Getting yourself in shape for a triathlon is grueling work. While there are many people who run, bike, or swim to stay in shape, combining these disparate activities into one long race forces competitors to put themselves through rigorous training routines, which can take many forms. Whatever exercises you do or philosophies you subscribe to, however, the odds are good that you use some type of fitness supplement to improve gains, speed recovery, and generally support your body during this trying time. For many triathletes, these supplements involve consuming some form of protein shake or powder – an old standby for anyone focused on fitness over the last few decades – but today, there is another option, one that can help those training for a triathlon to further improve the results of their efforts: amino acid supplements. To learn more about what role amino acids play in triathlon training and what advantages they offer over traditional protein supplements, keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain.
Benefits of Amino Acid Supplements for Triathlon Training
Because they’re so new, amino acid supplements are still a relative unknown to many fitness-oriented people, including those training for triathlons. For this group, we’ll cover the basics of amino acids here, then get into how they help triathletes in particular.
Of the many amino acids that exist, there are 20 that our bodies need to create the proteins that keep us alive. These are called the proteinogenic amino acids, and they’re broken into two groups; the 11 “nonessential” amino acids can be produced within the body, mainly from glucose, while the nine “essential” amino acids have to be obtained through foods or supplements.
If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there’s a subgroup of essential amino acids that have long been a part of supporting muscle performance, albeit in a roundabout way: These are the “branched-chain” amino acids, so called for their unique shape, and they include the compounds leucine, isoleucine, and arginine. Below, you’ll find a more detailed examination of what each of these amino acids do and how they benefit triathlon training.
The big brother of the BCAAs, leucine is an amino acid with an incredibly important role in the body, especially for those training for a triathlon. This compound is responsible for telling the body to produce more skeletal muscle, giving you bigger arms and stronger legs in the process, and its metabolites (compounds produced when our bodies process leucine) can even protect muscles from being damaged. For these reasons, leucine is sought after by everyone from bodybuilders to casual gym-goers, and those same benefits should appeal to triathletes as well.
The second BCAA has little in common with leucine, despite the similarities in their names, but it’s no less important for amino acid supplements. Isoleucine is the BCAA that supports endurance over long periods of intense exertion, such as if you’re training for, or competing in, a triathlon. It does this by promoting the flow of glucose (the body’s main form of fuel) to muscle cells, then helping those cells process the glucose to get energy. As an added bonus, isoleucine is also used to improve the body’s post-workout recovery process.
This BCAA supports the body in a number of ways, including by regulating the immune system and cognitive processes, but its primary benefit for exercise is that it helps protect the muscles against excessive damage brought on by exercise. Normally, the muscles develop tiny tears when you work out, which then have to be repaired; valine works to limit that damage, so there’s less to repair, and your existing muscle mass is preserved.
Amino Acids vs. Protein Supplements
In truth, the amino acids listed above are all present in most protein supplements, but taking them as part of an amino acid supplement instead brings several major advantages. For one thing, the effects of a protein shake take time to kick in, largely because the body has to work to digest those proteins, breaking the peptide bonds between their amino acids so those compounds can be used. An amino acid supplement like those from aminoVITAL®, on the other hand, contain free-form amino acids that are just about ready for absorption as-is, so they require very little digestion and take effect much more quickly.
Amino acid supplements tend to be leaner as well. If you take a look at the nutrition label on many of the most popular protein shakes and powders, you’ll likely see a significant number of calories and quite a few grams of sugar – two things that could potentially undermine your triathlon training regimen. By comparison, BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL® contain almost no calories or protein; our Action intra-workout mix, for example, has only 15 calories and a single gram of carbs. That’s because amino acid supplements from aminoVITAL® focus on providing only those ingredients essential to improving performance – amino acids, vitamins, electrolytes, and (in the case of our Rapid Recovery mix) a small amount of carbs.
Fast, Effective Amino Acid Supplements for Triathlon Training
If you’re working toward your next triathlon, marathon, or any other competitive event that requires extensive training, consider an amino acid supplement from aminoVITAL®. Our products are carefully formulated to support muscle health and performance so you can push yourself harder for longer while kick-starting the recovery process and increasing gains. To find out more about these fast, effective supplements and what they can do for your triathlon training regimen, visit aminoVITAL® online or call (888) 264-6673 today.