BCAA's: What are they and why use them?
What are BCAA's?
What are they?
When a trainer says BCAAs to a new client the ‘huh?!?!?’ face comes out. Why? Because it’s not something people know what they are or what they do, and they do a LOT!
BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. These building blocks for our bodies make up 35% of our muscle mass and must be present for growth and development to take place. BCAAs help build and repair but they also form antibodies, are part of our enzyme and hormone system, and carry oxygen throughout the body.
For those of who spend time in the gym, and those of us who are looking to build muscle, BCAAs play a key role in our muscle maintenance. BCAAs help protect and maintain our muscles while we’re working them, and also help them recover faster.
Beyond helping with recovery, BCAAs also help with muscle protection, and avoiding muscle loss - especially during fasted cardio or workout times. My BCAA supplement (I use NLA for Her) is my best friend on fast days! Reality is that when we’re doing fasted cardio or any activity when we’ve fasted (I’m talking to my early morning gym friends) we have a high risk of losing muscle mass instead of burning fat! This is obviously a HUGE issue! Muscle is easier for our body to use than fat, but we don’t want it to. So we need to be sure that we’re protecting our muscles as best we can. Making sure that you’re taking a BCAA supplement immediately before any fasted workout is unbelievably important. And an added benefit is that it will help you get through your workout feeling so much better as well as help you recover faster!
One of the other great things about BCAAs is that they support your immune system. We stress our bodies out when we work out, that’s the reality of life in the gym! When our bodies are under stress they are more likely to catch whatever is going around and we don't want that. Because BCAAs help support our muscles and reduce the stress that our bodies are under, they’re helping us stay healthy overall. We’re less likely to get sick, or be sick for as long.
If you’re feeling lost on how to support your body while you’re on your journey, reach out here! I would love to chat with you about how to best use BCAAs and other supplements to make sure you’re getting the most out of your time in the gym.