Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein, which is found in all of the body’s cells. Whether you are training for a marathon or simply looking to build more lean muscle, eating quality protein at every meal is essential for repairing damaged muscle tissue, building muscle tone and supporting a healthy immune system. Consuming adequate amounts of protein is important in determining your rate of muscle recovery, which allows you to gain strength and become more durable after each workout.
All amino acids are not the same There are 20 amino acids which make up the complete proteins that are necessary for optimal muscle recovery. Eleven of these acids can be produced naturally in the body, whereas nine must be gotten in the form of food. These 20 are called essential amino acids, which are derived from soy-based foods and animal sources. Most plant-based foods such as vegetables and grains are missing one or more of these 20 amino acids. Vegans must consume various combinations of foods, such as brown rice and lentils, in order to get all of the essential amino acids they need.
Muscle recovery Muscle recovery is the process that your muscles go through to adapt and heal from exercise. Lifting weights or performing any other heavy exercise creates microscopic tears in the muscle tissue due to repetitive contraction. A group of hormones known as growth factors stimulate the release of cells that contain amino acids and proteins. These cells fuse damaged muscle tissues together, thus increasing the muscle’s size. Many of these cells stay at the repair site to provide new nuclei for the healed muscle tissue. This stimulates the muscle fibers to create more proteins, which allows them to grow stronger.
Timing is important Timing is important when it comes to supplying muscles with amino acids. After a workout, the body goes into an anabolic phase. During this phase, which lasts roughly 45 minutes, you should consume proteins, carbohydrates and various other nutrients. The protein to carbohydrate ratio should be 1 to 3. After this anabolic phase, your body will undergo a growth phase that can last for 20 hours in which it repairs itself and replenishes its depleted nutrient stores. It is during this time that you should consume any foods, drinks or supplements designed to help increase muscle growth, such as protein shakes or amino acids.
Recommended protein intake The amount of protein you should consume on a daily basis depends on your gender, body weight and general health status. If you are recreationally active, you should consume between 0.5 and 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. If you are an endurance athlete or wanting to increase muscle mass, try to consume between 0.5 and 0.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Supplementing with amino acids To ensure you are consuming enough amino acids to stimulate proper muscle recovery, you should supplement your workout routine with a good quality amino acid product. Three of the most utilized amino acids are L-glutamine, L-arginine and L-lysine. Supplementing with these three are especially beneficial to vegans, or those who may not consume animal or soy-based proteins on a consistent basis. All of these products are available from VitaBase, which offers high-quality supplements designed to enhance your workout routine without the worry of artificial ingredients or fillers.