BCAAs are a popular kind of workout supplement.
In this article, we’ll explain what BCAAs are as well as why BCAAs are so beneficial. We’ll also explain when to take BCAAs and what makes some BCAA supplements better than others.
What Are BCAAs
BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids. BCAAs consist of three essential amino acids, namely Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
Amino acids are the building blocks that makeup protein. Different amino acids perform different functions in the body. There are nine essential amino acids that the body needs to properly function. They’re called essential amino acids because your body cannot produce them on its own like it can nonessential amino acids.
BCAAs and BCAA supplements help give your body more of the aforementioned amino acids to help you improve your physical abilities. Of the nine essential amino acids, the three found in BCAA supplements make up about 2/3 of your body’s amino stores. That’s why BCAAs are so important. Each of the amino acids found in BCAA supplements works synergistically with one another and can help improve both your training and your recovery.
What Are The Benefits Of BCAAs
BCAAs are beneficial for a variety of reasons. But instead of talking about the BCAA supplement in general, let’s talk about each of the three amino acids found in a BCAA supplement.
Leucine is the first amino acid found in BCAA supplements. It’s an important amino acid which performs many functions in the body. The first thing Leucine does is it increases your energy and protein production. That means that, with Leucine, you’ll have more energy while training and you’ll be able to grow stronger, larger muscles faster. Leucine also plays an important role in muscle recovery. Leucine can help slow muscle degradation and decrease muscle wasting, meaning you can speed up your recovery and improve your overall workout.
Leucine also performs some other functions as well. For example, Leucine can help reduce the risk of hardened arteries.
Isoleucine is known primarily as an endurance amino acid. It can help your body more efficiently use energy and improve your overall energy levels during your workout. Isoleucine is broken down in your muscles to create energy. This energy can help you keep going while you train.
Isoleucine also works to help better regulate blood sugars so that your energy levels do not dip because of sugar.
Isoleucine is more than a boost of energy, however.
Isoleucine can also help heal and repair damaged muscle tissue and encourage clotting where the body is injured. This is especially helpful for serious athletes and bodybuilders who often have to deal with strenuous physical activity.
Like the other two amino acids we have talked about, Valine helps prevent muscle breakdown. It does this by providing your muscles with extra glucose, which in turn, gives your body extra energy to keep going.
Valine is also important because it can help maintain the nervous system and cognitive functions. This helps improve focus and overall coordination, both of which are essential for any serious athlete’s workout.
Valine helps in many other bodily functions as well. It can help improve insomnia and decrease nervousness. It can help speed up recoveries and somewhat suppress your appetite. Valine can also improve your immune system which will help you miss fewer training sessions.
When you combine these three essential amino acids into one BCAA supplement, you have an instant recipe for achieving better results.
When To Take BCAAs And How Much
So, when should you take BCAAs ... and how much BCAAs should you take?
Most BCAA supplements are formulated as intra-workout supplements. Meaning you take them in the middle of your workout to help with performance and prevent muscle tissue breakdown.
The idea behind intra-workout supplements is that your body is already able to do so much physical exercise on its own. But eventually, your body runs out of gas during your workout. When you take BCAAs during your workout, they can help fuel your body and prevent excessive muscle tissue breakdown so you can keep on going and training hard.
Taking BCAAs during your workouts can even help prevent injury and give you the energy you need to finish your training. It’s an effective way of taking a good workout and turning it into a great, fat burning session. Your muscles will have more energy to move more weight and will need less time to recover after you're done. Between your BCAAs and your post-workout whey protein and glucose, you’ll be ready to start working out again in no time.
What About Taking BCAA's Before or After a Workout?
While most people take BCAA's during their workout, a lot of people often wonder about the benefits to using them before or after a workout.
Truthfully, the degree to which BCAA's can help you before or after a workout is going to depend on your unique situation. I say this because in order to build and repair muscle tissue, your body needs access to all 9 of the essential amino acids.
Well, as you found out, BCAA's make up 3 of those 9 essential amino acids. Now, does that mean BCAA's are useless before or after your workouts? No, of course not. However, this does highlight the importance of your nutrition and how much protein you're consuming on a daily basis.
If you're unable to get around to a high-protein meal within 2-3 hours of your workout, BCAA's could be beneficial to take before you train. Still, this would not be as ideal as getting around to a source of protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids.
The same can be said about taking BCAA's after your workout. It may be better than nothing at all ... but there are far more ideal supplements to take for post-workout recovery. Using BCAA's before or after your workout is like using a screwdriver to put a nail in the wall. You definitely can get the nail in the wall with a screwdriver, but a hammer would be a much more effective and ideal tool for the job.
I personally believe that BCAA's are best utilized as a tool to help bridge the gap between your meals or during your workouts as you begin to break down muscle tissue.
What Are The Best BCAA Supplements
The best BCAA supplements follow a couple of rules.
First, the best BCAA supplements recognize how important Leucine is. It’s an incredibly powerful amino acid and its physical effects on the body are felt pretty much immediately. The best BCAA supplements are going to have higher doses of leucine in them than the other two amino acids. That’s not to say the other two aren’t important. They are. But if you’re looking to improve your physical performance, high doses of Leucine are essential.
Second, the best BCAA supplements give you something more. Obviously, the primary reason why you take BCAAs is to improve endurance, increase energy, and shorten recovery times, but the best BCAA supplements offer more than that. Look for amino blends that combine other beneficial amino acids into the supplement. Look for B vitamins that help provide energy. Look for other minerals as well that can help with performance and recovery.
These other factors are what separate the great BCAAs from the good ones.
1st Phorm Has The Best BCAA Supplements To Help You Workout
If you’re looking for a great BCAA supplement to help improve your workouts and aid in recovery, 1st Phorm has what you need.
1st Phorm BCAA is a fantastic branched-chain amino acid supplement specially formulated for intra-workout use. It contains a high dose of Leucine and a variety of other amino acids such as L-Taurine, L-Tyrosine, L-Glutamine, L-Citrulline, and Agmatine Sulfate.
1st Phorm BCAA is also packed with vitamins B3, B6, and B12, as well as potassium. It comes in four, delicious flavors and every bottle gives you 40 servings worth of high-quality workout supplements.
If you’re looking for the best BCAA supplement on the market, you're in the right place. For more support on your fitness journey, you can also download the 1st Phorm App for assistance. Inside the app you'll get access to nutrition tracking, custom workout programs, 1 on 1 coaching, education, and more!
You can also reach out to us anytime with any questions you may have! We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Certified Nutrition Coaches who are here to help you for FREE!ABOUT THE AUTHOR