If you’re serious about your workout sessions, you probably know already that supplements can aid in recovery and improve physical performance. One of the popular supplements for sustaining strength, endurance, and energy during and after working out are branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
BCAAs consist of three essential amino acids your body cannot synthesize. Since they can only be obtained in your diet, it is why many athletes and fitness enthusiasts take them as supplements.
But it’s worth pointing out that not all BCAA supplements are created equal, and they may not be suitable for everyone. Navigating the BCAAs vs Pre-Workout debate? It’s all about what fuels your workouts best. To help you get started, go over this beginner’s guide and explore the best BCAA supplements for your fitness goals.
What Are Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)?
Proteins are indispensable components in the human body made of 20 different amino acids. Your body naturally produces 11 of them, while the other nine come from the food you eat. Out of the nine are isoleucine, valine, and leucine, the important trio that makes up the branched-chain amino acids.
As the building blocks of proteins, BCAAs suppress protein breakdown. But unlike other amino acids, they have special effects on muscles, which make them an efficient energy source during exercise or workouts.
You can get these BCAAs from a wide variety of foods. But depending on your lifestyle and the food available to you, it can be hard to obtain the right amount and variety of these amino acids. Regardless of that, BCAAs are commonly rich in the following sources:
- dairy products
- nuts and seeds
- meat, poultry, and fish
Besides these natural food sources, there are available supplements in the market with the best organic bcaa for you. If you think you don’t get enough of these amino acids in your diet, taking BCAA supplements would help you make up for them.
What Benefits You Can Get From BCAA Supplements?
It’s worth noting that BCAA supplements are not a quick fix to achieve your fitness goals. But they can help you get more out of your daily workout sessions. Highlighted below are the top benefits you can get from these supplements.
One of the key benefits of BCCAs is their ability to stimulate protein synthesis. It’s basically a metabolic process that leads to muscle growth. Certain evidence showed that taking BCAA supplements along with strength training can help increase muscle protein synthesis and build more muscle mass over time.
But this might only work if you’re not able to get the complete protein requirements from the whole foods. If not, an extra protein or BCAA might be unnecessary to increase muscle protein synthesis.
Help Burn More Fat
BCAAs can also have a significant effect on fat loss. Specifically, it helps increase fat oxidation or the process of breaking down fatty acids. When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s most likely the excess body fat you want to lose and not the muscle mass. With BCAA supplements, you can burn up those fats faster and preserve your muscle mass at the same time.
However, it doesn’t mean you can eat pizza at every meal and expect the fat to melt away because of BCAAs. Keep in mind that you will still have to lower your carb intake to a certain degree if you want to maximize the effects of BCAA supplements on fat loss.
Reduce Muscle Soreness
During strenuous exercise or workouts, the concentrations of muscle damage indicators in the blood rise. But BCAA supplements help lower the levels of these muscle-damaging enzymes, allowing your muscles to recover faster after a high-intensity workout. As a result, you’d be more able to train harder and longer with less muscle pain.
But when it comes to muscle soreness, remember that you have to keep moving. Even with BCAA supplements, you need to have active recovery days to increase blood flow and help your body to a full recovery.
How To Take BCAA Supplements For Best Results?
Generally, BCAA supplements can be in the form of powders or tablets. However, BCAA powders are a more common option. It’s because the digestion time of BCAA tablets is typically slower, and you have to take quite a few to get the required dosage. But in terms of convenience, capsules are handier as you don’t have to mix them with water or any drink.
Whether or not you’re using the powder or tablets, there are some essential points you have to consider when taking BCAA supplements. That is if you want to get the best results.
- Pre-Workout. You can take a BCAA supplement before working out. While studies on dosage might differ, it’s possible to get optimum results if you take the 10 grams of the supplement per serving half an hour before your workout session.
- During Workout. You can also use a BCAA supplement during your workout session. Doing so may help improve your endurance and combat fatigue while exercising. A minimum dosage of 4grams per serving can provide you more energy to power through an intense workout.
- Post-Workout. You need proteins, carbs, and healthy fats to help your body recover after doing a high-intensity exercise. Adding your servings of BCAA supplement to your post-workout meal may speed up your recovery. But take note that the optimum time to take might be around half to one hour.
Although before, during, and after a workout are considered the most crucial time to consume BCAAs, you can also take extra servings throughout the day. You can split up 10 grams through breakfast, between meals, and before your bedtime.
But besides timing and dosage, bear in mind that you have to take these supplements with a healthy and balanced diet to get the best results.
There are many BCAA supplements in the market, but the best option depends on what you want to achieve. Each BCAA supplement may focus on a particular function, such as for muscle gain or weight loss. So, try to be more specific with your goal. Remember that with or without these supplements, it would still take a lot of work, discipline, and commitment to make a big difference in your results.