Aminos, answered

Ashleigh Austen
June 17, 2016

You’ve got protein powders down pat and multivitamins are a breeze, but are you getting your daily dose of amino acids? Short of chowing down on steak and eggs, a supplement could be the answer…


What exactly are amino acids?

You’ve surely heard this dictionary definition: amino acids are the building blocks of protein that maintain a steady supply of energy to your muscles. What that means is they’re responsible for upping energy, lowering body fat, increasing muscle tissue and boosting brain function. Your body uses 22 different amino acids, 13 of which it produces itself. Clever.


How are they different?

There are two types: essential and non-essential. The non-essential variety are formed by the body when appropriate amounts of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are present. The other nine are essential amino acids, derived from protein in foods you eat like meat, dairy and eggs. When it comes to weight training, amino acids are critical to both aiding muscle repair and promoting muscle growth. Two for one.



Do I need a supplement?

If you have specific training goals in mind, a supplement could come into play. Here are three main supplements to consider:


Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)

Called branch chain because of their chemical structure, these are essential amino acids, meaning they can’t be synthesised by the body and must be obtained through diet.

Perfect if you’re…

Doing multiple sessions of high intensity training a day. BCAAs not only help with muscle recovery, they can also reduce muscle damage.



A naturally occurring compound, it’s derived from amino acids stored mostly in skeletal muscle. It provides a rapid, brief source of phosphate kicking the muscles into gear during maximum intensity, sprint type movements.

Perfect if you’re…

After a boost in physical performance during a short period. It’s most effective if you’re doing high intensity, explosive style training like sprinting, swimming or cardio style circuits.



A naturally occurring amino acid, it’s found within the skeletal and cardiac muscle. L Carnitine’s main role is the metabolism of fat as it’s transported across cell membranes in muscle tissue, to help produce energy.

Perfect if you’re…

Looking to increase endurance on the field or in the gym. It not only contributes to energy production but also fuels the body to burn fat for energy. Bonus points: it’s an antioxidant, helping to protect the body against free radical damage.


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