BCAAs: The Secret Sauce To Building Muscle
You can’t fake fitness. Anyone who’s ever set foot in a gym will tell you this. It is achieved through sweat, hard graft and determination. Still, this doesn’t stop us from searching for a ‘Holy Grail’ to help us along our fitness journey - and why should it? Have you considered the benefits of adding supplements into your fitness regime? A healthy body is not kept by gym sessions alone, and intense exercise can take its toll. So, perhaps it’s time to think about how you can maximise results and minimise the stress on your body.
This is where BCAA’s come in.
What are BCAA’s?
Simply put, the BCAA or ‘Branched Chain Amino Acid’ is a building block of protein. There are 9 essential Amino Acids, but let’s focus on the three most important: Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. These make up BCAA Supplements. Leucine has the biggest impact on the production of muscle proteins. Isoleucine and Valine regulate your blood sugar levels and produce energy. Your body can’t make these BCAA’s, but they make up 35-40% of all of your essential Amino Acids.
So, where can we get them? People with a low rate of activity get enough of them through animal proteins, such as dairy products or meats. But if you have a high rate of activity, or are focusing on building muscle, it is beneficial for you to increase your intake by using a supplement.
How will BCAA’s help me?
If you’re looking to build muscle and keep lean, BCAA’s are a perfect supplement for you. They increase muscle protein synthesis, meaning you’ll see better results after your workout and be less likely to experience muscle damage. They are especially effective for those who favour resistance training. What’s more, they help to reduce fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise – so you can take fewer rest days and even make the stairs after leg day!
We’ve all experienced the post-workout sugar craving and if we’re being honest, we’ve all given in to it at least once. BCAA’s regulate your blood sugar level while you work out and prevent a dip in your glucose level, meaning you won’t surrender to a chocolate bar after your session.
Arguably, the most important benefit of BCAA’s is that they stall the breakdown of muscle during periods of inactivity. We work hard to achieve and maintain muscle, and it’s incredibly frustrating for all of that effort to seemingly go to waste when we have to take some time out. BCAA’s preserve muscle and continue to promote protein synthesis even while you’re inactive, so if you’re taking some time out or going through a period of fasting, there’s no need to panic about rapidly losing condition.
BCAA’s vs Whey Protein
The best way to approach this would be to think about the fuel required both during and what is needed after a workout.
During a workout, your body breaks down protein in order to create energy and perform. Having a ready source of these essential proteins can boost that required energy and prevent any unwanted muscle breakdown.
Post-workout the body needs to refuel and replenish lost protein in order to repair and grow. This is better provided by a high protein post-workout supplement.
So can they both be taken together?
Absolutely, BCAAs are the building blocks of proteins. However, as a supplement, they have slightly different roles and in-fact complement each other.
When should I take BCAA supplements?
BCAAs supplements are quickly digested, absorbed, and are also immediately taken into your circulation system and muscles. This means they should ideally be taken either up to 30 minutes before or even while exercising. Mr. Alpha offers BCAA supplements in powder form, simply to be mixed with water which makes them ideal for hydration during intense workouts. They are quickly absorbed and don't cause any gut inconvenience that is often linked with other protein sources.