What IS that stuff I drink?
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are very popular within the fitness industry at the moment.
Ive used BCAA for about 4 years because I want to maximise my performance and retain my hard earned muscle mass. I teach about 12 hours a week and if I didn't use this my body would cannibalise my muscles for energy and then Id be weaker and more susceptible to injury and infection. You all ask me why Im never ill, well, this is one of the things that supports my wellbeing.
They are often taken as a standalone powder, or tablet, whilst they are also a key ingredient in many pre-workouts formulas.
#1 Take this if: You want to gain muscle mass or you want to get rid of fat but retain as much muscle mass as possible.
#2 Especially good if you do an endurance sport such as running and cycling.
When you are cutting calories, your body will be in a catabolic state. This means that your body will be breaking down tissue (fat, some muscle) rather than making it (which is known as being anabolic.)
Muscle loss will occur when cutting (losing fat) since your body opts to use the amino acids which would have otherwise been utilised for protein synthesis (to build muscle) as an energy source.
✓ BCAAs increase the rate of protein synthesis
BCAAs can help maximise muscle recovery. Muscle repair = more muscle growth.
✓ BCAAs reduce protein breakdown, which in turn leads to more muscle being built.
If all that on building more muscle wasn’t enough to convince you. They also have several other benefits which will help you with your fitness goals.
✓ BCAA supplements can help to reduce tiredness
Which can significantly boost your workout. This is one of the key reasons which they are recommended to take before your workout.
✓ BCAA reduce muscle soreness, meaning you can push even harder the days following intense exercise.
BCAA create the optimum muscle building environment within your body which can be harder to accomplish as you age.
BCAAs are a great way for those over the age of 35
To boost the amount of muscle they can build. Even younger lifters who want that extra edge would benefit from these amino acids, especially leucine – having been shown to increase protein synthesis by up to 145%.
BCAAs are also excellent for people following specific diets, or eating schedules such as Intermittent Fasting.
For Fasted Cardio:
BCAAs are incredibly beneficial to take pre-workout during a fast to fuel your muscles, giving you energy and encouraging them to grow whilst you burn fat!
For vegetarians or low protein diets:
When a diet is low in branched chain amino acids, which can occur in vegetarian or low-protein diets, supplementation can be beneficial for those interested in muscle recovery and performance-enhancing properties of branched chain amino acids.
The most beneficial time to supplement branched chain amino acids may be before, during and after exercise.