What are BCAAs and Why Should We Take them

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So what are BCAAs and why take them? BCAAs are essential aminos called branched-chain amino acids. BCAAs are three amino acids that play a big role in your body’s daily function and also have a major impact on your workout performance results. The three amino acids that are classified as BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. I like inner armour BCAAs all natural because it doesn’t have any dyes or fake sugars in them. If I’m working out and trying to give my body essential nutrients it needs for muscle building and repair, I want to make sure I am using the best possible product.

BCAAs reduce muscle breakdown and increased protein synthesis, which leads many to claim they help improve a person’s workout.  BCAAs compete with the amino acid tryptophan for entry into the brain, where tryptophan can than be converted to the neurotransmitter called serotonin. BCAA supplementation reduces the amount of tryptophan that enters the brain, and therefore reduces the amount of serotonin produced.  Increased serotonin can make the brain think the body is fatigued, so reducing that serotonin will allow for a more intense, and therefore better workout.  

Whey protein is high in BCAAs but experts say this isn’t the most effective strategy because even though whey protein is fast digesting, it still takes several hours for the amino acids to be released and absorbed into the bloodstream. BCAAs, when taken straight as a supplement, are absorbed into your bloodstream almost immediately making it a better choice for muscle repair, and some even say for a quick energy boost.  They are really good for people that cannot, or choose, not to consume whey protein. This isn’t to say whey protein is bad, because it isn’t, but consuming BCAAs in a supplement form will allow their benefits to work faster and more efficiently.  

BCAA supplementation may be useful for gaining mass and maintaining muscle mass while on a calorie-deficit diet. Being on a low calorie diet to loose weight can cause muscle loss, because when your body needs energy, the muscle is the fastest source, so your body goes after that first. Getting rid of the fat is the goal, not our muscle we are working so hard to build! If you are trying to loose weight and gain muscle, a proper diet of protein, enough healthy calories, and a steady regiment of the proper supplements is all necessary. Finding out what macros (grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats) work best for your body is a great way to get the body you are after, and having a good way to track your progress is essential to your success. The scale is one tool for measuring your progress along with how your clothes fit, how you look and feel, and using an accurate device like the BOD POD to keep an eye on your body fat composition. The BOD POD results will let you know if your diet and exercise program is working for or against you. In my opinion, my body composition is the most important success measuring tool to me. I don’t care if the scale says I weigh 150 or 130lbs, but I do care what my body fat percentage is and how lean I look. The lower the body fat percentage, the leaner and better your body should look.

The suggested use for the BCAAs I take are as follows:  As a dietary supplement, mix 1 scoop with 16 oz of water and consume before, during and/or after training. BCAA is best taken in one of two ways: 1. As an intra/post workout drink mix. 2. Immediately after exercise and before your post workout shake. A lot of the girls I workout with say their body is in constant repair and they drink BCAAs throughout the entire day. I’m pretty sure I could add more to my daily regiment, however, between a gallon of water, collagen, protein shakes, detox teas and all of the other stuff I drink, I’m not sure how to add more to my program right now.

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