Collagen – The Best Protein for Athletes
You already know that protein is important for athletes. Protein is what keeps your muscles strong and allows the foundation to build a stronger, more toned physique.
This is common knowledge – but what’s not common knowledge is the fact that there are many kinds of protein, and they can provide different benefits depending on your circumstance.
Today, we’re going to be talking about collagen. Collagen is one of the best proteins that an athlete can take on the regular, and is the most prominent and important protein in the body.
Strange, then, that so few people are aware of collagen and its properties, no?
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most ubiquitous protein in the body, accounting for the vast majority of protein found in all cells, muscles, and tissues. Collagen impacts a lot more than the quality of your muscle tissue, though.
It’s an important nutritional factor for helping someone to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, to develop healthy and young-looking skin, and to maintain the function of your internal organs.
Collagen originates from a Greek word which means glue, which is understandable when you consider that collagen is basically the binding agent that holds most living creatures together. Most mammals have about 30% of their protein made up of collagen.
Collagen is made up of several of the conditional amino acids – that is, the amino acids that your body can produce on its own. These amino acids are glycine, proline, and arginine.
However, the body isn’t always able to produce ideal amounts of these amino acids, which is why some people find it ideal to supplement with amino acids such as L-Arginine and L-Citrulline. Other people prefer supplementing directly with collagen.
So Why is Collagen so Important?
There are a lot of ways that an athlete could benefit from taking collagen supplements. Today we’re just going to look at the benefits an athlete would hope to see after taking collagen. Remember, though, that if you do end up taking collagen, there are other areas of your body that you’ll probably see improvements.
Collagen will Help Beef You Up
This is the main factor that leads most people to take collagen supplements in the first place. Studies have repeatedly proven that collagen is more effective than placebo when subjects were given collagen and the results of their workouts observed.
This works in a number of ways. Not only does collagen provide the actual nutritional foundation for you to build stronger, larger muscles, but it also impacts the rate of which you gain muscle. You’ll get bigger, and you’ll do it faster.
Arginine, one of the amino acids that make up collagen, has interesting effects on its own. It increases overall muscle tone when used in conjunction with a good workout plan, and it also inhibits the breakdown of collagen. This means that supplementing your collagen with extra arginine might help you get more bang for your buck.
Collagen helps with weight loss
This might sound like a bit of a paradox when reading right after our previous statement, but nonetheless, collagen can be just as beneficial for helping you lose weight as it can be for helping you to gain it.
There are a couple reasons for this. The first and most important reason is that a high intake of collagen peptides increases the body’s ability to burn fat. Fat typically isn’t used as energy until someone has been engaged in a high-intensity activity for at least 20 minutes – collagen can lower this figure by a bit.
The second and more superficial reason that collagen can help you lose weight is that it’s a protein. Any type of protein supplementation will help you feel full faster and for longer, which will prevent you from having to overindulge and potentially gain weight.
It Keeps Your Joints Strong
Collagen is one of the most important adhesives in the physical body. It helps to make sure tissues and ligaments stay connected properly. Taking extra collagen will allow you to improve the rate at which your bones and connective tissues grow and repair themselves, which is ideal for any athlete.
Furthermore, collagen can reduce the pain that’s associated with joint conditions such as arthritis. A study done on people who took collagen for 24 weeks showed a notable reduction in symptoms and pain associated with the related conditions.
This means that not only can collagen help to combat the symptoms of existing joint disorders, it can help prevent you from developing them in the first place.
Collagen Will Help You Recover Quicker
One of the most important factors for many athletes is the recovery. That prevents them from returning to the gym to perform another workout. Many athletes and bodybuilders seek out expensive supplements to help them increase the speed of their recovery, but few people realize that collagen can do this on its own.
You don’t need to find any fancy supplement to help you in this case. Collagen can be purchased on its own, for relatively cheap prices, and the results that it can provide are quite impressive.
Collagen Can Help Keep You Looking Young
Athletes may be worried about they’re intense workouts leaving a mark on their body as they age. Some bodybuilders, particularly those who are building muscles for a specific image, will not want age to have an impact on their bodies.
Collagen can the help both types of people.
Studies done on more than 300 people have revealed that people who take collagen supplements consistently report improved skin condition. The studies that have proved that there is a consistent link between collagen density in the dermis and factors associated with healthy, young-looking skin.
Collagen is an important nutrient in the supplement cabinets of many bodybuilders and athletes, and for a good reason. Collagen provides a wide variety of benefits that are of particular interest to athletes and bodybuilders.
Hopefully, today, we’ve helped you understand exactly why collagen is so popular among fitness enthusiasts.
By Sean Ward, Founder of Naturally Boost Testosterone, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing natural ways for men to boost hormone levels. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook