Trainer Tested: ALLMAX AMINOCORE Natural
One supplement-savvy personal trainer tried Allmax’s latest BCAA product.
What are BCAAs?
Amino acids are organic compounds found in muscles and tissues that serve a variety of physical functions from being an energy source during aerobic exercise, to giving human cells their shape, to preventing breakdown of muscles. There are nine “essential” amino acids, meaning our bodies don’t produce them and they must be eaten in the diet. Leucine, isoleucine and valine are called the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and are studied for aiding in health disorders, injuries and in regards to athletic performance. The BCAA with the most promising research behind it is leucine.
Leucine triggers a rise in muscle protein synthesis through the mTOR signaling pathway, according to a 2016 Nutrition and Metabolism review(1). Hypertrophy is the result of a positive protein balance–meaning you’re in a state of anabolism (growth) not catabolism (breakdown). More muscle protein synthesis than protein breakdown equals a positive protein balance. Resistance training breaks down muscle protein only for it to rebuild in the form of new protein cells. During extended endurance training, athletes will use carbohydrates, sugar, then fat and protein as actual energy sources. Taking BCAAs, especially products with a high leucine content, help muscles rebuild faster and provide an emergency energy source during long workouts.
A 2017 Applied Physiology Nutrition & Metabolism study(2) had two group of people do a hypertrophy workout–one took BCAAs 30 minutes before and after working out and the other group took a placebo. The workout consisted of 6 sets of 10 full back squats at 70% of 1RM to induce muscle damage. Jump height, perceived muscle soreness, and knee force were all measured before, 24 hours, and 48 hours post workout. The results were that the supplement takers increased their rate of recovery in force, jump height and perceived muscle soreness.
ALLMAX AMINOCORE Natural includes 45% leucine, 30% valine and 25% isoleucine. Why this ratio? An Endocrinology & Metabolism study(3) examined the effects of BCAAs on the enzyme “p70S6k” after a hypertrophy workout. This enzyme (like leucine) speeds up the mTOR signalling pathway which leads to increased protein synthesis. The results of the study were that BCAAs taken at the 45%, 30%, 25% ratio before, during and post-workout result in increased activity of the p70S6k enzyme, suggesting that BCAAs play a role in recovery from strength training.
BCAAs’s last role is in overall health. BCAAs improve gut health and its local amino acid transport ability, enhance immunity, and are biomarkers for early detection of chronic diseases like diabetes and insulin resistance in humans, according to a 2017 Journal of Animal Science & Biotechnology review(4).
ALLMAX AMINOCORE NATURAL REVIEW
I’m an NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Personal Trainer, Spartan SGX Coach, and fitness writer. I’ve been taking supplements such as BCAAs and preworkouts for 12+ years in conjunction with strength training and competing in endurance events like running and obstacle course racing. What made ALLMAX AMINOCORE Natural stand out to me was the fact that it has no sugar or artificial sweeteners. This product is sweetened with Stevia, which is a plant that people often add to coffee or bake with in place of sugar.
I tried the Cranberry Apple flavor which was a complete shock to my taste buds. I rarely drink cranberry or apple juice–never mind take supplements with this flavor–so it was a unique taste. What I like most about BCAAs is that you can mix them with just about any other drink. This flavor also included some beetroot powder in the product which is another favorite supplement of mine. Here are the different variations of AMINOCORE Natural that I experimented with:
- 1 scoop AMINOCORE Natural, 1 packet of beetroot powder + 15-18oz water
- 1 scoop AMINOCORE Natural mixed with 10oz Orange juice
- 1 scoop AMINOCORE Natural mixed + 15-18oz water
- 1 scoop AMINOCORE Natural, 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, + 15-18oz water
- 1 scoop AMINOCORE Natural, 1 scoop Allmax Impact Igniter + 15-18oz water
- 2 scoops AMINOCORE Natural mixed with 15-18oz water
Overall, the Cranberry Apple flavor provides a unique flavor experience and mixes well with any beverage in conjunction with other popular supplements like creatine.
I’m an almost daily coffee drinker. I reluctantly lean on caffeine for a mental boost and increased workout performance. However, I’ve found ways around this dependence. BCAAs, beet root powder and creatine (or any combination of) have provided reviling experiences for me in the gym. Two workouts that stood out to me after taking the Aminocore is a 5km run followed by a shoulder workout and a chest workout. I also took the Aminocore Natural and a serving of beets before a hot yoga class and still had a lot of fuel left in the tank when walking out sweaty and flexible.
Cardio then Shoulder Workout
- (Disclaimer: I am six months removed from undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoralis major tendon in these videos)
- Exercise: 3.1 mile jog
- Duration: 30 minutes
Exercise: Barbell Overhead Press
- Sets: 5
- Reps: 12, 10, 8, 5, 3
- Weight (in pounds): 45, 65, 95, 115, 135
Exercise: Dumbbell Lateral Raise
- Sets: 5
- Reps: 15, 12, 10, 10, 8
- Weight: 10, 15, 15, 20Seated Machine Overhead Press
- Sets: 5
- Reps: 20, 15, 10, 10, then a dropset of 20 reps
Exercise: Dumbbell Bench Press
- Sets: 5
- Reps: 15, 12, 10, 5, 3
- Weight: 20, 25, 30, 40, 65,
Exercise: Dumbbell Incline Tate Press
- Sets: 4
- Reps: 12-15
- Weight: 20
Exercise: Barbell Curl
- Sets: 4
- Reps: 10, 10, 8, 12
- Weight: 45, 65, 65, 45
- Sets: 3
- Reps: 20
Overall, double dosing the AMINOCORE Natural gave me a mental feeling similar to that of caffeine. I realized that this is probably because of the B-Vitamins it has too. I’ve heard that Vitamin B12 can be considered a stimulant at high enough doses. Even at a single serving, the Aminocore Natural provides a great tasting way to ensure that I’m ready to train clients and workout without losing muscle day after day. Knowing that I’m not taking in any food dyes or sugar is assuring given that many supplements include those ingredients.
- The impact of protein quality on the promotion of resistance exercise-induced changes in muscle mass – https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-016-0124-8
- The effects of acute branched-chain amino acid supplementation on recovery from a single bout of hypertrophy exercise in resistance-trained athletes. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28177706
- Branched-chain amino acids increase p70S6k phosphorylation in human skeletal muscle after resistance exercise – https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpendo.00430.2003
Novel metabolic and physiological functions of branched chain amino acids: a review – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260006/