■ ALPHA-HYDROXY-ISOCAPROIC ACID This is basically a breakdown product of the branched-chain amino acid leucine. HICA inhibits muscle loss by blocking the action of catabolic compounds known as metalloproteinases. Research shows that HICA can increase muscle growth in athletes even when they train up to five hours per day.
■ BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS The three BCAAs—leucine, isoleucine and valine—are, hands down, the most critical aminos for muscle growth. Not only are they used as important building blocks to make up the protein of which muscle is composed, but leucine actually turns on muscle protein synthesis, which is the process that leads to muscle growth. So every time you take a dose of BCAAs, you kick up muscle protein synthesis and, therefore, muscle growth.
■ TAKE IT LIKE THIS Take 500 milligrams of HICA along with 5–10 grams of BCAAs first thing in the morning with your protein shake, with your pre- and post-workout shakes, and before bed with your last meal of the day.