Amino Acids – Why You MUST Consume Them to Gain Muscle!

amino acids

All proteins are made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Protein is made up of four elements; carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. One gram of protein contains about four calories.

Simply put, if you do not consume enough amino-acids from protein on a daily basis, no amount of weight training or calories will allow your muscles to grow.

Complete protein sources contain all of the amino-acids as well as the entire essential branch chained amino acids (bcaa's) that are necessary to promote muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth).

For optimal muscle growth, strive to consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight from quality animal based (amino-acid loaded) sources such as lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, shrimp, veal, lamb and other meats.

This means that if you weight 170 pounds and you’re trying to add muscle, you’ll want to consume at least 170 grams of protein per day. Simply put, without enough quality protein and amino-acids in your diet, your muscles will NOT grow - PERIOD!

Now that you know how important protein is for building muscle mass, here are the 20 amino-acids that must be combined to form a complete protein:

Aspartic acid
Glutamic acid

Of the above 20 amino-acids, there are 9 (essential amino-acids) that cannot be made by your body and must be consumed in your diet. These are: Leucine, Isoleucine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Methionine, Histidine, Threonine, Valine and Tryptophan.

Complete protein sources support muscle growth and are of higher quality than incomplete protein sources such as those found in vegetables, wheat and soy.

It’s important to understand that all protein sources are not created equal and that some complete protein sources are better than others.

For example, eggs, whey protein, chicken, fish, beef, milk and cheese are all excellent protein sources which contain all of the essential amino-acids as well as the non-essential amino-acids required for muscle building.

On the other hand, foods such as rice, whole grain bread, peanuts, beans and potatoes also contain amino-acids; however, they don’t contain the essential amino-acids which are necessary for new muscle growth, so you shouldn’t count the protein from these foods towards your daily protein count.

Do You Need Amino Acid Supplements To Build Muscle?

If you’re consuming an adequate amount of high quality protein from a variety of different sources (which you should be doing anyway) you’ll ensure that your body has all of the amino-acids it needs to maintain proper bodily functions and build new muscle tissue.

Therefore, supplementing with amino acid pills or powder is not necessary to build muscle. Save your money and stock up on some of the high-quality lean protein foods that I’ve listed above and you’ll have more than enough amino-acids in your body to spur new muscle and strength gains.

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