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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Truth About BCAAs

Story time. A short while ago I was introduced to a supplement called BCAAs. In my honest opinion, I thought it was some illegal drug that body builders used to make gains. But after a men’s physique show, some of the guys there broke it down for me about the critical importance BCAAs. Here lies my synopsis for those who train hard and train frequently.

Women Drinking post workout drink | The Fittest Blogger

First off, what is BCAAs? BCAAs stands for branched chained amino acids. This four letter acronym is what tends to deter many people off from giving BCAAs a try.

So just like anyone who hears a crazy acronym for something you should drink, the red flags and sirens goes off in your head. You obviously don’t want to spend money on something that might be pointless or dangerous.

But after a little research, I can tell you with 100% confident that my early presumptions were definitely wrong!

Let’s get educated

In order for you to learn there must be a teacher. Or you hire a health/life coach or follow your favorite fitness gurus on Instagram (Insert shameless plug - Follow me on IG @SirKingsleeey). But I assume you’re on a budget, so this post will have to do. 

As we all should know by now, amino acid are the building blocks of proteins. There are twenty different kinds of amino acids. And four types of bonds (Peptide, Dipeptide, Tripeptide, and Polypeptide). Since I was never a big fan of chemistry, I will not bore you with the details.

BCAAS are in a class of their own however when it comes to amino acids. The three amino acids in this category are Isoleucine, valine, and leucine.  They are critical amino acids that are broken down in the skeletal tissue during ATP production.

The amino acids in BCAAs can be converted to glucose and allow your body to produce more ATP.

Caveat, for those who aren’t sure what ATP is; ATP or Adenosine Triphosphate is a biochemical process to store and use energy. It would take me an entire new post to fully explain ATP, so I digress.

In laments terms, BCAAs greatest benefit is that BCAA levels can increase the availability of carbohydrates and help protect the muscles from exercise-induced protein breakdown. Essentially preventing your body from entering a catabolic state.

And if you been keeping up with my articles each week, a catabolic state is when your body starts to break down molecules needed for your muscle tissues as energy sources. Essentially sapping resources needed for maintenance and repair of your muscles. Basically destroying all your hard earned gains. 

Adding BCAAS in your diet can become a much needed process of your fitness journey.

What are the benefits of BCAAs? 

I’m glad you asked. 
BCAAs equalize the muscle building across all ages BCAAs have been shown to elevate and prolong protein syntheses even in older people. Study shows that after the age of about 35, protein synthesis becomes impaired and drops off compared to when you were younger.
BCAA increase fat burning There are dozens of studies to back this claim. One study showed that people with higher BCAAs intake into their body had less body fat, better body composition, and more muscles than those who did not supplement.
BCAAS enhance protein syntheses Adding BCAAs to your training will result in maximal protein syntheses. Triggering mTORC1. 
MTORC1 is complex functions as a nutrient/energy/redox sensor and controls protein synthesis. The activity of mTORC1 is stimulated by insulin, growth factors, serum, phosphatidic acid, amino acids (particularly leucine-which is a part of BCAAs), and oxidative stress.
BCAAS will minimize muscle loss Not only will BCAAS prevent your body from entering a catabolic state, it will also minimize your muscles loss even when you’re not training. Because BCAAS trigger protein synthesis, even in the absence of exercise, the preservation of lean muscle tissue will keep metabolism up and help prevent fat gain.
The benefits of taking BCAAs are numerous.

Key take away from this post

BCAAs are essential for absolutely everyone. They trigger protein synthesis, they reduce muscle fatigue, they minimize muscle loss, and they prevent muscle damage.

The supplements come in two forms. In a pill or powder. They vary in price, so it’s up to you to do research on which one is worth the extra few bucks. 

Since they are still just supplements, I urge all individuals to get their protein (amino acids) the natural way. The most complete protein with all 20 amino acids is of course eggs FYI.

But when you can’t get enough protein from food, and need to see gains without breaking down your muscles in the process, then head over to your local supplement store and grab a bottle of BCAAs with your next whey protein re-up. Happy lifting! #theFittest

Have you taken BCAAS before? Notice any difference? Comment below. If not then like and share with a friend who has not heard about BCAAS! Also comment with any topics that you would like me to talk about. See you next Wednesday.

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