Since I started my blog, more and more people have asked me “What are BCAA’s?”. So I thought that I would write this post to clue you up in simple terms and give you the know how on what you should be looking for when purchasing them.
In simple terms BCAA stands for Branched-chain Amino Acid. It is an amino acid which has aliphatic side-chains with a branch (a central carbon atom bound to three or more carbon atoms). Among the proteinogenic amino acids, there are three BCAAs: Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. Science bit over!
When purchasing you’ll want to see at least a 2:1:1 ratio in amino acid supplements but a 3:1:1 ratio is one of the best BCAA ratios you can find! What this ratio means is that if you bought a 2:1:1 ratio product it has 2 servings of Leucine for every 1 serving of Isolucine and Valine.
This workout supplement is designed to be taken ‘intra workout’, which simply means during. Generally for a low carb day you would take a pre workout 30-40 minutes before the gym for that initial energy boost, followed by a good quality BCAA drink during your workout to give you the best chances of completing those few extra reps or going up in weight.
The first thing you’ll experience if you choose to supplement your diet with BCAAs is immune system support. Every time you go into the gym and lift weights, you are placing enormous amounts of stress on your body. If the body is not able to fully tolerate this stress level, you’re going to see problems develop regarding muscle recovery, and possibly an increased likelihood of illness. Don’t panic though. It’s not a case of ‘you will become ill if you don’t take them’. It is more of an FYI (for your information).
Like Omega-3, essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and must be consumed directly via your diet. If you fail to get these in your body, it will not have everything it needs to maintain a normal, healthy immune system.
Another big benefit you’ll experience if you supplement your diet with BCAAs is that you will not experience deficiencies in overall amino acid levels. Miracle fuel for those of you who are on highly restricted diets such as prepping for contests or for those of you who adopt a vegetarian way of eating. Adding BCAAs to your diet will mean that you won’t run the risk of not getting enough of the essential amino acids your body needs.
Finally, many individuals do a good job of making sure they’re taking in enough protein and carbohydrates during their pre and post workout. They will often even go to the extent of looking into other supplements, such as creatine or glutamine but yet still overlook the benefits of taking a good BCAA product. Although it may seem like a rather simple supplement, it’s one that will really make a difference in your training, particularly if you are already running at a deficiency.
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