Sometimes, the only time we can fit a workout in is bright and early, at the fifth hour of the day. Without time for breakfast, your workouts may suffer a bit from a lack of energy sources. A quick fix to this problem? Guzzling down a pre-workout, and taking some BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) to go..
HOW IT WORKS
- BCAAs are amino acids that turn into whatever protein we need to repair or grow
- These are especially good if your nutrition is not the best
- BCAAs are how your body makes muscle tissue. More of these = more muscle.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a very common supplement used by athletes and the common gym rat these days. Amino acids are molecules that are used as the building blocks of proteins in our bodies. Basically what happens is you ingest protein-based foods or supplements, the body breaks it down into its building blocks (amino acids), these building blocks travel through our bodies to sites that may need protein (damaged muscles), and these building blocks are assembled into whatever proteins our body needs for growth and repair.
There are 20 amino acids considered when talking about the human body, and 9 of those amino acids are categorized as essential. All this means is that we are not capable of making these amino acids, and need to acquire them through our nutrition.
As we talked about earlier with whey protein, it may be in your best interest to invest in amino acid supplements if your nutrition has some gaps in it. Why? Because a large portion of muscle tissue is synthesized using three amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three amino acids are known as the branched chain amino acids, and are what most amino acid formulas are predominantly composed of.
WHY USE THEM
- When you workout your body needs energy sources AKA food, supplements, etc.
- If you don’t have any of those in your system, it breaks down existing muscles and just uses that, because your body DGAF
- Feed your body BCAAs pre and mid-workout so it doesn’t steal your muscles
These amino acids are responsible for what’s known as “muscle sparing” because during exercise these amino acids can be used as energy sources for working muscles. This is important because even though it may not seem like it, our bodies are on a biological see-saw between anabolism (building up) and catabolism (breaking down).
Unfortunately, the human body’s first priority isn’t getting jacked. In fact, all it cares about is survival, and there is an astronomical amount of chemical processes that it’s capable of doing in order to do so. When the body is faced with “physical stress” (exercise) it demands energy to keep up. If there are no energy sources from outside sources (food, supplements, etc.), it will gladly tap into already developed muscle tissue and break it down to its building blocks and use it for energy.
Although it is a huge pain in the ass, it is actually an incredible evolutionary advantage that was better utilized when we didn’t have constant access to food and supplements. How do we avoid this? That is where the BCAA supplements come to the rescue. Instead of burning off that hard-earned muscle, you will be feeding your body with what it needs during physical stress, sparing your muscles from being broken down and used for physical work.
With that being said, it is best to take BCAAs pre-workout, while sipping on some during your workout to keep your engine running longer. What makes this different from whey you ask? Just think of it this way, whey protein is good for building muscle, BCAAs are good for sparing and maintaining that muscle being built. Both serve a relevant purpose in your fitness journey.
Curious if BCAAs fit into your health and fitness journey? Comment below!