The importance of BCAA’s (Branched-Chain Amino Acids): put simply, they have an abundance of proven health benefits. Athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone interested in body health is most likely already familiar with this. But if you are new to the fitness scene, or looking to break in, you might be overwhelmed, or have a lot of questions. We hope that information ahead should help clear up some of those questions! BCAAs are often found in protein-rich foods including meat, eggs, and dairy products – aka, the foods that boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance! They are referred to as essential, meaning they can only be consumed by what you eat or drink. They are not something your body produces naturally. For that reason, you need them to ensure proper nutrition.
When Should You Take BCAAs?For the best results, you should take BCAA supplements around 15 to 30 minutes before a workout, or during your workout, to prevent fatigue. These supplements are known to increase muscle growth due to the leucine that activates a pathway in the body which stimulates muscle protein synthesis. Taking BCAAs before a workout can also reduce post-workout muscle soreness, DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness), and overall fatigue. There have been studies that suggest BCAA supplements decrease protein breakdown during exercise and speed up recovery time for muscle soreness. For people who are new to supplements and fitness, this means you will be able to get back into your routine a lot quicker than you would without BCAA supplements! And for people who are already heavily into fitness, it means you will be developing more muscle and experiencing less fatigue. Sounds like a win, win, and it is.
Why Should You Take BCAAs?For people who are energized by the idea of building up muscle, BCAAs are the obvious solution. BCAAs consist of leucine, valine, and isoleucine. These three amino acids account for more than a third of the muscle composition in the human body. Furthermore, they allow the rapid deployment of energy in muscle cells. Think about how much muscle growth and muscle repair you are missing out on by not getting the right amount of those three amino acids. It could make a world of difference on your body and your muscle development by simply introducing BCAA supplements into your diet.
BCAAs or Whey Protein?While both have their perks, you might be asking yourself which is better for you specifically. Let’s start with BCAAs. Try to think of them in terms of the universal amino acids. They can be converted to other essential amino acids similar to the way 0 negative blood can be converted to any other blood type. Taking 5g of BCAAs is the same as taking 5g of whey, but because whey doesn’t convert the same way, BCAAs are often more expensive, and for good reason. You should always read the label on the supplements you are taking to get a better understanding of what you are ingesting. While whey supplies you with proteins, it is the amount of BCAAs in the whey mixture that supplies you with the other amino acids to make it a complete protein. Check the ratio to see what you are getting. Alternatively, if your focus is more on building up muscle while cutting down on weight, you will want to buy BCAAs. One scoop of BCAAs generally consists of 4 calories, whereas one scoop of whey generally consists of about 100 calories. This means you are burning off the calories from the whey before you are losing weight. The lower caloric content of the BCAAs maximizes your weight loss by utilizing the caloric deficit in the BCAA supplement.
So, What Now?At the end of the day, it is important to consider these qualities of BCAA supplements, which have been shown to not only build muscle, but decrease muscle fatigue, and alleviate muscle soreness. They have been beneficial to athletes, fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders, and people into muscle growth for years. They are a staple of the supplement community and continue to sell well due to their abundance of benefits.