If you’re sick and tired of looking weak, flabby, overweight, scrawny, or just generally out of shape, rather than simply complaining and feeling sorry for yourself, how about you actually do something to change the way you look so that you aren’t constantly feeling down and self conscious in various situations? For many people, if given the choice, they would immediately opt for less body fat, and much more lean muscle mass. Well, obviously you can’t snap your fingers and achieve your dream physique overnight, but with the right work ethic, knowledge, motivation, equipment, and nutrition, you can change your physique much quicker than you may have realised. For anybody trying to build muscle, you’ll know right away just how difficult the entire process can be and how frustrating it can be when you hit a plateau, and you WILL hit a plateau at some point during your training, no matter how hard you’re training and pushing yourself in the process. Sometimes when it comes to building muscle, we need a little help from various products and supplements, which is where amino acid supplements come into the mix. Amino acids are molecules which naturally contain nitrogen and are basically the building blocks of protein molecules. As you know, protein is vital when it comes to muscle growth and repair, and so obviously by default, amino acids as also just as vital, if not more so in fact because they also offer various other benefits in the process. Here we’ll be taking a look at 4 of the best amino acids for muscle growth, and exactly what it is that makes each one so unique and beneficial.
This naturally occurring amino acid is found within our very own central nervous systems, as well as within white blood cells, and skeletal muscle in general. It is a very versatile amino acid that has its hands in a number of different pies (metaphorically speaking of course). It helps to promote increases in energy levels, it boosts immunity, it helps regulate blood glucose levels, and perhaps most importantly for this article, it helps to promote increased muscle mass. Bodybuilders are especially impressed with taurine because it naturally acts as a form of cell volumizer, helping to increase their volume which in turn gives the muscles a firmer and fuller look. It also naturally draws nutrients and water into the cells, helping to make them more efficient both whilst working out, and for post-workout recovery. When we finish our workouts, our cells within our muscles are naturally depleted of nutrients and energy, which is why post-workout nutrition is so essential, because without these nutrients, the muscles won’t be able to repair themselves. Taurine helps shuttle more nutrients into the cells, thus boosting post-workout recovery.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are arguably the most popular amino acid supplements amongst bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, and for very good reason as well. BCAAs are comprised of three amino acids: Leucine, Valine, and Isoleucine and have been found to possess a number of muscle building/repairing qualities, when consumed pre, intra, and post-workout. Muscle catabolism (breakdown) is the last thing anybody looking to build muscle will want, yet that is exactly what happens when we push ourselves too hard in the gym and then don’t provide our bodies with enough nutrients required to help initiate new growth and repair. BCAAs are especially popular because they have been proven to initiate, and indeed speed up, protein synthesis within the body, which is where new muscle proteins are synthesised to replace damaged worn out ones. Basically, protein synthesis is when our bodies make use of proteins to help repair and re-grow our muscles following intense workouts, so naturally BCAAs are a great choice for anybody looking to build muscle.
This potent amino acid has been proven to provide a whole host of rejuvenating properties for the body, making it especially beneficial for post-workout recovery, which is when we do pretty much all of our growing. When we lift weights, we’re destroying muscle tissue, it is when we rest that we grow, as long as our bodies have enough of the right materials (nutrients) to begin building new muscle. Ornithine HCL is very much a recovery-based amino acid and it is commonly added to casein protein shakes right before bed to help enhance the recovery and repair process during the night, helping to promote new muscle growth and enhanced repair. Studies have also found that it is, in general, a very healthy amino acid as it greatly boosts natural immunity within the body, helping to protect against illness and disease and promoting overall health and well-being.
Although Leucine is one of three naturally BCAAs, many bodybuilders and athletes will also supplement with leucine by itself as it plays such a vital role in the initiation of protein synthesis within the body. Studies have also found that Leucine can act as a catalyst for protein molecules in general, as they found that protein shakes consumed along with leucine, were far more effective at generating new muscle growth than when they were consumed by themselves. Put simply, leucine allows your body to use more protein that you consume with it, meaning less gets wasted and so obviously you will benefit from having more in your body. Leucine activates a muscle building pathway within the body known as mTOR (Mammalian Target of Rapamycin). Now, talking about this pathway in great detail would take all day, so put as simply as possible, mTOR is a form of energy and nutrient sensor which gives a signal to your muscles telling them that nutrients are present and that they should use more of them to repair and rebuild themselves as big and as strong as they possibly can. Basically, it tells the body when protein and other nutrients are present, and that it should act quick and use as much of them as possible, as quickly as possible. Post-workout protein shakes are often combined with a couple of scoops of leucine to help ensure that more of the protein and aminos are used to stimulate new growth and repair and to enhance the recovery process.