If you’ve been involved in the fitness industry, had a personal trainer, or have a friend who loves to go to the gym, you’ve probably heard of BCAA’s before and how it’s important to take them, but why? That’s what we’ll be exploring today in this article.
What are BCAA’s?
BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids) are made up of three essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAA’s are essential because our bodies are not able to make them out of other amino acids in the body, which is why they must be ingested on their own through food sources or supplementation.
Do BCAA’s Aid in Muscly Recovery?
A study done by Pharmacobiochemistry Laboratory in 2008 revealed that taking BCAA’s before and after exercise can help to decrease induced muscle damage, which can reduce Delayed-Offset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS is what is commonly experienced after a vigorous day at the gym. This study also found that BCAA’s can promote muscle-protein synthesis (MPS). MPS is responsible for the rebuilding and repairing of muscle cells, and this process is partially responsible for how we become stronger and faster after intense exercise.
A separate study investigated the effects of BCAA’s on recovery immediately after a weight training session and found that the participants who took BCAA’s recovered strength faster and were less sore compared to those who did not supplement with the BCAA’s.
So far we learned that BCAA’s help to reduce delayed-offset muscle soreness, increase and promote muscle-protein synthesis, and decrease the amount of time needed for us to recover from a workout. Pretty awesome stuff, right! But we’re not done yet…
BCAA & Dieting = Match Made in Heaven
The Department of Health and Human Performance of the College of Charleston conducted a study that found that ingesting BCAA’s will help athletes and active adults lose more fat mass on a diet, while also helping them maintain lean muscle mass. They also found that the participants who ingested BCAA gained significantly more strength than the participants who did not supplement with the BCAA’s even though they both ate, trained, and rested precisely the same. In fact, the group that did not supplement with BCAA’s lost strength in their Bench Press while the group that did supplement gained strength.
This alone should be enough reason to convince you to start supplementing your diet with BCAA’s. Losing weight usually means losing fat at the expense of also losing muscle mass and losing muscle mass is not a good thing. The higher muscle mass percentage you have, the more calories you burn at rest, the stronger you are, and the more support your bones and joints have. BCAA’s reduce the reduction of lean muscle mass on a restrictive diet, meaning that body composition changes are greater and more beneficial to the user.
Where to get BCAA’s and How to Take Them?
BCAA’s can be taken in powder form mixed with water or ingested in pill form. Both are equally as good, so your preference should dictate this decision.
BCAA’s are easy to find. Search for them on Google and a billion results will show up. Am I exaggerating? Maybe, but honestly, there’s a lot, so here are a couple of my recommendations.
This is my go to BCAA supplement. It has nothing but BCAA's in the formula and it tastes amazing. There are many other flavors if Mango isn't your jam, so if you're looking for a no non-sense supplement. This is it.
This is another great product and serves as a great pre-workout drink because of the added caffeine and nitric oxide supplementation. I love this Iced Cafe flavor because you can have it in the morning as a substitute for your coffee and you'll barely notice the difference. There are tons of other flavors so find one that suits your taste buds best!
This get's the job done with no hassle and no fuss. It's from a trusted brand and is more convienent if shakers aren't your thing or you're constantly on the go.
I hope you enjoyed this article about BCAA's! Let me know what was your favorite part in the comments below and how you use BCAA's to aid yourself on your fitness journey.
- Coach K