What is BCAA?
BCAAs are branched-chain amino acids present in proteins. Among them are valine, isoleucine and leucine, although their name is simplified in these acronyms, and they are ingested through food and taken as sports supplementation. The combination of these three essential amino acids makes up almost a third of the body’s skeletal muscles and, due to their relationship, also plays a critical role in protein synthesis.
What are the BCAAs for?
As we have just seen, the main function of BCAAs is to contribute to the formation of proteins in the body and help with muscle recovery, especially when you have worked with physical exercises focused on the muscles, and the reduction of the feeling of fatigue. Therefore, it is a very common type of compound in sports supplementation. It can also promote muscle development, preserve glycogen levels, support the immune system, and produce energy, among other functions.
When and how much BCAA to take?
To gain muscle and strength, our body needs to take a certain amount of amino acids from the bloodstream. Among them, there is an especially important group, since they form a third of the composition of the muscle: leucine, isoleucine and valine, that is, the BCAAs. When to take the BCAAs? Before or after training? Let’s get down to business.
BCAAs have a different effect depending on when they are taken, hence their power and versatility as a supplement. Let’s review some of the most important benefits:
- They promote protein synthesis and prevent catabolism.
- They help preserve muscle glycogen, as BCAAs can easily be used as fuel.
- They improve sports performance, both in aerobic and anaerobic activities.
- They reduce the symptoms of muscle pain after training.
- They boost the immune system.
Cases in which it is recommended to take BCAAs before training:
- If you are looking for muscle definition and are on a calorie-restricted diet
- Very long resistance training sessions of more than 60 minutes
- Workouts first thing in the morning on an empty stomach
Cases in which it is recommended to take BCAAs after training:
- Gaining strength athletes and bodybuilders want muscle mass.
- Endurance athletes who want to avoid soreness after a long training session and thus speed up recovery.
What if you want to take BCAAs both before and after your training?
It is also correct to take it that way. If no other post or pre-workout supplement is used, you can use 5 g of BCAA powder before and 5 g afterwards, for example, the Endure BCAA + EAA (Amino Acids) – TWPNutrition. It will protect the muscle before your training so you can avoid fatigue, and then it will help you with recovery and protein synthesis
What about taking BCAAs during a training session?
It’s great, too! Taking BCAAs as an intra-workout will help you perform better and finish the session without losing your energy, regardless of your sport of choice.
Before you go to sleep
In case of extreme diet, sports competitions, double training sessions, or a very physically demanding job, taking BCAAs before going to sleep will help you significantly with muscle recovery while you rest and will even improve the quality of sleep.
BCAA tablets or powder?
Take Amino Acid Powder
- They allow you to ingest a large dose comfortably.
- They include flavours that can make your intake more enjoyable.
- They can be easily included in the pre, intra, or post-workout drink, for example combining them with carbohydrates.
- They promote hydration.
- Greater difficulty in transporting multiple doses.
- Difficulty masking very acidic or slightly bitter flavours.
Tak in Capsules / Tablets
- Easy to transport and handling
- Avoid problems related to taste
- It can be uncomfortable if you intend to consume a large dose
Benefits of BCAA
The benefits of BCAAs or Branched Chain Amino Acids are numerous:
- They promote protein synthesis and prevent muscle catabolism.
- They help preserve glycogen.
- They improve performance in aerobic and anaerobic activities.
- Reduce symptoms of post-workout muscle pain.
- They support the immune system.
BCAA for man
BCAAs can help decrease muscle soreness after competition or very hard training. It is not
uncommon to feel sore for several days after a marathon. This pain is called late muscle pain, and it develops 12 to 24 hours after exercise and can last for several days. The cause of the discomfort is the micro-tears that occur in the muscle after thousands of impacts against the ground. BCAAs have been shown to decrease muscle damage, which can help reduce the intensity of pain and help the muscle recover sooner.
BCAA for women
BCAA supplementation for women should be taken every day (training and day off) to achieve an optimal concentration of the ingredients in the body. Products containing BCAAs should be used during the training period (before and after exercise) and between meals during the day. The manufacturer usually specifies the daily amount of protein to be consumed. This helps avoid blatant confusion and release the full potential of the product’s ingredients.