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What are BCAAs? What are they good for? And should you use them?
BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids. Though there are many amino acids, there are 3 branched chain amino acids, these include valine, leucine, and isoleucine. These amino acids are metabolized (broken down) by the body and used as a source of energy for the muscle, to help the muscle repair and function.
Many people take BCAAs to help them recover for a workout. But there is a lot of confusion out there saying you do not need BCAA to recover and repair your muscle post workout. This is not completely true. There are 3 groups of people who could benefit from using BCAAs regularly!
Those On a Weight Loss Program
If you are trying to lose weight you should then be in a caloric deficit. While you are in the calories deficit, you must make sure you are consuming enough protein throughout the day. Better yet, you are consuming plenty of protein every 3-5 hours. For some individuals it is difficult to eat multiple times per day, this is where BCAAs can help! The leucine specifically is muscle sparing! What does this mean? Your body is burning calories and you do not have time to eat a meal, so your body will first look for other energy sources it has stored, and the leucine will help to signal your body to save your muscle and burn more fat and carbs!
Another plus side to having BCAAs throughout the day when on a weight loss program is that it could help curb some craving while you wait for your next meal!
Vegetarian, Vegan, or those who have a hard time eating Protein
Those following a vegetarian or vegan diet must make sure to consume quality protein sources which can be difficult. They may not be getting the right amount of amino acids at each meal or in total throughout the day to help spare the muscle or even muscle recovery if they workout. BCAAs can again make it much easier for those following these diets to ensure they are making progress, aging healthfully, and feeling their best!
Those who follow Intermittent Fasting
If you are following intermittent fasting of any kind, that means you are going hours without eating a meal! Many enjoy breaking their fast post workout, but this may not be beneficial as you have been fasting for an extended period of time. To make the most out of your fast and your training it can be helpful to have BCAAs during your training to ensure your muscle has at least the core building block (aka the BCAAs) it needs to start recovering after an extended fasted state.
If you have any questions about BCAAs and it they are helpful for you email firstname.lastname@example.org