What Are BCAA Supplements?
BCAA (branched chain amino acids) supplements are a combination of essential amino acids used to prevent muscle damage during intense workouts. Even though these supplements are not as widely used as protein or creatine, they are continuously rising in popularity at the moment. The essential amino acids included in BCAA’s are lecucine, valine, and isoleucine. These amino’s make up about 1/3 of muscle tissue. These essential nutrients are very important for the production of proteins in the human body. Because the number of these amino acids is high in the muscles, adding them into your system via supplements help reduce the chances of muscle damage and increase muscle repair.
How Do These Supplements Work?
Most of the time after the completion of a high intensity workout, the body is in a state where it breaks down muscle tissue to use to fuel and repair damaged muscles. This is called being in a catabolic (muscle wasting) state. We don’t want this! So by taking a BCAA supplement before, during, or after your high intensity workout, you will be supplying your muscles with muscle building nutrients that will aid in rebuilding your muscles quicker, creating a anabolic (muscle building) state. The body activates its muscle growth signals and releases a pathway that increases the production of protein. By combining amino acids with the natural protein-producing rhythm of your body, you maximize the results from your workout. These supplements act independently and don’t interact with the protein pathways of your body.
Due to this, when BCAA supplements are used post workout, the body produces a lot more protein, which is very important for bodybuilders, athletes, and for the general population as well. BCAA’s actually decrease the recovery time of the muscles as they increase the muscle growth rate. Another important thing that you should know is that there is a difference between non-essential and essential amino acids: our bodies cannot produce essential AA’s naturally. This is why BCAA supplements are recommended to use when training the muscles.
What Are The Benefits?
Amino acids are very important for growing muscle mass. Sadly, these are not produced naturally within our bodies and intense exercise burns them very fast. If amino acids are not replenished when they need to be, you will not make a lot of progress in terms of muscle gain. This is why BCAA supplements are important – they provide quietum plus your body with important essential amino acids that your body requires. BCAA supplements also help your muscles recover faster than normally – this is perhaps the greatest benefit of all. If your muscles feel very sore after workouts, these supplements can be of great use to you.
BCAA supplements also increase endurance because they provide your muscles with glucose after it has been depleted. They also allow you to train harder than before and for a longer period of time. Branched chain amino acids improve your immune system as well and even help you shed weight. Keep in mind that it’s hard to train your muscles if you are sick, not to mention how hard it is to grow them. When training hard for a longer period of time, you risk compromising your immune system and developing infections. BCAA supplements help prevent these problems thanks to the ingredients that they contain.
What Are The Best Ways to Use Them?
BCAA supplements are best taken pre workout, post workout, and in the morning. The truth is that there really isn’t an exact time as to when you need to take them; however, it’s important to train hard in order to maximize the effects. These supplements however won’t magically improve your body – you will still have to work hard for it. What amino acids can do for you, however, is optimize your muscle growth and enable you to train harder than before. We’ve learned that BCAA supplements achieve this by providing your body with essential amino acids that it cannot produce.
These AA’s are essential for your body and allow your muscles to rebuild and repair themselves. Amino acids are depleted from your system after intense workout sessions and your body cannot produce them naturally – BCAA supplements provide you with plenty of these. They can also help you lose fat because they help you build more muscle. Amino acids are thus very important for eliminating unwanted body fat. By eating a high-protein diet and taking BCAA supplements, you not only improve the performance of your muscles, but can also lose fat.
Tip – It’s been a widely known “secret” amongst many bodybuilders that in order to stop your body from being catabolic after your workout, you need to spike your insulin levels by consuming simple carbohydrates (sugars) right after your workout and just before or while taking your protein and/or BCAA’s. Simple carbohydrates are a big no-no in the bodybuilding world, but here’s a little exception that some who have a sweet tooth (like me) can really appreciate and get behind.