Bodybuilding is all about transformation, taking your body, working it, pushing it to its limits and seeing just how much progress you can make as a result of diet and training. On paper it seems very simple: you go to the gym, you lift weights, you eat healthily and you consume plenty of protein and you grow. In reality however, it’s far harder than that which is why bodybuilding supplements are so incredibly popular nowadays. The supplement industry in fact, is thriving better than ever before, generating billions upon billions in revenue every single year. To see just how popular bodybuilding supplements really are, all you need to do is visit a bodybuilding expo or read a bodybuilding magazine and see just how many advertisements for different products there really are. As far as bodybuilding supplements are concerned, amino acid supplements are incredibly beneficial for a whole variety of different reasons as there are so many different ones out there to choose from, with each one having its own unique distinct advantages when compared with another. Here’s a look at five of the top amino acid supplements required for bodybuilding.
For most bodybuilders, the primary goals and objectives for them as far as their physiques go are to increase lean muscle mass whilst burning body fat in the process. The more fat you burn, the leaner and more defined you look, which is the look that many bodybuilders strive for. Carnitine is an ideal amino acid when it comes to fat loss and it is often a key ingredient in fat loss supplements, pre-workout supplements, and energy drinks in the process. It works primarily by helping to prevent fat being stored in the body by shuttling it into mitochondria within our cells, allowing the fat to be converted into energy. Carnitine is ideal because not only does it boost the metabolism and increase the rate in which fat is burnt, it also allows us to utilize more fat for energy, and as a result we can enjoy more energy in the process.
As far as bodybuilding is concerned, leucine is arguably the most beneficial amino acid supplement you could ever hope for, and for very good reason as well. For bodybuilding purposes, leucine is incredibly beneficial as it speeds up and increases protein synthesis within the body, which plays a key role in the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Basically, protein synthesis allows our bodies to synthesize new muscle protein fibres to help replace damaged fibres as a result of an intense workout. Speed up the rate of protein synthesis and you speed up the rate in which you can potentially build muscle and recovery from strenuous workouts. There is also the added bonus that this procedure increases our body’s metabolic function so we burn more calories in the process.
Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid within our bodies, meaning that it is considered non-essential. Despite this however, getting enough on a daily basis can be crucial for a whole variety of different reasons. It plays a key role in intra and post-workout recovery, not to mention the growth and repair of muscle tissue as a whole. Glutamine helps to increase cell volumization, it speeds up the rates of recovery, and it helps promote increases in energy so that we can train harder, and for prolonged periods of time. Most bodybuilders will add a scoop or two of L-glutamine to their water and sip on it during their workouts and then add another scoop to their post-workout protein shake to help increase the rate in which they recover and to help flood the cells within the muscles with the amino acid in question.
Beta Alanine is currently one of the fastest growing bodybuilding supplements in terms of popularity, as more and more people are finally realising just how beneficial it really is. It too is non-essential as the body is able to synthesize it in small quantities, and that is one of the reasons why people tended to avoid it. They see the words “non-essential” and think that because their bodies are already producing it, that they don’t need any more. Whilst the body is indeed able to naturally synthesize it, the amounts the body can produce are not great enough to be beneficial from a bodybuilding standpoint, which is where the supplement comes into the mix. Beta alanine has been found to help to naturally produce a compound known as carnosine within our muscles, which then helps to act as a buffer for lactic acid build ups. This in turn helps to fight fatigue, improve stamina, improve oxygen efficiency, and therefore improve workout intensity. Put simply, it helps us to exercise harder and for longer, without becoming tired, fatigued, or suffering from painful muscle cramps. What’s more, studies have found it to be just as effective when used on its own, as when included as part of a supplement stack. In some cases, especially when your body isn’t used to increased amounts of the amino acid, or when the recommended dosage is exceeded, you can experience what is referred to as the “beta alanine tingles” which can give you a slight tingling sensation, similar to very mild pins and needles. This is perfectly normal and if anything it shows that the amino acid is having an effect and many bodybuilders will admit to actually enjoying this sensation.
Another non-essential amino acid, glycine is often consumed pre-workout to help to prevent muscle wastage and breakdown and to help enhance muscle growth and repair. Some people however, will sip it intra-workout, and even consume it post-workout as it has been found to have a positive effect on the central nervous system due to its many anti-inflammatory properties. Glycine is also often stacked with creatine as a number of studies have revealed that it is able to increase to rate in which creatine is absorbed into the body after consumption, acting almost as a catalyst for creatine uptake. For people looking to train longer and harder, and increase post-workout recovery, glycine is very useful indeed.