After training, your muscles are counting on amino acids from protein to kick-start the rebuilding process. Essential Amino Acids play an important part in this process, and a subset of that group known as Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are favored by athletes for their ability to be absorbed directly into muscle tissue. But how are amino acids used by the body during exercise?
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports analyzes the amino acid response to exercise by gender. Researchers had 8 female and 6 male subjects perform three all out 30-second sprints. Blood leucine concentrations decreased more in males than in females, although muscle tissue levels of the BCAA leucine remained similar. This correlated with a greater buildup of ammonia in male subjects.
True Strength Moment: It turns out that ammonia buildup in the muscles of female subjects was buffered by an increase in glutamine, which is considered a conditionally essential amino acid because, under normal conditions, your body can produce an adequate supply. Situations where supplementation may be beneficial include intense exercise.
Those who are relatively new to training, or who’ve been away from the gym for an extended period of time, might not want to focus exclusively on strength or endurance exercise. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine suggests incorporating both styles of training into a weekly routine can optimize muscle size, strength and endurance.
To test this theory, researchers had untrained subjects work exclusively on strength or endurance, or a combination of both for 21 weeks. The strength and endurance groups trained twice weekly, while the concurrent training subjects performed the equivalent of 4 workouts each week. They realized an 11% gain in quad muscle size compared to the 6% gains seen with strength training only. But rate of force development was greatest for subjects who trained either strength or endurance exclusively.
True Strength Moment: Turns out there’s no such thing as the perfect workout. Even though combining strength and endurance training can produce better overall results than either style alone, concurrent training still lacks something. Explosive force would have to be brought up by planning out a different program after the gains realized during 21 weeks. Of course, even those who’ve been training for years can dial in performance improvements for some aspect of their abilities. What’s your biggest weakness?