Amino acids are the organic compounds that form together in chains to create protein inside the body. Thus, amino acids are basically the building blocks of protein. Proteins, and therefore amino acids, play many important roles inside the body. The most important role, as far as jiu-jitsu and performance is concerned, is protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is necessary for recovery between workouts, increasing muscle mass, strength, power, and endurance. It also prevents loss of muscle mass, strength, power, and endurance during weight cutting.
For this reason it is critical for us to stimulate protein synthesis as much as possible. Without amino acids, protein synthesis would be impossible inside the body.
While amino acid supplementation can be beneficial at different times throughout the day, there are some times that are critical. Before and/or during training sessions is the best time to consume amino acid supplements. Studies have demonstrated that consuming amino acids at this time will have a positive impact on stimulating protein synthesis and will help to reduce damage to muscles from the training session. This will also start the recovery process sooner, and thus allow for a faster, more complete recovery. By stimulating protein synthesis before and during training sessions, you will be able to train at higher intensities longer, meaning harder matches later in your session. While there have been studies that show improvement with as little as 2 grams of amino acid supplementation, optimal dosages are 6-9 grams for BCAAs and 10-15 grams of essential amino acids.
Michael Langhi, multi-time Jiu-Jitsu World Champion takes supplements regularly, high on his short list were BCAAs. Given the direct benefits to grapplers, it’s no wonder why he takes them. If you’re looking to build and maintain muscle, along with the other virtues, maybe you should give them a try.