What are BCAA's? Sure, they stand for Branch Chain Amino Acids but what do they do? When do we take them? Are they even useful for training? Our supplements explained section covers it all!
Branch chain amino acid supplements are made up of essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, namely Leucine, Iso-Leucine and Valine. The use of BCAA is to prevent the loss of muscle during a cut and also to keep your strength levels at par, while you are trying to reduce your calories. BCAA rich foods help in healing the muscles and prevent your body from going catabolic during exercise. Two types of BCAA supplements exsist: all day and intra-workout.
Because BCAA supplements are divided into all day and intra-workout (between your workout), the ratios of these amino acids is what you need to look into. For pre/post workout consume 1 scoop of a BCAA supplement that is in the ratio of 2:1:1 meaning half of the supplement will be Leucine and for good value, because Leucine is the most anabolic amino acid there is, and 25% each would be Valine and Iso-leucine. For all day usage this ratio can vary from 4:1:1 all the way to 8x Leucine. Since BCAA supplements usually come in delicious flavours, it is a great alternative for anyone looking to move away from aerated canned sodas and other junk.
Numerous; Leucine not only promotes protein synthesis but also but is necessary for wound recovery of muscle and bones. Iso-leucine on the other hand prevents fatigue, gives you energy and promotes hemoglobin formation and Valine is useful in the production of nitrogen which is further required for the production of muscle. Quite simply put, during the body fat loss stage the body will also reduce muscle as well as fat to cope with the energy requirements and if you’re working out, then the your body will require even more energy and thus burn even more muscle. BCAA’s thus not only increase the rate of protein synthesis, but also increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis. Not only that, BCAA’s will also help you improve your workout intensity.
Now some people might say that BCAA’s aren’t needed because they are already present in Whey. This however is misleading because whey has additional calories, whereas a BCAA supplement will not. This can be a life saviour for those who count their calories! Furthermore, BCAA rich foods will absorb directly into the bloodstream as opposed to Whey protein, which will go through the full digestion process first.
While BCAA supplement powder can be consumed by everyone on a daily basis and especially for those who are dieting and wanting to preserve their muscle mass, it is advised that diabetics should not indulge in BCAA’s because the flavouring does cause an insulin spike. After the advice of your doctor, you can see whether he/she advises you to take unflavoured BCAA’s
So do grab your BCAA’s because it will serve as an essential tool to get ripped!