Muscle and workout supplements have dramatically risen in quality and efficacy over the past decade or so. Why is that? Because of advancements in the way we formulate these blends. As our understanding of the physiological mechanisms and processes driving strength gains and muscle growth improve, so too do our methodologies for supporting and enhancing them. In particular, one new component that has elevated this sector of the supplement space is the infusion of branched chain amino acids. These properties are now present in a significant number of workout capsules, and with good reason. Branched chain amino acids (or BCAAs) offer critical assistance for rapid lean muscle growth and recovery.
Let’s take a closer look at these fitness staples, how they work, and how best to utilize them.
Types of Branched Chain Amino Acids
Amino acids are organic compounds that naturally occur within the human body. They play a variety of different roles and are especially important in cell generation and replication. Because of their propensity for assisting with the synthesis of protein, they have long been held as a superstar of the bodybuilding world.
Branched chain amino acids follow the same principles but take things to the next level. There are three types of amino acids categorized as BCAAs: Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.
What Do Branched Chain Amino Acids Do?
BCAAs promote rapid and potent protein synthesis, much more so than even protein itself. For this reason, muscle enthusiasts are turning to these ingredients instead of protein shakes and supplements. Branched chain amino acids help prevent protein breakdown and they support fast muscle tissue repair and growth.
Although you will find branched chain amino acids in varying sources, including many different foods (meat, dairy, legumes, etc.) and whey protein, this is not the optimal form for ingestion. Already peptide-bound, BCAAs in such blends must be digested and then absorbed into the bloodstream. When taken in supplement form, however, the BCAAs are free-form and enter the bloodstream instantly for rapid absorption.
Overcoming Catabolic Issues
Aside from their general benefits for muscle building, branched chain amino acids are particularly helpful for people who are trying to gain strength while also losing weight. These dual objectives are at the heart of many self-improvement programs, but unfortunately their approaches can conflict. When one is trying to shed extra fat and burn substantial calories, there is often a coinciding muscle loss dynamic. This reduction in muscle tissue is referred to as catabolism.
Supplementing with branched chain amino acids is extremely helpful with toward deterring this problem because of its impact on protein breakdown.
If you’re aspiring to cut down on excess fat while boosting muscle for a defined and attractive physique, there are a number of steps you should take. Obviously, a nutritious diet with stringent caloric limits will be advantageous. A quality strength training routine, with differing routines targeting different areas of the body, is a must.
If you’re going through all of this without the added help of a branched chain amino acid supplement, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.