Fuel Your Muscles with Amino Acids

Skylar Del Sol

If you are trying to build up your body and boost athletic performance, you need more than just time in the gym. Amino acids should be added to any serious athlete’s routine if you want to provide your body with what it needs in order to build stronger, more powerful muscles. Your muscles store fatty acids, glucose, as well as amino acids from protein, and all three are used as energy and fuel during exercise. However, in order to help preserve muscle mass, your muscles will burn off fatty acids and glucose first before it uses the amino acids as fuel. Used as your last line of defense, amino acids are used as a building block for new muscle. When your muscles are consistently contracting it results in microtrauma, which are microscopic tears in the muscle. These tears require repair immediately after exercise so stronger, more resilient muscle can build. This is why amino acids are an essential aspect of post-workout recovery.

Muscles are malleable and when “rebuilt” with the help of amino acids it can lead to an increase in flexibility, strength, power and endurance. If you want to build muscle, boost your energy levels, and help your recovery time, you need to fuel your muscles with amino acids. Check out some of the top amino acids for athletes you need to add to your regime if you want to properly fuel your muscles.

1. Carnitine

Carnitine plays an important role in helping the body burn fat, and also helps enhance blood flow to the muscles. This can help prevent muscle damage, muscle soreness, and fatigue. In addition, this will also help increase your endurance and increase your recovery time. You can find carnitine in two different forms, acetyl-L-carnitine, and L-carnitine.

2. Arginine

One of the amino acids that helps produce creatine, arginine is great for feeding your muscles. Research has shown that arginine not only increases strength, but it also increases nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide helps your muscles grow faster due to the improvement in blood flow. You can find arginine in three different forms, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, L-arginine, and arginine alpha-ketoisocaproate.

3. Taurine

Taurine should be ingested before and after a workout, as taurine levels naturally drop during exercise. Taurine not only helps energy, it also helps enhance your muscle’s ability to contract so you can exercise longer and more effectively during those long, grueling workouts or games. Taurine will not only improve your athletic performance, it can also help burn fat, increase your recovery time and improve your reaction time.

4. Glutamine

Glutamine’s muscle protecting and muscle building properties are a must for any serious athlete who wants to see results. By taking glutamine before and after you work out you can prevent the breakdown of muscles, and aid energy production. Glutamine can even help buffer the fatigue-producing chemicals that form during intense exercise by helping the production of bicarbonate.

5. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) consist of the three amino acids valine, leucine, and isoleucine. This set helps assist your muscle building efforts, as these amino acids are critical for energy production and muscle growth. BCAAs are used as fuel during exercise, and are utilized afterwards to support muscle growth, so make sure you supplement with BCAAs before and after you work out.