There are NO secrets when it comes to building muscle, and all shortcuts certainly come with undesirable consequences. However, if there was one secret, it would certainly be amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle. Most people who want to build muscle know that you have to get sufficient protein to do so, but they don’t necessarily know why. When we consume protein, our bodies break it down into amino acids. These amino acids are utilized for many things, not the least of which is repairing and building muscle tissue.
If we don’t consume sufficient protein each day, our bodies could have less than what they need to build our bodies back bigger and stronger. In such case, all our hard work would be in vain. We definitely don’t want that! However, as a vegan we have to be conscious of a few things.
Most of our protein sources have less amino acids than animal based protein sources. Leucine in particular, is lower in most vegan sources of protein in comparison. This can present a problem, as leucine is the primary amino acid responsible for elevating protein synthesis. In other words, more leucine= more muscle.
Okay, so why not just buy some leucine you say? Well, it’s not that simple. Leucine, when taken alone, will cause an imbalance in the amino acids valine and isoleucine. Together, leucine, isoleucine, and valine are called branched chain amino acids, and they must be consumed together.
So, now the question is, how much do I take, and how often do I take it? That is a great question and I won’t keep you in suspense. You want to take 2 to 4 grams of leucine in 2 to 3 times daily, preferably once during or after your workout, with the other servings being spread out throughout the day.
Another good time to take your aminos is upon waking, and before bed is great as well. Remember though, that you can’t just take leucine, so you will want to get some good vegan branched chain amino acids, or vegan sourced essential amino acids.
If you go for essential amino acids though, just make sure they have the branched chain amino acids in them as well. If not, simply get some branched chain aminos to go along with them.
So, what kind of results can you expect from taking your aminos daily? Higher energy levels, improved stamina in the gym, faster recovery, less soreness, increased muscle mass, and more strength are things that you should be noticing within 6 to 8 weeks if not less.
Lastly, another added benefit is that when supplementing with amino acids, you can consume significantly less protein and still build muscle. Let’s say you want to have a dessert for lunch today (which I wouldn’t recommend doing too often, but sometimes you gotta live a little right?) but you’re worried because the dessert only has 5 grams of protein.
You need not worry, your amino acid supplement will come to the rescue. Just take it before or after your meal and presto! You have the equivalent of a high protein meal! Just don’t use this as an excuse to eat junk all the time or you certainly won’t look or feel your best. Everything in moderation as they say.
There you have it guys, everything you need to know about amino acids in a nutshell. I hope you guys will benefit as much as I have from this knowledge. If you do decide to supplement with aminos I would recommend making sure they’re vegan, and also finding a company that charges reasonable prices.
Kaged Muscle Branched Chain Amino Acids is a great brand price and quality wise. True nutrition also has a great essential amino acid supplement. Again, I have no affiliation, but those are two of my favorite brands! Until next time, stay strong!