Let’s face it, when it comes to bodybuilding and building muscle, if you've ever tried your hand at it yourself, you won’t need us to tell you just how difficult, time consuming, strenuous, physically, and mentally draining the entire process actually is. People can spend years upon years lifting weights religiously in the gym, training harder than 90% of other gym goers, but still only manage to gain a few measly pounds of muscle. Training correctly, intensely, and intelligently should have them piling lean muscle mass onto their frames, yet for some reason they aren’t.
Why does some people train harder than some and never put on a pound of muscle.
The reason is almost certainly due to the fact that their diets and nutrition are not up to par. Bodybuilding is a combination of around 70% nutrition and 30% training, proving just how essential good nutrition is. Once you have the food part of things under control, you can then think about supplementation. Leucine in particular is proving to be extremely popular and effective at helping people to pack muscle mass onto their frames in a short period of time.
What exactly is Leucine?
Leucine is an amino acid, and is actually one of three BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids), with the other two being valine and isoleucine. The reason why it’s so popular amongst bodybuilders and athletes is the fact that it is almost certainly the most anabolic amino acid readily available. In simple terms, that means it’s the most beneficial amino acid when it comes to building muscle.
It is an essential amino acid which means that the body cannot naturally produce it by itself, which is why it has be consumed from dietary sources. Amino acids are so important because not only do they help the body with the growth and repair of muscle tissue, but they also provide the muscles with energy to be used as fuel, making them more efficient. The muscles grow via a process taking place within the body known as protein synthesis, and studies have found that leucine helps stimulate and encourage this process to take place.
How does leucine help with protein synthesis?
When it comes to building muscle or even simply preserving muscle for that matter, protein synthesis is absolutely vital. Consuming protein obviously leads to protein synthesis, which is why protein is so popular amongst bodybuilders. Recent studies however, have found that leucine helps to greatly stimulate protein synthesis even more than regular protein supplements, which is why more and more people are using this supplement, often combining it with their protein shake for an extremely anabolic post-workout shake.
Leucine has been found to active a compound in the muscles known as Mtor (mammalian target of rapamycin). This compound acts like a switch in the body, that can seemingly switch on protein synthesis at will. Not only does leucine help to provide essential building blocks for protein synthesis, it also helps to actually enable the process to take place.