Do you take BCAA’s? Learn more about the benefits of using these supplements and the impact they can have on your workout.
What’s in your post-workout shake? The answer to that question probably depends on your goals. A long distance runner will consume a great deal of fast-acting carbohydrates, in combination with electrolytes in order to help replenish the fluids lost during exercise. Football players, bodybuilders, and anybody else who wants to put on muscle might enjoy a whey protein concoction, with a little creatine thrown in for good effect. Casual joggers and general health enthusiasts are likely to be happy with a fruit smoothie. All of these groups, though, are missing out on a supplement which could make a real difference to their workouts.
What Are BCAAs?
BCAA stands for Branch Chain Amino Acid. That might sound scary, but there’s no need to be concerned. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and are contained in all food. When we eat food, its constituents are broken down within our bodies and the amino acids are used to form new tissue. This could be hair, blood cells, or muscle. All of the amino acids are contained in whole proteins, such as that in meat, fish, and most protein shakes. The ‘Branch Chain’ term is attached to a group of 3 amino acids in particular – leucine, isoleucine and valine – which have been shown to have a disproportionately beneficial effect on our muscles. These 3 substances are separated from whole proteins before being sold as a single supplement.
BCAAs Could Help You
Supplementing with BCAAs has been shown to have a variety of positive effects. Most importantly, there is strong evidence that taking BCAAs during and/or after a workout can increase protein synthesis above and beyond control levels. What’s the significance of this? It means that taking a BCAA supplement will help your body to recover from exercise more quickly and efficiently, even in comparison with somebody who drinks a regular protein shake which contains all of the amino acids. Multiple studies confirm that supplementing with BCAAs will reduce muscle soreness as well as increase both strength and muscle gain. Aside from being researched in the context of sports and exercise, this group of amino acids are also used in a clinical setting to assist burn victims in rebuilding tissue.
How Should You Take Them?
During and after exercise, your muscle cells are crying out for BCAAs, and this is the window which you should target. Tablets or capsules can easily be washed down with water or a protein shake immediately before or after a workout, and will be able to swiftly get to work and help your muscles to rebuild themselves. If your supplement is in the form of a powder, then you can mix it with any shake or sports drink – but beware, it can have quite a strong taste!
This is a guest post from Tom Sykes a contributing writer, blogger and personal trainer who’s currently using Nature’s Best BCAA supplements.