Using supplements to increase your returns after working out is a time-honored tradition that has helped many a fitness fanatic sculpt the body of their dreams. Even casual gymgoers appreciate the benefits of a good protein shake, part of why supplements are such a big industry. A new product that only recently began earning praise is the amino acid supplement, essentially a refined version of the protein powders with which we’re all familiar. As with any new product, and especially supplements, a new user will probably wonder about the best way to utilize amino acids; for example, should you take amino acids when you work out? Keep reading to find out the answer.
The Benefits of Amino Acid Supplements
For those who may not recall their sophomore biology class, amino acids are chemical compounds that serve as the building blocks of protein. They are also used by the body to create everything from enzymes and neurotransmitters to muscle cells and other types of new tissue, plus they play a role in athletic performance as well. Amino acids are the reason you drink protein shakes, though protein takes longer for your body to digest than amino acids do.
Of the nine “essential” amino acids out there – the ones your body can’t create and must get from food or supplements – three are particularly helpful for improving performance and promoting greater gains as the days and weeks pass. These are the branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, a classification that encompasses leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The benefits of these amino acids vary from compound to compound; you can find a description of each below:
- Leucine is responsible for triggering muscle synthesis, leading to the creation of new muscle tissue and making you stronger in the process.
- Isoleucine is more endurance-focused; it helps you maintain your energy levels and speeds up your recovery after exercise.
- Valine plays a supporting role among the BCAAs. It works to protect your muscle tissue against damaging enzymes and helps regulate the immune system.
The benefits of an amino acid supplement extend well beyond the effects of each individual compound. Together, these components have several advantages that other types of supplements can’t match. For instance, BCAAs have shown to boost the body’s fat-burning processes and regulate blood sugar levels, and they also help to reduce post-workout soreness.
Another advantage offered by amino acid supplements is that they tend to have a much leaner nutritional profile than most protein shakes. It’s not uncommon for a protein mix to contain as much as 20 grams of sugar per serving, not to mention hundreds of excess calories; by comparison, amino acid supplements from aminoVITAL have only 15 calories, and they’re sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. For those who want to retain control over their diet and still fuel their muscles, an amino acid supplement is just the thing.
Taking Amino Acid Supplements During a Workout
As mentioned above, the protein found in common powders and shakes takes time for your body to process; amino acids manage to avoid this delay. Proteins must be broken up to get to the amino acids they contain; because an amino acid supplement provides free-form versions of these compounds, they are already in a form that your body can use. All you have to do is take the supplement, and the amino acids will go to work almost immediately.
The speedy bioavailability of amino acids makes them uniquely suited for mid-workout use. Drinking an amino acid mix for during a workout – or even just pouring the powder on your tongue, in some cases – will provide your muscles with the fuel they need exactly when they need it. This is helpful for refueling in the middle of a race or toward the end of a grueling workout routine, but the benefits come from more than speed.
As your muscles work, they use up the BCAAs in your bloodstream. This increases the degree to which tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin, is able to enter the brain; the entrances into the brain are limited, and without your normal level of BCAAs, tryptophan simply has less competition for those spots. Once it crosses the blood-brain barrier, tryptophan is converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to feelings of fatigue and a lack of motivation.
To combat this, all you need to do is replenish the BCAAs in your body as you use them; this maintains the balance between BCAAs and tryptophan in your system and keeps serotonin levels in their place. The effect of this balance is that you don’t tire out as quickly while exercising, making it that much easier to keep pushing your limits.
Raise the Intensity of Your Workouts with an Amino Acid Supplement from aminoVITAL
With so many products on the market, each promising fast results and unbelievable gains, it can be tough to figure out what works and what doesn’t. At aminoVITAL, we strive to keep things simple, so you know exactly what you’re getting with our products. Each product contains only the essentials – amino acids to fuel your muscles and electrolytes to provide balanced hydration. If you or someone you know is looking for a new, no-frills pre-workout drink mix or post-workout product that can boost performance without padding your diet with unnecessary calories, give a supplement from aminoVITAL a try. Learn more about all of our products by visiting us online or calling (888) 264-6673 today.