Common mistakes people make with BCAAs
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are a kind of essential amino acid. This means your body doesn’t produce them naturally and you need to rely on foods to source them.
BCAAs refer to three essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine and constitute ⅓ of muscle protein.
Protein-rich foods, like chicken, eggs and pulses also supply BCAAs in some amount. 100g chicken serves 3g, a large egg has 1.3g and 100g lentils offer 1g BCAAs.
The Benefits of BCAAs
They curb muscle wasting in people living a sedentary lifestyle. Athletes used BCAA to improve exercise performance, reduce protein and muscle breakdown during intense exercise. For optimal absorption and replacement, BCAAs become essential as they are rapidly absorbed and broken down during training.
Intense workouts lead to increased serotonin levels in the body including fatigue. BCAAs intercept this serotonin production and help curb fatigue. Having BCAAs before and after workouts helps reduce muscle breakdown, reduce muscle soreness and repairs damaged muscles. Weight trainers have found an increase in the rate of new muscle synthesis with BCAA supplementation, as it triggers mTORC1 which is essential for muscle building.
BCAAs play a vital role for fat loss as well. Before a bodybuilding show, many shed the body fat percentage which they achieve through BCAAs which also help retain the muscle.
BCAAs help delay the feeling of tiredness. However, it’s key to use it in the right way to get maximum advantage.
Precautions to take while using BCAAs
1. Don’t reduce protein intake
Having BCAAs doesn't mean you can cut down on your protein intake. They only contain 3 essential amino acids but protein food like chicken or egg or even way have a more balanced protein profile. Whether it’s fat cutdown or muscle building, it’s important to maintain a positive nitrogen level.
2. Choose the right ratio of BCAAs
The right ratio of BCAAs is 2:1:1 in the order (Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine) and many people often wonder that if leucine is the critical ingredient to bulk up muscles, why can't the ratio be higher? Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Building muscles requires vigorous training to get the best results. Valine is known to build endurance and isoleucine promotes fat loss. They are perfect as an addition to your workout while leucine focuses on building and repairing muscles.
3. Time your BCAA intake
BCAAs should be taken either before, after or in-between a workout. Taking BCAAs before workouts helps you preserve lean muscle mass that would otherwise be lost. Mixing them with water helps reduce muscle loss during an intense workout and speeds up recovery.
Consuming BCAAs post workouts improves recovery levels.
4. Avoiding supplements with BCAAs
A typical supplement stack will include BCAAs, whey protein, fat burner and pre-workout. However, most people will do away with the remaining three when they start BCAAs supplementation.
BCAAs are present in whey protein and therefore most people make the mistake of dropping whey protein, when they start consuming BCAAs. This doesn’t work well because whey contains fast absorbing amino acids and it helps in starting muscle repair and recovery. BCAAs present in whey are bonded to other amino acids as well and hence take time to absorb and reach each muscle tissue.
5. Don’t use BCAAs only as a fat loss aid
While it helps with fat loss, BCAAs aren’t a fat burner. They only modulate your feeling of snacking and help retain muscle.
Always remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation while taking BCAA dosage.