The other day in class, I was asked what exactly are BCAAs?
Do we need them? How do they help us? What do they actually DO?
BCAA’s Increase Muscle Protein Synthesis (mTOR). We lift weights and train to build bigger stronger muscles, duh, but exactly how does the building process work? Resistance training triggers protein synthesis, a signal that tells our body to use proteins to construct new muscle tissue. Supplementing with BCAA’s during and after resistance training can increase the protein synthesis signaling, meaning more muscle growth! Even without resistance training BCAA’s can aid in the preservation of lean tissue and help prevent fat gain!
Which brings us to reason number 2…
BCAA’s Increase Fat Burning and Metabolism BCAA’s are made up of three amino acids, Leucine, Iso-leucine, and Valine. Iso-leucine in particular, along with enzymes, is used to break down glucose and fatty acids to be used as energy in the body. This increased energy outflow and fat oxidation allows for a more forgiving metabolism, especially when it comes to carbohydrates. BCAA’s are a great supplement for keeping muscle while staying lean.
BCAA’s improve strength and endurance performance. We all know that a protein rich diet is ideal for packing on lean muscle tissue, however a diet rich in protein can be boosted with the supplementation of BCAA’s particularly Leucine. Leucine increases muscle protein synthesis, thus allowing for more of the proteins you ingest to be used to build new muscle and add more strength. Because BCAA’s increase the efficiency of fat and glucose being burned as energy, having them present in the bloodstream via a dietary source can lead to greater endurance.
BCAA’s slow the uptake of tryptophan to the brain, reducing the feeling of exertion or tiredness brought about by high intensity training. Basically you slow your brain’s way of telling you “I’m exhausted, time to slow down”.
BCAA’s can also decrease soreness experienced from high intensity training. Did you hear that? Less soreness! If you have been unconvinced so far this should begin to sway you.
BCAA’s ability to prevent muscle breakdown and aid in the rebuilding process of skeletal muscles means you experience less post workout soreness. This allows you to train with more intensity, more frequently!
When looking at BCAA supplements remember not all are created equal.
Look for a product with at least 2 grams of Leucine and one that has Leucine making up at least 40 percent of the total content. Commonly a ratio of 2:1:1 (Leucine:Isoleucine:Valine) is found.
To learn more about supplementation or to start your nutrition journey, schedule your Free Nutrition Consult today – crossfitoffthegrid.com/nutrition-coaching