Should You Add BCAA’s To Your Workout Regime
Are BCAA’s a mystery to you? Have you ever felt like giving up midway through a hike or a run, wishing there was a magical solution that would push you through the remainder of your workout? If so, you’re not alone! Unfortunately, there are no magical shortcuts when looking to get fitter, faster, or stronger instead of dedicated training and hard work. Yet there are ways of supporting your body in the aftermath of exercise.
The answer? Incorporating branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) into your diet. These amino acids are essential building blocks that your body uses to make proteins. But they do a whole lot more including pushing for muscle recovery. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Are BCAA’s
BCAAs are three of the nine essential amino acids. The BCAAs are:
These amino acids are grouped as they are the only ones to have a chain that branches off to one side.
Unlike nonessential amino acids, your body cannot make BCAAs which means it’s very important that you get them from your diet or supplements! Roughly 50% of all essential amino acids found in muscle protein are BCAAs. This means they are essential in promoting muscle repair and recovery.
What Do BCAAs Do
BCAAs are also great for fueling your skeletal muscles during training. By taking a closer look at the best bcaa for keto or whatever diet you follow, BCAAs might give you the very edge you need to push your limits when training!
Using BCAA as supplements also preserves your glycogen stores which is the main fuel source that your muscles use during the process of producing energy. This provides your body with a reliable source of energy for you to tap into as you go through your workout.
Larger glycogen stores also prevent your body from breaking down any muscle proteins for energy instead. This is where BCAA supplements are great in terms of safeguarding and sustaining your muscles, resulting in more reps, energy, and gains.
How Do They Work
BCAAs make up a lot of the body’s total amino acid pool. They represent anywhere from 35 to 40% of essential amino acids that can be found in your body, with approximately 14 to 18% of these being found in your muscles.
BCAAs are usually broken down in the muscle rather than the liver which is a key reason why they play such a huge role in energy production during any type of exercise. However, BCAAs play other roles that aid in recovery, too! We’ll get into this below.
When To Take BCAAs
BCAA supplements can be consumed before, during, and after exercising. Other than directly consuming BCAAs in your diet, you can usually find relevant supplements in a powdered format that must then be mixed with water.
As we have mentioned, whey protein drinks can provide an entire lot of the BCAA amino acids. But to get optimal results from BCAA supplements, it’s best to use their supplement form in conjunction with a balanced and healthy diet.
Types of meat including fish, chicken, and red meat in addition to eggs and soy are full of BCAAs. This means it’s pretty easy to inject these amino acids into your diet!
For an additional leucine boost, you should focus on incorporating whole-wheat foods and brown rice into your regular diet. To get more valine foods into your diet you can include grains, dairy, peanuts, and mushrooms. And you can also add foods rich in isoleucine such as cashews and almonds.
How BCAAs Help With Your Workout Recovery
Increase Muscle Growth
One of the most popular uses is to increase levels of muscle growth. Leucine is the particular amino acid that activates a particular body pathway that stimulates muscle protein synthesis – the process of making muscle.
Supplements like whey protein contain all of the necessary amino acids that are needed to properly build muscle.
Decrease Muscle Soreness
It’s completely normal to feel a little sore a day or so after completing a workout. This is especially true if your body isn’t used to exercising. Incorporating BCAA into your lifestyle has been shown to reduce muscle soreness by decreasing the overall rate of muscle breakdown.
BCAA supplements are commonly taken to enhance exercise performance. BCAAs will reduce the production of serotonin in your brain which will help you to feel less tired as you exercise. This will likely increase the overall efficiency of your workout.
Promote Weight Loss
BCAAs could also help with weight loss. The higher your muscle mass, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn due to an increased overall metabolic rate.
Regulating Blood Sugar
BCAAs are also great at regulating blood sugar levels by preserving both liver and muscle sugar stores while also stimulating your cells to take sugar in from the bloodstream. As a result, they can also work to prevent more severe conditions like liver disease.
How Many BCAAs Do You Need For Recovery?
When consuming BCAA supplements you’ll want to ensure you’re getting at least five to six grams to properly kickstart the recovery process. If you aren’t getting enough of this then they aren’t going to help you kickstart the recovery process by stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
Leucine serves as the main trigger for muscle protein synthesis. It’s best to make sure you’re getting anywhere between 2.5 and 3 grams of leucine.
For other BCAAs – the valine and isoleucine – you will want to get around half of the amount of leucine. If you’re consuming 3 grams of leucine then you’ll want to have around 1.5 of both valine and isoleucine.
While leucine is a potent stimulator of muscle protein synthesis by itself, its synergistic combination is what promotes it.
Essentially, BCAAs can help with your recovery in many vital ways. They can muscle growth and weight loss while reducing exercise fatigue, muscle soreness, and even regulating blood sugar levels. It’s no wonder so many people turn to these amino acids for muscle growth and recovery!
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