Whether you’re pumping iron, working on your buns of steel, getting them “thick thighs”, or perfecting those pecks, you could be missing the secret ingredient to your sculpted success.
Have you ever seen the letters BCAA referenced on the back of gym supplements? Perhaps the phrase has come up during locker room chat?
So what, then, are BCAAs? What does BCAA stand for? Why are BCAAs so important when it comes to your workout regime?
The ABCs on BCAAs
BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. Specifically, BCAA refers to the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Very science. Very important. Let’s break it down.
Amino acids are the organic compounds that make up proteins. When protein is consumed, the body breaks it down into its individual amino acids. These amino acids are either burned as fuel to produce energy or used to make new proteins.
The majority of amino acids are metabolized in the liver. But BCAAs don’t like to play by the rules. These little rebels are metabolized by the muscles, which has an effect on protein synthesis and muscle metabolization, ultimately improving recovery time, muscular growth, and physical performance.
BCAA’s trigger protein synthesis
Protein synthesis is the process by which our DNA makes new proteins within a cell.
Muscles grow by repairing micro-tears that occur on a cellular level during physical exercise. When a muscle becomes torn, blood flows to the damaged area and repairs the tear. The body repairs muscle via protein synthesis. In other words, it makes new proteins which facilitate muscle growth and increased muscular strength.
BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis more so than regular dietary protein, because they increase the cells’ capacity to synthesize proteins as well as the rate of protein synthesis. Boom.