Why are Amino Acids Important?

Time and time again I am asked, “What supplements should I be taking?” And although I believe there are a handful out there that you should take the one’s that I believe everyone can and should are BCAA’s and Whey Protein Powder.

BCAA stands for “Branch Chain Amino Acids” and in short these are the “building blocks” of protein. Why are they important? If your body does not have enough amino acids in it from food or supplementation your body will look to get them from another source. Usually the other source will be your muscles. During and after exercise your body is looking to repair your muscles and if it does not have an adequate supply of amino acids then it will look to repair muscles by breaking down other muscles.

So during and post workout your body is wanting to Breakdown (burn) fat, build and repair muscles. In order to do this your body must have an adequate supply of amino acids. Without them your body will still breakdown and repair, but this time it is breaking down muscle to repair other muscles. That means after you just busted your butt in a workout you are now burning your muscle and not as much fat as you should be!

If we are eating as we should be with three to four meals a day that all have enough protein we should maintain enough amino acids in our bodies that we avoid breaking down muscle. But let’s be honest most of us are not eating as we should be. Which means that our body is lacking in amino acids and is probably not burning the fat we want.

Most people think that if they are not eating then they must be losing weight because they are not taking in very many calories, and most of the time the scale will show it. But almost everyone knows that muscle weighs more than fat, and we now know that without the right amount of amino acids we are not burning fat but breaking down muscle. So the weight loss starts to happen but our body composition usually stays the same and eventually we plateau and then we quit all together.

Now that I have snuck that tidbit in there take a look at your diet. Have you hit a plateau? Check out how many meals you are eating each day and how much protein you are consuming. If you are not consuming at least (.6g x you body weight) you are probably in the category of someone who breaks down muscle and not as much fat.  

So how can supplementing with amino acids and whey protein help you burn fat, build and repair muscle? By taking a powdered amino acid supplement pre workout you can fight off some of the muscle burning effects of exercise. Then post workout if you immediately supplement with 25-40g of Whey Protein Powder you will give your body the nutrients and amino acids it needs to properly repair the muscles you damaged during your workout.

In conclusion, first check your diet. Are you eating enough protein throughout the day? If not fix that first! Then head down to your local supplement store and buy a container of amino acids and a tub of whey protein and start your supplementation routine pre and post workout.

If you do not know what brands to try here are a few of my favorite.

BCAA (amino acids):

Protein Powder:

***Keep in mind that not all protein powders are created equal. There is a reason why some powders are super cheap. Check out ingredients and what is added before you start putting things in your body.


Richard Andrews

Head Coach, BWCF





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