Amino acids are becoming increasingly well known in the sporting industry but do you really need them? Amino acids are great for many different things including building muscle but one of their other important tasks is to help with muscle recovery. Ensuring that your muscles recover properly is important as an athlete as it enables you to train at the same intensity the following day and therefore helps you progress in your training.

How good are amino acids when it comes to recovery? Keep reading to find out:

What are amino acids?

Protein is made up of smaller units called amino acids. Of the 22 different amino acids our bodies use to make protein, 8 of these amino acids are ‘essential’ which means they must come from our diets as our bodies cannot make them. Furthermore, of these 8 essential amino acids there are 3 amino acids known as branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). These BCAAs are named leucine, isoleucine and valine. These BCAAs are known for their anabolic functions and their ability to improve athletic performance.

Why should I be taking amino acids?

There is a curse word out there in the sporting world and it’s known as catabolism. Catabolism is the breakdown of larger molecules into smaller molecules and in this case, is the breakdown of muscle tissue. Why is it a curse word? Because catabolism suppresses our immune system and can even negatively affect growth hormones which can result in fewer gains and muscle fatigue. Catabolism can occur due to over training and/or because of lack of the necessary amino acids needed by our body after a workout or training session.

One of the best ways to get the most out of your workout or training session is to consume amino acids (including BCAAs) once you’re finished. Why? Because these amino acids will aid protein synthesis through an increase of cellular capacity. In simple terms this means that your body is now more able to repair itself.

Additionally, amino acids are known for their super fast affect. BCAAs inparticular go directly to your skeletal muscles which will reduce the risk of catabolism and therefore will reduce the amount of protein breakdown that happens within your body.

When should you take amino acids?

Amino acids are now been proven to work as a post-workout supplement however taking them as a preworkout has also shown it’s benefits. By taking amino acids as a preworkout supplement, these amino acids are made readily available to your muscle groups that you are training and so will decrease the chances of catabolism.

Do you need amino acid supplements?

According to experts, amino acid supplements aren’t necessary for people consuming enough protein in their daily diet. However, there are instances when your body requires more amino acids which is the case for bodybuilders and athletes alike. In the case of athletes and bodybuilders, amino acid supplements are a great way to help aid muscle building and speed up recovery to get you back in the gym quicker.

The verdict

Recovery plays an invaluable role for athletes who need to constantly be at the top of their game and by ensuring that the muscles do not enter the catabolic phase, you’ll be progressing quicker than ever before. And the added benefit, you’re not adding unnecessary calories either! So should you be taking amino acids supplements? Yes, especially if you are an athlete. Not only can it produce energy, it can also give you the necessary amino acids that your body needs to recover and at a much faster rate too!