fitness

     

  

    

       

         

           
               
             

             
             

           

         

        
         
           

            
               Benefits of BCAAs   
            

            
               How Branched Chain Amino Acids Can Benefit Your Performance and Optimisation   
            

            

           
         
        

       

    

  


          This Blog At A Glance…    Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are so called due to their structure, consisting of the three essential Amino acids; L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine and are the building blocks of protein, responsible for a host of potential physique and performance enhancing effects.    BCAAs have been proven to prevent muscle breakdown during strenuous or prolonged exercise and play an important role in the overall synthesis of proteins as well as keeping blood sugar levels consistent and stable.    If you are consuming adequate BCAAs, in the right quantities and at the right times, the research, as well as personal and client experience has shown that you will definitely reap the rewards of the many proven benefits.    If you are serious about your training and getting results then it should be a ‘no brainer’ that supplementation with BCAAs on a regular basis.             What Are BCAAs?  Amino acids can come in many forms but Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are so called due to their structure, consisting of the three essential Amino acids; L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine.  These Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are responsible for a host of potential physique and performance enhancing effects, including increased protein synthesis, energy production, muscle building and enhanced recovery and are essential for increasing and maintaining maximum muscle performance.  BCAAs are considered ‘essential’ in that they are not produced by the body and must be obtained through our diet. Basically, If they are not present in the food we eat, we won’t get enough of these essential nutrients and ultimately we wouldn't be unable to survive.  Survival issues aside, ensuring your body is supplied with optimal amounts of these Amino Acids will guarantee you can get the extra performance benefits of improving muscle strength, power and endurance.      
   
     “ BCAAs actually comprise around 1/3 of the protein within our muscles and therefore contribute to the recovery, regeneration and growth of muscle mass. ” 
   
  
 
     Although present naturally within foods, such as dairy products and red meats, supplementing with a good quality Branched Chain Amino Acids supplement are an extremely popular choice amongst athletes, fighter and bodybuilders due to their versatility, cost-effectiveness and ease to consume.  As an added bonus they are also virtually calorie free so wont effect your calorie or macronutrient intake, or bring you out of a fasted state if you train whilst ‘fasted’ or if consumed within part of your 16:8 Intermittent Fasting nutrition strategy.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     How Can BCAAs Help Improve Your Physique and Performance?  BCAAs have been proven to prevent muscle breakdown during strenuous or prolonged exercise and play an important role in the overall synthesis of proteins as well as keeping blood sugar levels consistent and stable.  In fact BCAAs are responsible for up to 40% of blood sugar production during exercise as they are continuously released from the liver and other internal organs into the bloodstream.  Protein synthesis is also directly affected by the amount of L-Leucine in our systems, even more so than Insulin.  As Leucine is degraded during exercise, therefore reducing our bodies ability to synthesise protein, it should go without saying that supplementing with BCAAs to increase Leucine levels both before and during exercise would be of huge benefit to the repair and growth of muscles. [1]   Because it is so important to have Leucine available for protein synthesis, if you do your training and exercise whilst ‘fasted’, or you don’t replenish your protein levels shortly after exercise, you’re going to breakdown more protein than you can rebuild.  The solution to this is to consume adequate BCAAs during this time, especially L-Leucine to actually enhance your protein synthesis.  All of these benefits are, of course, vital for ensuring maximum performance potential and in theory will limit central nervous system fatigue for both endurance as well as strength training athletes.  There is an argument given for not consuming additional BCAAs by people who believe they are consuming enough protein from their diet to actually need them. However, this is misguided as BCAAs are the only amino acids not degraded in the liver; instead they enter the bloodstream directly, increasing the concentration of Amino acids in the muscles and adding to the real performance benefits to be had by taking a good quality BCAA supplement, providing it is available to the body when it is needed.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     How should you use BCAAs for best results?  If you are consuming adequate BCAAs, in the right quantities and at the right times, the research, as well as personal and client experience has shown that you will definitely reap the rewards of the many proven benefits such as;    Lowering lactic acid levels caused during resistance training [2],    Improving muscular oxidation,    Increasing growth hormone circulation,    Directly influencing muscle growth,    Decreasing muscle damage and    Dramatically improving overall recovery.     BCAAs are also directly used as an energy source during exercise, so they are an important fuel supply to keep muscles functioning at an optimal level and keep the mind and concentration levels sharp over a prolonged period. [2]   In addition to all of these benefits, adequate consumption of BCAAs may help manage your body fat levels, minimise any muscle mass loss, and regulate glucose/insulin levels and balance.  Whats more, getting the benefits from BCAAs are extremely simple - as simple as preparing your usual pre, intra and / or your post workout drink or simply adding a scoop of BCAA supplement powder to you usual bottle of water at any other time.  In order to reap the maximum benefits, I would suggest (from personal experience) that you begin supplementing with just 5g of BCAAs per hour of moderate exercise and 10g per hour of intense exercise.  It is best taken by mixing the powdered form into 250ml of water per every 5g and start sipping approximately 10 - 15 minutes before you start your training and then throughout your exercise session.  Also, taking in any form of simple carbohydrate and amino acid combined drink during and after exercise and training can cause an insulin spike, which will help shuttle BCAAs into the cells where they are needed. (This is obviously not a good combination for fasted training).  So, runners, cyclist and triathletes who take energy gels during their training or competition whilst sipping BCAAs from their bottles will really notice a difference in their energy and performance.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In Summary  So, without going to ‘scientific’ and getting too deep into the ‘how’, hopefully you can already see the real benefits you could be giving to your body, and the way it will perform for you when you supply your muscles with enough BCAAs prior to, during and after your chosen training session.  If you are serious about your training and getting results then it should be a ‘no brainer’ that supplementation with BCAAs on a regular basis, and by regular I mean ‘all the time’, will certainly do you no harm and could mean the very real difference between winning and losing in whatever arena you compete.  Those of you who follow a 16:8 Intermittent fasting nutrition strategy, such as is highlighted in   The ha’k:d Plan   ,  should be consistently supplementing with BCAAs without a second thought and as a matter of course, in order to keep the recovery and muscle building process rolling along during the fasted phase of this optimal strategy.  References;    Kimball SR, Jefferson LS. Regulation of protein synthesis by branched-chain amino acids. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2001;4:39–43.    (De Palo EF et al 2001). Plasma lactate, GH and GH-binding protein levels in exercise following BCAA supplementation in athletes.       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


    

 
   
     
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Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein and are responsible for a host of potential physique and performance enhancing effects, including increased protein synthesis, energy production, muscle building and enhanced recovery and are essential for increasing and maintaining maximum muscle performance.