BCAAs are one of the most beneficial as well as most popular supplements in a nutrition and fitness program. Almost every bodybuilder or athlete has supplemented them, and for good reason.
What are BCAAs?
BCAAs, which stand for branched-chain amino acids, are made up of three amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The body needs roughly 20 amino acids in order to build and repair muscle, however 8 of these amino acids cannot be made within the body itself. The fact that these amino acids need to be consumed via food or supplementation is what makes these essential amino acids. These branched-chain amino acids are among the most vital of the essential amino acids that the body requires in terms of muscle growth. A complete amino acid profile is needed in order for the body to reach its maximum potential in terms of muscle gain, mass and fitness.
What do they Do?
Branched-chain amino acids are a vital part of any fitness regimen. For one, they serve as a fuel source for muscles during metabolic stress. When the body is under metabolic stress, such as during a strenuous workout, BCAAs work directly with the muscle cells to conduct protein synthesis. This protein synthesis leads to muscle growth, a goal that many in the gym are looking to achieve. They also work to prevent protein catabolism, or muscle breakdown, by becoming a fuel source for muscles during exercise.
Branch-Chained Amino Acids from Food or Supplements?
BCAAs can be found naturally in foods such as red meats, dairy products, eggs and whey protein products. Though the BCAAs found in these foods are beneficial, they are bound to other amino acids, which means they must first be digested before the body can utilize them. Due to digestion being required, it can be several hours before the body can absorb the amino acids into the bloodstream for use.
For this reason BCAA supplements are most often the best way to provide the body with a quick source of amino acids. BCAAs supplements are free form, which means they require no digestion and are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream.
When to take Them?
When you take BCAAs is entirely up to you and based on your training and preference. BCAAs have a two-pronged use in the body, which means they are beneficial both during exercise as well as after.
BCAAs taken before a workout are used directly as a fuel source. This allows for an improvement in performance during either your weight lifting session or cardio session. Taking BCAAs after a workout will help to speed in the recovery of muscles by repairing them. This leads to a quicker recovery time and can help to prevent the effects of overtraining.
Whether you are a full time bodybuilder or just someone who likes to stay fit, BCAAs should be an essential part of your training program. Vital for muscle growth as well as muscle recovery, BCAA supplementation might be just what you need to take your training to the next level.