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.
BCAAs prevent the body metabolizing muscle
Taking BCAAs means that the body will source energy primarily from the BCAAs instead of metabolizing existing muscle for energy (meaning that the body doesn’t deplete as much muscle mass). Following digestion, BCAAs are circulated in the body and used as a quick source of energy during physical exertion. All of this means that BCAAs are a fantastic alternative source of energy. In a nutshell, get them gains and keep them gains. Fist pump.
BCAAs improve exercise performance, recovery time, and decreases muscular soreness
Studies on athletes and non-athletes show that BCAAs help to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness in response to both resistance and endurance exercise.
In addition, exercise causes an increase in serotonin, which is believed to cause fatigue. Studies show that BCAAs may have the ability to reduce serotonin levels, reducing fatigue, and enhancing exercise performance.
This means that you can train at a higher intensity, more frequently. So, if you want the best out of your workout while avoiding not being able to sit down following leg day, these are for you.
Other benefits of BCAAs
Other benefits of BCAA consumption include improving liver health, reducing risk of kidney failure, preventing heart failure, increasing energy, improving insulin resistance and diabetes, and improving sleep quality.
How to get BCAAs
Amino acids are categorized as either essential, nonessential, or conditional amino acids. BCAAs are classified as essential amino acids because they cannot be made by the body. Rather, they must be consumed.
BCAAs are naturally found in foods high in protein. This includes red meat, chicken, fish, dairy, and eggs. For plant-based amongst us, we’re talking beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, corn, and nuts.
Most dietitians believe that you can get all your amino acids via diet alone. This includes plant-based diets, which contain a wide variety of amino acid profiles. However, to ensure you really are getting all of your essential amino acids, and especially if you are an athlete or if you work out at a high intensity, supplementation is often recommended.
Ora Organic protein powder
Each of the Ora Organic protein powders has a complete amino-acid profile. A complete amino-acid profile is sometimes referred to as a “complete protein”, meaning that it contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for our dietary needs.
Ora Organic protein powder is loaded with an array of superfoods for maximum health, as well as digestive enzymes to support digestion and bioavailability of nutrients. As well as being vegan, organic, and free of artificial additives, ingredients or added sugar, Ora’s protein is available in a variety of delicious flavors – chocolate, vanilla, and vanilla chai. Getting them gains has never been easier (or as delicious).