There’s no denying that keeping up with an exercise routine is hard work. Those who prioritize their own fitness put all kinds of strain on themselves for the sake of sculpting a stronger, healthier body – strain that’s most evident in the effects of exercise on muscle tissue. When we work out, our muscles are damaged, torn and broken down in a bid to make them stronger, but that’s only half the equation. Once the damage is done and the weights are set down, our bodies must begin the process of recovery, healing the microscopic tears in our muscles and replenishing the resources we use when we exercise in preparation for the next workout. One type of resource our bodies need to recover from bouts of physical activity is amino acids, the constituent elements of protein; below, we’ll explore why and how you should use amino acids, and especially BCAAs, to help your muscles bounce back after exercise. Keep reading to learn more.
Effects of Exercise on Muscle Tissue
If you live an active lifestyle, you’re probably familiar with the “burn” people feel when they push themselves during exercise. It’s a bittersweet sensation – painful, but a sign of muscles slowly being earned through rep after rep or lap after lap. This soreness is a sign of something else, though: the damage being done to your muscles as you work out.
As our muscles expand and contract during exercise, the tension inflicts structural damage on the fibers. While this may sound alarming, it’s a perfectly natural part of building new muscles; once your body experiences this damage, it adapts by improving those muscles, making them stronger and more durable. In many ways, this recovery is at the heart of fitness, since the less effective the healing process is, the slower a person’s level of fitness will improve.
How Muscles Recover After Exercise
Once you finish your workout, it is imperative to provide your body with the resources it needs to repair the damage that was inflicted on your muscle fibers. This is the reason why so many gym-goers down protein shakes after each workout: protein powders and shakes contain compounds – amino acids, more specifically – that are necessary for the creation of new muscle and the preservation of existing tissue.
These amino acids are used for a variety of purposes. For starters, they serve as the construction materials for new muscle cells; amino acids also tell your body that it’s time to start producing muscle tissue. Because amino acids both kick-start the recovery process and provide the ingredients to make new tissue, they are essential for repairing your body after intense physical activity, and they can help reduce soreness as well.
One other nutrient that plays a key role in recovery is carbohydrates. Though they don’t get nearly as much attention as protein, carbs make for a much better energy source both during and after exercise. This is partly because carbs are more readily used by the body compared to protein, but it’s mostly because carbs are used to make glycogen.
For those who are unfamiliar, glycogen is a form of glucose, the body’s main form of energy. Basically, glycogen is what you get when your body stores energy for later use. This compound is kept in the liver and in muscle tissue, and it serves as the primary energy source during exercise. When you work out, your body uses up the glycogen it has stored away to power your muscles and keep you moving; if it runs out of glycogen, performance suffers, and the body is often forced to break down the proteins in muscle tissue for fuel instead – exactly the opposite of what you want, if bigger muscles is your goal. Consuming carbs immediately after exercise can help to refill your glycogen stores, re-energizing the muscles and preventing further damage.
How BCAAs Help with Muscle Recovery
While conventional protein supplements can provide the amino acids you need to rebuild your muscles, they are much less efficient than amino acid supplements. That’s largely because whole proteins must be broken down via digestion before the compounds they contain can be absorbed and used; supplements containing free-form amino acids, on the other hand, are absorbed into the bloodstream almost immediately, so they take effect up to three times faster than whole protein supplements.
When selecting an amino acid supplement, the compounds you want to look for are the three branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The first of these, leucine, is responsible for triggering muscle synthesis – an important step in the post-workout recovery process. Isoleucine helps to promote energy use during exercise, and it reduces the time it takes to recover after each workout; valine supports these processes while helping to protect muscle tissue from excessive damage while active.
High-Quality Amino Acids for Muscle Recovery Available from aminoVITAL®
Finding a post-workout or pre-workout fitness supplement that works for you can be tricky, considering how many options sit on the shelves of drug stores, supermarkets, and supplement shops. If a lean, low-calorie supplement that improves performance during exercise while improving long-term gains sounds like something you might be interested in, check out the products offered by aminoVITAL®. Each supplement from aminoVITAL® is made with the highest-quality amino acids available, courtesy of Ajinomoto – a global leader in the field of amino acid research, development, and production. Try an amino acid supplement today and see for yourself how fast and effective these products can be. Learn more by visiting aminoVITAL® online or calling (888) 264-6673.