Before I get into this article, you need to answer this question.
Do you want to preserve your lean muscle mass?
If yes, then please read on because this article will answer many questions and set you up for your nutrition / supplement plan. You’re all about gains, and every last muscle molecule is a hard earned. I get you, girl.
If no, then please read this article where I talk about the importance of muscle building for women. If you are a beginner in weight training then read this article to answer all your basic needs questions.
BCAA’s – Brain Chained Amino Acids
BCAA’s are made up of 3 essential amino acids : leucine, isoleucine and valine. These 3 are essential because the body can not make it on it’s own and we need to intake them from food sources. BCAA’s make up 40% of daily intake of amino acids, proving that they are important. BCAA’s are found in animal protein, the highest concentrations are in chicken, beef, egg, salmon and whey protein.
They make up 35% of all muscle tissue. The more they are present in the muscle, the more they will be used as energy, slowing down the breakdown of muscle cells and preventing muscle loss. Supplement BCAA’s are awesome becasue they bypass the liver and gut tissue and go directly to the blood stream.
So You are on a Diet – here’s 2 things that happen
When you diet, you are catabolic, meaning your muscles are breaking down.
- The leaner a body gets, the more likely it is to lose muscle mass as the body tries harder and harder to hold onto body fat stores. In doing so, the body uses muscle to satisfy its energy needs. Sad story for those of us working hard to preserve our gains while losing body fat.
On the molecular level, muscle loss occurs because the body increases protein breakdown (catabolism) in order to liberate muscle amino acids for fuel.
2. Also, the leaner you get, the more lethargic you get. Since you are eating less, you have less glycogen stores in your muscles (glycogen is the muscle fuel) and this can call for some bad / weak training sessions. If you’re too tired or weak to lift the weight you’re body was getting used to then your muscles won’t use as much energy to get the work done.
Here’s the Good News – BCAA’s solve those 2 problems.
This is why I love BCAA’s :
- Branched-chain amino acids (particularly leucine) stimulate protein synthesis (and might do so to a greater extent than a normal protein on its own.)
- BCAA’s also increase synthesis of the cellular machinery responsible for carrying out the process of protein synthesis. Thus, BCAAs not only increase the rate of protein synthesis, but they also increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis!
- BCAA’s also work in your favor by reducing the rate of protein breakdown. They do this (primarily) by decreasing the activity of the components of the protein breakdown pathway, and also by decreasing the expression of several complexes involved in protein breakdown. They do so by decreasing the amount of mRNA produced from the gene that codes for these components.
So do you get now why I am so obsessed with BCAA’s ? Are BCAA’s something you should add into your diet? YES, if you are trying to burn fat while building / preserving muscle.
But Wait, Don’t Forget !
Don’t just take BCAAs and think that’s all you need. Taking BCAAs alone won’t give you any results. You have to pair it smartly with proper supplements to support your fitness goals.
Muscle respsose will double when BCAAs is taken with whey protein (or whey protein isolate), according to this research. Read that study incase you are new to this world of gains. If you’re a pro then you know what I am talking about. Your intake of proper protein is important to saving gains and burning fat. If you are taking whey then you must read The Truth About Whey Protein which gives you an excellent guide to having whey properly. For example, did you know that one whole scoop of whey is not digested properly and you will properly need to split it in half?