise is the best window of opportunity for faster muscle growth and stronger recovery.
Types of Amino Acids
Amino acids are differentiated into two categories, Essential Amino Acids and Non-Essential Amino Acids.
Both of these are contained in muscle building supplements and work for not only muscle growth but also preventing fatigue and improve concentration. They are also important for healthy hair, nails, and skin.
Essential Amino Acids
These include: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
These are the Amino Acids that must be obtained in your diet by eating high protein foods. Animal products contain the most concentrated amounts.
BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids) are included in this category. Since your body can’t make these types of aminos, you will hear about these when looking at exercise supplements.
Non-Essential Amino Acids
These include: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
Non-essential Amino Acids are synthesized in the body on a regular basis. We can also get more with the food we eat and through supplements.
If you have any questions or comments regarding Amino Acids, please leave a message in the box at the bottom.
Amino Acids in Pre Workout Supplements
Pre workouts are packed with amino acids, and taking these before exercise has many benefits such as increasing muscle performance and providing longer endurance. I’m going to list just a few key aminos found in pre workout supplements.
The amino Beta Alanine, increases the amount of high intensity work you can do while also preventing fatigue.
Beta-Alanine is also critical for improving athletic performance, increasing exercise capacity, and helping to build lean muscle mass. This is the Amino that sometimes will give you that tingling feeling in your head.
This is another important amino that synthesizes into a very effective product called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide works as a vasodilator to enhance blood flow.
When this happens, it brings more oxygen, hydration, and nutrients to your muscles faster for additional strength and recovery time between exercises.
N-Acetyl and L-Tyrosine
These two of the Amino Acids help to support cognitive and mental health when performing stressful activities such as exercise.
N-Acetyl enhances performance and can reduce soreness from acute, repeated sprints and high-intensity exercise They can also be used as antioxidants to increase muscle performance.
These are examples of just a few amino acids found in pre workouts that can really increase your muscle energy, strength and all around athletic performance.
Intra Workout Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
Intra workout supplements are comprised of Branch Chain Amino Acids along with vitamins and minerals. Many athletes consume intra workout drinks during exercise to stay hydrated, fresh, and to keep their muscles from fatiguing.
BCAA’s are comprised of three essential amino acids, isoleucine, leucine, and valine. These aminos fight fatigue, regulate insulin levels, and preserve muscle mass.
During exercise is a critical time to drink your Intra workout BCAA’s. They are important to replenish nutrients since the body loses and burns through more of these at this time than any other.
Feeding these muscles when they are most receptive leads to muscle growth and hydration.
If you can replenish nutrients and stay hydrated, this will keep you alert and fighting fatigue in order to finish strong. They help you stay focused so you can keep performing at a high level for continuous recovery.
Water alone will not provide the nutrients necessary for hydration.
Amino Acids in Post Workout Protein Powders
When you exercise, the muscle fibers are broken down in this process and must repair themselves fully. This is the process that enables muscles to grow back larger and stronger than before.
Without an after workout Protein Powder Supplement, your muscles won’t have the proper aminos to rebuild and repair. That’s why this is the critical time for aminos to get the maximum muscle growth.
In order to do this, muscles require amino acid proteins afterward. Your body is ready for peak absorption of these nutrients at this time.
A good protein powder contains all 21 of the essential amino acids required for muscle recovery.
They are to be taken within an hour or two of your workout, and it takes several hours after consumption to get the aminos into your muscles.
Protein powders are very high in protein and low in calories, making this a very nutritious supplement. They are many manufactured from dairy products such as whey and casein or come from vegan plant based sources.
Keep in mind that taking protein powder is never quite as healthy as eating a well balanced, high protein meal. Unfortunately, many of us don’t always have the time for this.
Amino Acid and Muscle Growth Conclusion
Amino acid proteins are needed to run almost everything in the body from muscles and organs to brain functions.
The most important function when exercising is their ability to repair the muscle tissue damage caused by working out. With the help of amino acids, this results in optimal muscle growth. This way they can grow bigger and stronger.
Some aminos are manufactured in your body (non-essential) while others must be obtained through food or supplements (essential).
It is recommended to consume additional amino acids for an active lifestyle. They are most essential for high intensity exercise such as weight lifting and Cross-fit, but aminos are also necessary for most types of Cardio and for Running.
If you have any questions or comments about amino acids and muscle growth, please leave a comment below and I will respond.