Even if you’ve been doing it for years, going to the gym is a taxing practice, so it’s no surprise that those who work out want to get the most out of their efforts. Traditionally, the way to improve your muscle-building efforts was to down a protein shake during or after exercise, since the amino acids in popular protein sources like whey are essential building blocks for new muscle tissue. With recent advances in our understanding of fitness supplements and the human body, it’s become apparent that focusing on the amino acids in protein can be a much more efficient way to help with muscle growth, but that prompts the question: What are the best amino acids for muscle building? To find out, keep reading as the amino acid supplement experts at aminoVITAL® share their insight on the topic.
How Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) Help with Muscle Building
If you’ve done even just a cursory dive into the world of amino acid fitness supplements, you’ve almost certainly come across the term “BCAAs” – the abbreviated form of “branched-chain amino acids,” a class of amino acid with powerful muscle-building benefits. This category of compound comprises three particular amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – each of which we’ll look at below.
The first amino acid among the BCAAs is leucine, without a doubt the most popular and thoroughly researched of the three. As it happens, leucine is also the best amino acid for muscle building, thanks to its critical role in the process of muscle protein synthesis (MPS).
Leucine is the amino acid responsible for stimulating MPS, which is how your body builds new muscle tissue in the first place. Normally, the creation of new muscle is balanced by the breakdown of proteins through catabolism, but after you work out – an activity that tends to damage muscle tissue – your body kicks MPS into high gear, not only repairing the damaged areas but also reinforcing them with more muscle tissue; this process is the cornerstone of muscle building.
Leucine further stimulates this process, as studies1 have shown, and its consumption comes with a bonus: The metabolites of leucine – compounds created as the body processes this amino acid – provide similar benefits, especially the compound hydroxy-methylbutyrate (HMB). In addition, using leucine is believed to promote the body’s fat-burning processes, complementing muscle building with a reduction in fat that helps you look even leaner.
Even though they don’t boost muscle building to the same degree as leucine, the other two branched-chain amino acids still have much to offer those looking to get stronger. Isoleucine does actually help to stimulate MPS, but it’s effects are not as powerful as leucine’s, and it excels at another purpose: improving endurance when you work out.
It’s a well-known fact that the harder you push yourself at the gym, the more effective your muscle-building efforts will be. By promoting the flow of glucose (i.e., energy) to the muscles, isoleucine helps fitness fanatics keep pushing themselves harder for longer so they can build bigger muscles more easily.
The third and final BCAA, valine, helps with muscle building in a roundabout way. Consider that the goal of muscle building is to have the greatest possible net positive change in muscle mass as a result of working out.
Rather than increasing the “plus” side of the muscle-building equation, this amino acid reduces the “minus” by helping to guard muscle tissue against damage when you work out. Less damage to muscle means that your existing mass is preserved, so you see a greater increase in muscle mass overall.
When to Take Amino Acids for Building Muscle
Even the best amino acids for muscle building can prove ineffective if you don’t use them properly; it all comes down to timing and the goal of your supplementation. Those who are looking to protect their muscles from damage, improve their energy levels, and fight fatigue may want to consider a pre-workout or mid-workout amino acid supplement, as they are most effective at achieving these goals.
For muscle building, however, the best time to take amino acids is later in the workout process – either right as you finish or right afterward. When you end your workout, your body enters a state in which its focus is repairing and reinforcing the skeletal muscle that was damaged during exercise by building new muscle tissue. Studies2 have shown that MPS occurs at double or even triple the normal rate immediately after intense exercise, so that’s the ideal time window in which to take your post-workout amino acids for muscle building.
Once they enter your system, the BCAAs not only kick-start the production of muscle proteins but also serve as the raw materials for those same cells. And as a bonus, aminoVITAL® post-workout supplements come with a small amount of carbs to restore your body’s glycogen reserves, which helps get you ready for your next workout even faster, along with plenty of electrolytes to help balance hydration. Simply add a packet of our amino acid mix to a bottle of water and give your muscle-building the boost it needs.
Try a Lean and Powerful Amino Acid Supplement for Muscle Building from aminoVITAL®
As one of the most advanced kinds of fitness supplements around, the amino acid supplement has gained widespread popularity, thanks to the many benefits it provides. Try an amino acid supplement from aminoVITAL® today and see how it can improve your gains; visit us online or call (888) 264-6673 to learn more.