Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are most commonly known as supplements responsible for being great supporters in muscular and strength gains and preventing muscular breakdown.
BCAAs are made up of three of the reoccurring amino acids which are already present in the human body – there’s just not enough of them to be beneficial for individuals who exercise regularly.
These powerful, muscle-friendly amino’s consist of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. Now – let’s discuss why supplementing with BCAAs will be able to help with enhancing your gains and reach your maximum potential!
What Are The Benefits of BCAAs?
#1 Prevents Muscle Loss
When you workout, you’re actually tearing and breaking down tiny fibers within the muscle you’re working – hence the reason for feeling sore from a killer chest workout for many days afterwards!
Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why numerous athletes and sports nuritionists have carried out studies to find out what you can take to aid recovery. BCAAs have been the subject of many of these studies and the results inform us that the best time to take this supplement is intra-workout!
BCAAs and other essential amino acids act together, a bit like a shield, to keep some of the fibers intact – thus allowing you to still work the muscle and recover quicker!
#2 Build Muscle
BCAAs are effective for aiding the process of protein synthesis and overall muscle building. The actual function of these essential amino acids is to act as transporters – providing nitrogen within muscular cells when muscle is being worked!
Essentially, what this means is that they attach to other amino acids that don’t have the profile make up to that of BCAAs, and work together to form connective muscular tissue or for lack of better words “build muscle”. This is why it is best to sip BCAAs throughout the entirety of your workout.
#3 Helps Offset DOMS
DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness occurs when eccentric or exercises that lengthen the muscle are performed at a high intensity during a workout. Usually this soreness is experienced as quickly as just a few hours after the workout but is more prominent 24-48 hours after the workout is completed. If you’ve done leg day then you know all about DOMS!
BCAAs help offset DOMS as they help with recovery. Since your muscle growth occurs when you’re away from the gym, the faster you can recover, the faster you can rebuild muscle and get back to training.
Using BCAAs intra-workout as well as throughout the day during a big lift day such as legs or back will help to recover these larger muscle groups and rebuild muscle quicker. The average dosage is right around 4-6 g of pure form branched chain amino acids and depending on the athlete and intensity of the workout you can adjust the amount of servings within 24-hour period.
#4 Balances Hormone Levels
One of the best times to supplement with BCAAs is on your rest days when you’re not hitting the weights. Since one of the main roles of BCAA’s is to aid in recovery, the best time to take in your daily dosage is when you’re hormone levels are needing to reset – your overall testosterone level is constantly increasing due to the release of such hormones when you lift.
This also means your cortisol level is elevated due to amount of stress put on your central nervous system.
Cortisol plays a vital role in:
✓ Weight control.
✓ Blood pressure.
✓ Muscle and bone health.
✓ Overall recovery.
This is why a rest day is a must-do in your workout regimen. Take a day or two off from the weights, hit some cardio and reset hormonal levels by increasing vitamin (fruit and vegetable) intake and supplementing with BCAAs!
#5 Enhances Workout Performance
There are two primary functions that BCAAs play in enhancing workout performance – The first is that BCAAs combat the feeling of fatigue.
Tryptophan (the stuff in turkey that makes you sleep during Thanksgiving!) is released allowing you to feel restless when you’re training. BCAAs help fight that feeling in your brain telling you to quit.
Secondly, BCAAs are used as actual energy within the body when you are depleting your glycogen stores through intense exercise, which helps you to push that bit further during your workout! BCAAs will literally Fuel Your Ambition.
Take Home Message
BCAA’s are available in a wide variety of ratios that consists of many other other amino acids being added and some even being removed.
If in doubt of what BCAA project to spend your money on, stick with a product that has the 2:1:1 ratio of the 3 most essential amino acids (Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine) provides you with all of these micronutrients you will need to help get those gains!