As important as it is to work hard when you’re at the gym, equally important is the need for effective recovery afterward. In essence, the body’s recovery process is the payoff after a good workout; it’s the period in which you build bigger, stronger muscles, and it’s necessary if you want to be effective during your next workout. In fact, the importance of muscle repair and recovery is the reason so many people use supplements as part of their exercise regimen. For many gym-goers, this means a protein shake after each workout, as protein has long been the dominant supplement in fitness circles. However, newer, more advanced supplements have begun to gain traction in recent years, including amino acid-based products. Now that you have so many options, you might reasonably ask: What supplements should I take for muscle repair? To find out, keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain.
How Does Muscle Repair Work?
It has long been understood that the harder the workout, the greater the damage to the muscles. This is nothing to worry about, though; the body is resilient and can start the recovery process as soon as you finish exercising. Before we dive into which supplements best facilitate this process, however, let’s discuss the basics of muscle repair.
The process by which the body repairs damage to the muscles is known as muscle protein synthesis (MPS), the counterpart to muscle protein breakdown (MPB). The way it works is relatively simple: When damaged, the muscles begin the process of rebuilding and will continue to do so for several hours at a rate that depends on a variety of factors. The main two variables that affect how well the muscles repair themselves are exercise and nutrition.
Exercise and Muscle Repair
Just as more vigorous exercise leads to greater damage, so too does it trigger more extensive MPS. One study1 showed that exercising at more than 60% intensity can increase rates of muscle growth and repair by as much as two or three times. It’s not all about weight, though; another study2 found that exercising at a lower intensity but doing many more reps could also stimulate the creation of new muscle tissue.
Nutrition and Muscle Repair
The other way to boost the muscle repair process involves providing your body with the resources it needs to create those new tissues. The chief ingredient used to fuel MPS is amino acids, and especially one type: the branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. These are the compounds that not only trigger the MPS process but which are also used to form the cells that ultimately become new muscle. Without an adequate supply of amino acids during the body’s muscle repair processes, the extent of any growth or repair could be limited.
Choosing the Best Muscle Repair Supplement
There are several types of supplements that provide amino acids, but not all of them are created equal. Below, we’ll examine the pros and cons of three sources of BCAAs – protein supplements, amino acid supplements, and basic dietary sources – to help you choose which is the best for muscle repair.
Protein Supplements for Muscle Repair
By far the most commonplace type of fitness supplement, protein shakes and powders are frequently used after workouts to improve gains and aid recovery. Most protein supplements are based on a “complete” source of protein, meaning one that offers all nine essential amino acids (including the three BCAAs). Despite their effectiveness, however, protein-based products tend to suffer from two main drawbacks: they’re often high in calories and sugar, and they take time to kick in.
Amino Acid Supplements for Muscle Repair
Like most protein powders and shakes, amino acid supplements can supply all the compounds necessary to power the body’s muscle repair processes, but they do so in a leaner, more efficient way. The free-form BCAAs found in amino acid supplements don’t require the same amount of digestion as whole proteins, thanks to the fact that they’re not joined by peptide bonds that need to be broken down. This allows amino acids to take effect as much as three times faster than whey, a common source of protein in supplements. Plus, amino acid supplements tend to have far fewer calories and grams of sugar; the Action mid-workout mix from aminoVITAL®, for example, has only 15 calories and no sugar to speak of.
Diet and Muscle Repair
It’s a simple fact that BCAAs are readily available in foods, namely those rich in protein. For those living a largely sedentary life, these BCAAs are probably enough to maintain the muscles, but those who exercise regularly will likely need more than what they can find in food. In addition, the time window in which BCAAs can help with MPS is limited, and the idea that a person could prepare, eat, and digest a meal within that timeframe is implausible at best.
Fast, Effective BCAA Supplements for Muscle Repair Available from aminoVITAL®
When deciding on the best post-workout fitness supplement to help with muscle repair, remember that amino acids are faster and leaner than protein supplements while providing the same gains-boosting benefits you’ve come to expect from your supplements. For those seeking pre- or mid-workout benefits, such as improved energy or reduced fatigue, know that aminoVITAL® has products designed with those advantages in mind as well. To learn more about these advanced fitness supplements, visit aminoVITAL® online or call (888) 264-6673 today.