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The 8 essential amino acids

Understanding amino acids, proteins, life and everything in it...

It's time to talk about essential amino acids and why they are so important! Tweet us @Xercise4Less

Over the last 25 years we’ve witnessed lots of people binge drinking protein with no real purpose or understanding of why. Admittedly, with most meat, poultry and eggs you can’t go far wrong but it's about time we shed a huge beam of light towards proteins and amino acids so we can show you why they are so good for you!

Yes, we said it, amino acids! A lot of gym goers love talking carbohydrates and love gassing about protein but whenever  amino acids are mentioned they switch off eyes glazed with a similar amount of enthusiasm as a rebellious 15 year old school-kid attending a biology lesson. Well, don’t fear science - after all KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

knowledge is power - or so they say? eeeooooh

So, if you want to eat clean and let's presume you do otherwise you wouldn’t have bothered to click on this page - amino acids are vital for life!

You will have probably been told by someone somewhere down the line that protein improves muscle repair and growth? Well, it is amino acids that form these proteins and it is the amino acids which ARE the building blocks of protein that your body needs for strength, repair and rebuilding. So when you next raid your fridge thinking 'I need protein, protein and protein' for this post-workout meal- specifically speaking, the likelihood is - it is the essential amino acids you want and this will give you your daily complete protein source! 

Could it be possible that we jumped the gun there talking about essential amino acids and complete proteins? Hmmm, let's explain. There are more than twenty different kinds of amino acids that form to make proteins in the body, some of which the body naturally makes, but more importantly 8 of which you MUST get from food to survive - these 8 are known as the ‘Essential Amino Acids’. Not only must you eat them, you must aim to eat them daily as they do not get stored by the liver to be used later like carbohydrates and fat.

A complete protein is a source of protein that contains an adequate amount of all 8 essential amino acids - which is why as fitness professionals we encourage everyone to eat Protein (because it is a whole lot easier than encouraging you to eat your 8 essential amino acids).

The 8 Essential Amino Acids


As you can begin to imagine from the 8 Essential Amino Acids listed above...

...Complete proteins include:

Eggs, soy protein, lean meat, poultry and perhaps surprisingly seaweed so as a quick free tip could we recommend putting a lot of them in your diet? If you are looking at this thinking 'hmmm, I don’t like eggs', 'I can’t afford chicken' and 'I wouldn’t know where to start in finding Elk and Moose Meat' then Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) supplements offer a great alternative. The Branched Chain Amino Acids are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine; these are widely considered to be the most important of the 8 essential amino acids which is why you’ll see many nutrition companies selling BCAA supplements. Suffice to say, hopefully this blog isn't  constructed in a manner that hasn’t left you completely confused and ‘out-scienced’, if you have any more questions on amino acids feel free to tweet us @XERCISE4LESS.



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