BCAA’s

bcaa'sOne popular supplement that you might have heard about lately is BCAA’s.  I didn’t know much about what a BCAA supplement was used for or even contained until this past year.  So I figured I would do a write up of the basics and when/why I use my BCAA supplement in case you were wondering about it or thinking of using one yourself.

What are BCAA’s?

The first logical question you might have is, “what are BCAA’s?“.  Well BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids.  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and can be broken down in to essential and non-essential amino acids.  BCAA’s are essential amino acids and cannot be made by your body, you have to get them through your diet.  The three BCAA’s that we’re concerned with are leucine, isoleucine and valine.  They get the name ‘branched chain’ from their chemical structure which looks somewhat like branches.  The BCAA’s make up roughly a third of your muscle mass in your body so as you can imagine they are important.

Why Supplement with BCAA’s?

We know that BCAA’s are important, but why supplement with them?  Well if you’re not doing intense exercise or looking to build muscle, then you don’t really need to.  You can get all the BCAA’s you need from food, but they will take longer to digest and get broken down if that’s where you’re getting them from.  The advantage of a BCAA supplement is that the BCAA’s are broken down and ready to be absorbed right away.  There’s not waiting 2-3 hours for your body to break down the protein you ate in a meal to get the BCAA’s.

When you can get BCAA’s very quickly, it can really help improve your workouts.  BCAA’s can:

  • help increase energy levels as they are metabolized in the muscle
  • reduce protein breakdown during your workout
  • increase the rate and capacity of protein synthesis (muscle growth)
  • reduce the amount of tryptophan that goes to your brain, which in turn helps you fight fatigue

Luecine in particular has been shown to be great for building muscle, which is why you see most supplements state they have a 2:1:1 ratio, meaning they are 2 parts leucine, 1 part isoleucine and 1 part valine.  Basically BCAA’s have been shown to help you train harder, build muscle and help retain muscle while you’re losing body fat.  So if you’re trying to lose some weight or just drop your body fat but don’t want to lose the muscle you’ve build, BCAA’s can be very helpful for you.

How I use BCAA’s

Lastly I just wanted to share how I’ve been using BCAA’s.  I’ve tried a couple brands to date.  So far I’ve tried USP Labs Modern BCAA’s which was ok and right now I’m using Cellucore BCAA’s which I like a lot better.  When I run out of this I plan on ordering some Xtend from Scivation as I’ve read some really good reviews about that product.

How I take them is actually during my workout.  I put 5 grams in my water bottle and sip it throughout the workout.  It does seem like it keeps my energy levels and strength up to get through some of my really intense workouts.  I know you can use them before your workout or after as well to help with recovery, but for me I find that taking them during my workout helps the most.

So if you were looking for some info on BCAA’s hopefully this article was helpful for you.  I’d love to hear your experience too, so feel free to leave a comment down below.

 

 

 

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  1. […] past week I wrote a couple articles that hopefully you found helpful.  The first was on BCAA’s.  I hadn’t even heard of them as a supplement until recently, but there has been a lot of […]

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