Technically speaking, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. But they do so much to allow you to squeeze maximal results from your training — from boosting energy for better workouts to repairing muscle to promoting fat burning — that they really should be considered the foundational building blocks of your entire supplement regimen. If you’re a muscle-minded guy or girl, make sure the following two amino-acid supplements never leave your gym bag or kitchen pantry.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
This trio of essential aminos (leucine, isoleucine and valine) shares a unique branched-chain structure and must be consumed in the diet because the body doesn’t produce them (hence the “essential” moniker). BCAAs make up a large proportion of the total amino-acid content in skeletal muscle, but they’re rapidly broken down (catabolized) for energy production during intense exercise. The best way to defend against BCAA loss is to keep levels elevated during and after training. Keeping BCAA stores topped off has been shown to turn on anabolism, blunt catabolism and shorten recovery time. Because leucine is the major anabolic BCAA, make sure you use products with at least twice as much leucine as isoleucine and valine.
LCLT is a stable form of carnitine that’s readily absorbed by the body. And although it has been known for decades that elevated carnitine levels aid in fat metabolism, more recent work from the University of Connecticut illustrates that LCLT is more than just a fat burner. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers reported that three weeks of LCLT supplementation increased the number of testosterone receptors in skeletal muscle (which could promote greater uptake of testosterone into muscle tissue) and increased secretion of luteinizing hormone (which signals testosterone production) in resistance-trained men. In layman’s terms, this basically means the supplement provides a safe means to naturally make your body more anabolic, particularly right after training, when creating a recovery-promoting environment is so important. In another study by the same research group, LCLT supplementation was shown to reduce exercise-induced muscle tissue damage after heavy squatting, likely because of heightened anabolism and protein synthesis.
Find Both In: NutriForce Sports Natural Amino