Looking to step up your workout game? If you’re relatively new to exercise, have been going at it for a few months now, and now want to make sure that you make the very most of each session you put in, branched chain amino acids, or BCAA’s for short, are one product you’ll want to consider. Chances are, you’ve done some research on what good nutrition means. As such, you know the importance of protein and are making sure that you get more in each day. In fact, you may have already purchased a high quality protein powder to help get the job done. This is great and will certainly help you along your way. Now however, you need to think more specifically. While getting enough ‘protein’ is important, your body actually requires more of a certain type of protein than others, more specifically, the branched chain amino acids. Remember that protein is made up of a number of amino acids, all strung together, each serving a different purpose in the body. The branched chain amino acids are ones that play a pivotal role in exercise performance and recovery, which is why you now, with those workout sessions, need more. Enter the BCAA blend. Let’s look more closely at this product so you fully understand.
What Branched Chain Amino Acids Are
Branched chain amino acids consist of L-Leucine, L-IsoLeucine, as well as L-Valine and are different from most amino acids in that they are processed in the muscles, rather than the liver. Here, they assist with energy production, reducing the catabolic process that occurs during a workout (and can lead to muscle mass breakdown), as well as help with delaying the process of fatigue development, as was noted in a study published in the American Society for Nutritional Sciences. So basically, they help you workout harder and then recover faster after you finish the workout session. Both of these benefits will be key to you seeing even greater results than you already are. Since you won’t specifically get high doses of these from the foods you eat (some will be present, but not in as concentrated levels), this means that you will need to get them from supplemental form. A good BCAA product will have the right ratio of these amino acids that’s perfect for muscular repair and rebuilding, giving your body precisely what it needs. Now, you might be wondering, ‘Can’t I just drink more whey protein powder?’ You often see that your protein is fortified with BCAA’s as well. The answer is not entirely. While those amino acids will definitely be of benefit, because the BCAA’s are still bound to other amino acids – non BCAA’s – they must go through the process of digestion first before they are released. This is a long and slow process and by the time they get to your muscle tissues where they are needed, your workout will be well over by then. So they aren’t as effective in terms of the workout boost a BCAA product would give or with helping to fend off fatigued during the workout itself.
Using Them Properly
So what’s the best way to use BCAA’s? You’ll want to take these in either right before you head into the gym, or if you prefer, you can also sip on them during the workout session itself. This makes for a great during workout recovery and energy boosting drink that will also help to keep you hydrated during the session at hand. Most are nicely flavored, so this will help make getting them down easier. You may also find them mixed with other helpful pre workout ingredients as well, all which serve the purpose of helping you improve your workout at hand. Some people also like to take a scoop on non workout days to foster a greater recovery and you can certainly do so if you wish, but it’s not entirely needed if you’re on a budget and looking to save on supplement costs. So there you have the main points to know about BCAA’s. If you really want to experience maximum results, they are a great product to have on hand.
Harris, R. A. (2004). Exercise Promotes BCAA Catabolism: Effects of BCAA Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle During Exercise. The American Society For Nutritional Sciences. Vol. 134. No. 6.