BCAAs or Branched Chain Amino Acids are essential for muscle growth and maintenance, protein synthesis, and recovery following exercise.
The purpose of this article is to explain the importance of BCAAs in sports nutrition and how they can be used as a tool to help athletes build lean mass, increase strength and improve performance.
But, what are the benefits of taking BCAA? There are many benefits associated with taking BCAA's, but here are some of the more common ones:
Increased Muscle Mass/Strength: BCAA's have been shown to stimulate protein synthesis (muscle building) and decrease proteolysis (protein breakdown).
This results in increased gains in both size and strength.
Improved Performance: An athlete who has taken BCAAs before training will perform better during exercise than one who hasn't.
Some research indicates that BCAAs may increase endurance capacity, which means
Improved Recovery: After you've worked out your muscles need time to recover and grow back stronger.
By supplementing your diet with BCAA's after exercise you'll get faster recovery times and less soreness.
Now that you know a bit more about BCAAs let us delve in further. But before we get too caught up in the details let us talk about what exactly a BCAA is.
What is a BCAA?
BCAAs are the building blocks of protein and help build muscle.
These amino acids, along with creatine, glycogen (which stores glucose for energy) and other nutrients help your muscles grow stronger by increasing growth hormone, which helps repair damaged cells.
They also increase endurance because they provide fuel for the brain and body during exercise.
How do BCAAs Benefit Me?
BCAAs can help you lose weight if used in combination with a low-calorie diet or workout plan.
They may be helpful for people who want to gain lean muscle mass while maintaining their current body weight.
Because these amino acids are so important for building muscle and helping repair muscle damage, it makes sense that they would be beneficial for athletes looking to maximize athletic performance.
How Often Should I Take my BCAAs?
The benefits of taking BCAA supplements are well documented.
They support muscle growth and recovery from exercise, improve athletic performance, and even reduce stress.
BCAAs are essential amino acids that help build lean muscle mass and promote recovery after workouts.
While research has shown that consuming them before or during training improves strength gains, they also provide additional benefits if taken at other times throughout the day.
What is a Good Time to Consume BCAA's?
BCAAs have been found to be effective when consumed before, during, or immediately following physical activity.
In addition, it may be beneficial to take these supplements multiple times throughout the day for best results.
A number of studies indicate that taking BCAA's pre-workout provides significant benefits such as improved performance on anaerobic tests and greater increases in power output during high-intensity exercises. Other studies show positive effects when taken post-workout.
Why Should I Supplement My Diet With BCAAs?
Taking BCAA's prior to exercise may help increase sports performance. Research shows that they can improve short-term endurance and strength.
Additionally, they may aid in reducing muscle fatigue, enhance recovery and reduce muscle soreness.
BCAAs also provide a convenient way to consume these essential amino acids without having to think about meal planning.
Many people find that eating a smoothie or supplement containing BCAAs is easy to incorporate into their daily routine.
How Much Weight Can I Lose With a Low-Calorie Diet And BCAA Supplements?
If you're trying to trim down and lose some weight, cutting calories while adding BCAA's will likely give you the most immediate results.
You'll experience faster fat loss if you eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day.
To achieve this calorie level, you'll need to cut out processed foods and refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and crackers.
You'll also benefit from consuming higher amounts of healthy fats. This includes olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, fish oils, flaxseed oil, etc.
Your goal is to replace one-third of your total caloric intake with healthy fats.
If you choose to use BCAA's along with a low-calorie diet, you can expect to lose up to 2 pounds per week.
However, if you stick strictly to a low-calorie diet, weight loss could be slower. It takes approximately 3 weeks for your body to adjust to lower levels of energy intake.
Should I Use More Than One Type Of BCAA?
In order to reap the maximum benefits from BCAA supplementation, you should use several types of BCAA's. Each type of BCAAs has its own unique properties. The three main varieties include:
Leucine – Leucine is the primary building block for protein synthesis. It helps muscles grow bigger and stronger by stimulating protein production. Leucine is also used to synthesize glutamine, which is important for repairing damaged cells and tissues.
Valine – Valine is another building block for muscle growth, making it valuable for athletes who are looking to build bulk. Valine is also needed by the brain to make neurotransmitters, hormones and other chemical messengers that control moods, sleep cycles, and more.
Isoleucine – Isoleucine is the least abundant amino acid in our bodies, yet it is vital for maintaining normal metabolism. Isoleucine is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels, helping maintain lean muscle mass, and keeping the heart strong and healthy.
What Are Some Benefits Of Taking BCAA's?
There are many ways you can gain the benefits of BCAA supplementation. They can be taken as a standalone product or mixed together in a drink or smoothie.
They can be consumed before or after training sessions. If you take them right before your workout, you'll notice an increased focus and improved athletic ability.
Athletes have been known to mix BCAA's directly into their water bottles, then take them during long runs when they feel tired or sluggish.
They can be added to sports drinks, shakes, and bars. Mixing them into these products gives you better absorption and allows you to get more bang for your buck.
They can be used as dietary supplements. Many people prefer to take BCAA's as a part of their daily nutrition plan.
They can be taken in place of meals, or even as snacks throughout the day. Some people find taking them at bedtime provides additional support for healthy sleep patterns.
How Should I Choose A Supplement That Contains BCAAs?
The best way to decide what kind of BCAA supplement is best for you is to talk to your doctor about what he recommends.
There are numerous options available on the market today. But not all the products contain the same amount of each specific BCAA.
You may want to speak to your doctor first, so he can help you pick out the best option for your needs.
It's also important to note that some companies try to sell their products under the guise of “fat burners”, but don't actually do anything to promote fat burning.
Be sure to read the label carefully and look for products that say things like “burn fat” or “increase metabolic rate”.
These claims are usually made because the company wants to upsell you on the idea of using their product as a weight-loss tool.
However, this is not necessarily true. Most studies show that BCAA's don't increase your metabolic rate. Instead, they simply help your body use energy more efficiently.
This makes sense since most of us already have plenty of energy reserves stored away in our fat tissue.
Finally, if you're interested in buying BCAA's online, it's always smart to buy from reputable brands. Avoid companies that offer free trial offers or overpriced shipping costs.
Also, look for companies with high ratings from independent review sites such as Amazon.com and Consumer Reports.
BCAAs are one of the most beneficial nutrients we consume on a regular basis.
Not only does consuming BCAAs provide us with essential building blocks, but they also improve our overall health and boost our performance in the gym.
As experts continue to study this nutrient, we will learn more about how it works and why we should be consuming it every day.