The Role of Leucine in the Recovery Process
Published at 27 Mar 2018
Research studies to date have suggested that those who train or compete on consecutive days will gradually deplete their levels of muscle glycogen - even if extra carbohydrate is consumed after each exercise session.

In recent years there has been increased interest in the role of the amino acid leucine in this process, as it plays a pivotal role in stimulating muscle synthesis, therefore aiding muscle growth and recovery. Good quality whey protein is an excellent source of leucine - supplementing your diet with carbohydrate and whey supplements, as opposed to just carbohydrate supplements will result in significantly higher levels of the hormone insulin and a substance called PGC-1D after exercise. Why is this important? Insulin is a key hormone in recovery as it helps muscles to absorb carbohydrate after exercise (ie refuel), so higher levels of insulin will mean that your muscles are better primed for recovery. Higher levels of PGC-1D (full name peroxisome proliferator- activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 alpha) indicates a greater endurance adaptation - a process that normally takes place as part of the recovery process.

Practical Suggestions

1. Consider using carbohydrate drinks that contain small amounts of added whey protein during your chosen physical activity (around 20% is a good mark to aim for). Allsports energy fuels Winter Training Formula and Summer Training Formula both contain whey protein.

2. Start your recovery nutrition immediately after exercise - consume your chosen rapid recovery formula straightaway, but then don't forget about your recovery diet. Choose carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes, rice, beans or lentils combined with high quality proteins such as milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese or fresh fish. Most of these foods contain good levels of electrolytes too, so these will automatically be topped up when you eat a meal.

3. Topping up your chosen protein with a leucine supplement will further increase its effectiveness in the recovery process. Allsports Jumbo BCAA tablets contain a high level of leucine, alongside proteins such as Spectrum Whey or Spectrum Whey+ you will be able to achieve optimum leucine levels.

Maximising Cycling Performance. P.Perf. A.Hamilton


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