Amino acids or aminos, play an extremely vital role in nutrition, exercise, and overall health. Yet it seems that they don’t get nearly enough love as protein. More times than none when I hear someone talk about ‘gains,’ they always tend to put more emphasis on protein than anything else. Even though they are not wrong, protein is just a piece of a very complex puzzle that is the human movement system. There’s more to gaining muscle than getting optimal amounts of protein in our diet every day.
That’s where aminos come in... What exactly are aminos? Amino acids are complex chemical compounds that are the sole survivors after the protein we eat is fully broken down. It’s safe to say that we can’t have one without the other, at least not with essential amino acids (which I’ll get into in a minute). From there, they let loose throughout our bodies and into muscle tissues and fibers to help repair what was torn during an intense workout. But that’s not ALL amino acids do. In fact, it’s quite the opposite - they do SO much more!
They contribute to nearly every single intricate system that the human body is composed of; from hair, tissue, and muscle growth/repair, to digestion, to producing hormones that help regulate our mood, to even being another source of energy. Aminos are pretty amazing!
There are 3 types of aminos:
Essential amino acids are the ones responsible for muscle growth and repair. Those are the guys we need to have an abundance of if we expect those gains in the gym. There’s a catch though: our bodies can not make these amino acids. They come strictly from the protein we eat. This is yet another reason why an adequate amount of protein each day is highly stressed when undertaking a more intense workout regimen.
Nonessential amino acids are those our body can make, but not optimal for performance.
Conditional amino acids are aminos that are created in moments of stress and/or illness to aid the nervous system.
The aminos we need in the gym are often referred to as BCAAs, or Branched Chain Amino Acids. If you’ve bought protein supplements in the store, you’ve probably most likely seen a small tub or two that say BCAAs written across it nearby. That’s what those are.
Now, the protein powders we use for our post-WOD recovery drinks have those amino acids in them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drink aminos on their own, too. A lot of the time, athletes will drink their aminos a few hours after their post-WOD for an extra energy boost (depending on the time of day), and to just help them further aid their recovery. I know I do.
The best way to give your WOD performance and nutrition an ‘‘A” is to get those amazing aminos!
Want help figuring your amino needs? Schedule a FREE NUTRITION CONSULT with our Coaches today!