Iron man Iron_Man_USA__June_2017 - Page 61

MUSCLE BLOCKS BY RUDY MAWER Amino acids are the key building blocks to protein and human skeletal muscle. It’s a well-known fact that amino acids are key for your physique, but do you know how each specifi c amino acid functions and the benefi ts they provide? There are 20 total amino acids each serving its own unique function within the body. Moreover, there are nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own, so these need to be ingested either through supplementation or specifi c food sources. With regard to body composition and training, there are several amino acids in particular that have been proven to provide signifi cant benefi ts including initiating muscle protein synthesis (the key driver behind muscle growth), increasing blood fl ow, increased glycogen resynthesis, and even improvements in recovery from training. Within this article, we will touch on some of the best amino acids that have been scientifi cally proven to benefi t your own body composition. BCAA S Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) may be the most popular form of amino acids on the market. While each product may contain its own variety of amino acids, three common amino acids in every product consist of leucine, valine, and isoleucine. The potential applications of BCAAs for performance enhancement have been researched extensively. Research on BCAAs, published in the Journal of Nutri- tion, demonstrated that consuming 2.7 grams of leucine post-workout significant- ly increases whole-body muscle protein synthesis. But don’t skimp on the valine and isoleucine. Research continues to demonstrate the synergistic roles played by all three BCAAs. In addition, a group of Japanese re- searchers demonstrated that taking BCAAs pre- and/or post-workout decreased muscle protein breakdown and resulted in improved recovery following resistance training. Of extreme interest to Men’s Physique athletes and other body-sport partici- pants, a study published by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed BCAAs may be even more important during periods of calorie restriction or diets to preserve lean mass and reduce muscle breakdown. Recently, one group of researchers compared the effects of a carbohydrate supplement with BCAAs when combined with weight training and a low-calorie diet (much like a contest prep). These researchers discovered that after eight weeks of training, those in the carbohydrate con- dition lost a combination of body fat and muscle mass, whereas the BCAA group lost almost solely body fat and maintained muscle mass. This is the perfect result from a diet for any body- builder or physique-focused individual. Within this study, what’s even more surprising is that the BCAA group also increased their bench press one-rep max to a greater degree compared to those who consumed carbohydrates, possibly because their recovery was en- hanced and they retained more muscle. You can consume around five to 10 grams of BCAAs before, during, or after training. It can also be used with lower protein meals or between meals. Precision BCAA by Beyond Raw once again over-delivers with a whopping 10 grams of BCAAs, with fi ve grams of leucine. Precision BCAA also includes three patented plant extracts designed to enhance the effect of leucine, increase power output, and minimize infl ammation. ironmanmagazine.com | JUNE 2017 59