In any competitive sport, finding ways to fuel your gains and boost your performance is critical for success. This is as true for swimmers as it is for anyone else; as you motor down your lane during a race, the last thing you want is to find that your opponents are outpacing you because they trained harder or more effectively. Fitness supplements are one tool many swimmers and other athletes use to improve performance in the pool, at the gym, or on the field, but identifying what supplement is right for you can be tough. For instance, amino acid supplements are a newer, more advanced form of fitness supplement that has gained quite a following in recent years, but are amino acids and BCAA supplements good for swimmers? To find out, keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain.
Amino Acid Supplements vs. Protein Supplements for Swimmers
Anyone with an interest in fitness or athleticism is probably familiar with protein-based supplements. These products have long been a mainstay in many a fitness supplement regimen, and they’ve helped athletes of every stripe gain an edge over the competition. However, thanks to advances made in recent decades, a more refined supplement has emerged to challenge the supremacy of traditional protein shakes and powders: amino acid supplements made with BCAAs.
Basics of BCAAs
Those who had a biology class in high school or college may recall that amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different varieties of amino acid that our bodies need to survive, though we can produce 11 of those internally; the others – called the “essential” amino acids – must be obtained from supplements or food. Among these essential compounds is a group of three amino acids with a distinctive shape and an outsize role in supporting athletic performance: the branched-chain amino acids, more commonly known as BCAAs.
Many protein supplements offer these BCAAs in one form or another, including the ubiquitous whey protein found on many store shelves; however, amino acid supplements provide a number of advantages not found in traditional protein-based products.
BCAAs vs. Protein
For one thing, when you drink a protein shake, your body must break the peptide bonds between the amino acids contained in those proteins via digestion before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream and sent along to the muscles. BCAA supplements, on the other hand, are made from free-form amino acids, meaning that they’re not joined together by bonds like the amino acids found in whole proteins. For this reason, amino acid supplements require far less digestion than conventional protein supplements, allowing them to take effect up to three times faster than whey.
The second major advantage amino acid supplements have is that they’re much leaner than a regular protein shake. Most of these shakes contain excessive amounts of calories and sugar that can undermine health-, fitness-, and weight-related goals, resulting in more fat and less lean muscle. Amino acid supplements like those from aminoVITAL®, however, contain very few calories and (in most cases) no sugar at all; the one exception is our Rapid Recovery post-workout mix, which supplies a small amount of carbs to replenish glycogen in the muscles.
Overall, BCAA supplements are arguably healthier than many common fitness supplements – protein included – making them ideal for swimmers and anyone else looking to get stronger, faster, and more fit.
Benefits of BCAA Supplements for Swimmers
The three BCAAs – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – have drawn significant attention in recent years for the many benefits they can offer athletes, including swimmers. Below, you’ll find more about what each amino acid does and how those functions support your performance in the pool.
- Leucine – As the branched-chain amino acid that’s been most widely studied, there is significant evidence1 supporting the many benefits of this BCAA. Leucine is the amino acid responsible for triggering the synthesis of new skeletal muscle, making it essential for anyone looking to increase strength or muscle mass.
- Isoleucine – Despite the similarities in their names, isoleucine is actually quite different than leucine. This amino acid works to facilitate the flow of energy (in the form of glucose) into the muscles during exercise, helping you stay in the pool for longer. Plus, isoleucine helps streamline the body’s recovery process after exercise, so you’ll be ready to do more laps in no time.
- Valine – Though it’s less specialized than the other BCAAs, valine nonetheless plays an important role in supporting athletic performance: This BCAA will help protect your muscles from some of the damage inflicted by exercise, effectively reducing the recovery required after a workout and helping you preserve muscle mass.
While all of the BCAAs offer some excellent benefits, it’s the combination of these compounds that makes for a superior fitness supplement, especially when they’re used in tandem with vitamins and electrolytes. The BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL® also contain other amino acids, such as glutamine – which reduces soreness and promotes recovery – and arginine – which improves circulation – to create a well-rounded supplement that’s good for swimmers.
Lean, Effective Amino Acid Supplements Available Today from aminoVITAL®
Whatever your fitness goals, amino acid supplements like those from aminoVITAL® can help you become faster, leaner, and more competitive in the pool or on the field. Our proprietary blend of amino acids is carefully formulated to provide ideal support for everyone from swimmers and golfers to runners and bodybuilders; try one today and see for yourself that BCAA supplements are superior to conventional protein-based products. Learn more today by visiting the aminoVITAL® website or calling (888) 264-6673.