BCAA: Your Quintessential Intra-Workout Fuel

Branched Chain Amino Acids also play a vital role in controlling and regulating the various enzymes activity in the mind and body.

If you are a bodybuilder or an active athlete, you might have come across this term, BCAA, every now and then. Branched Chain Amino acids (BCAAs) are the amino acids which make up different types of proteins. These amino acids also play a vital role in controlling and regulating the various enzymes activity in the mind and body.

Now, what is an intra-workout supplement and why does one need them?

An intra-workout supplement is a supplement which helps you replenish your energy and nutrients levels while performing intense workouts. It helps regulate the bioavailability of proteins and energy to prevent muscle breakdown and assist muscle synthesis during workouts. These also increase the rate of protein synthesis and delays muscle soreness.

What are BCAAs and how do they help you refuel during workouts?

Branched Chain Amino Acids, especially Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are amino acids which form different types of proteins when combined differently. BCAAs help secure muscle glycogen levels which fuel muscles and minimizes protein breakdown during workouts as these are the great sources of producing ATP and boosts your endurance by supplying a constant supply of energy.

Why should BCAA be your first pick as an intra-workout supplement?

There are various advantages of consuming BCAAs as an intra-workout supplement which include the following:

More Strength: BCAAs lead to the decrease in cortisol levels, the hormone which triggers stress as intense workouts often put a lot of stress on your mind and body. It reduces the secretion of testosterone hormone and elevates muscle breakdown. BCAAs bypass the gut and the liver and are directly transported to the ripped muscles where they are used as fuel to prevent muscle breakdown.

More Energy: BCAAs are a rich source of glycogen booster as it helps generate the high amounts of ATP, the energy currency of the body. With the availability of glycogen in the muscles, it helps prevent the muscle breakdown required to fuel the heavy workouts. The steady supply of energy helps you to work out for longer duration and perform trainings for different muscle sets when required.

Low Fatigue: During intense workouts, the body releases a hormone, serotonin which acts as a neurotransmitter and signals the mind that the body is tired, and it needs to stop working out. Consuming BCAAs in the middle of the workout releases Valine in the body which restricts the secretion of tryptophan, another hormone responsible for the secretion of serotonin thus restricting its release in the bloodstream. It helps you keep going while enhancing your endurance and reducing the onset of fatigue.

Why should BCAA be your second most important supplement after protein?

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and proteins are the building blocks of muscles. Whey Protein plays the major role when it comes to serious bodybuilding and serious mass gain. But to prepare your body for the absorption of that protein, BCAAs act like a catalyst and facilitate positive nitrogen balance in the body to enhance anabolism and promote muscle build-up and prevent muscle loss.

By far, the ideal BCAA ratio is 2:1:1 to L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine and it is proven to be highly effective. Some supplements brands have come up with other ratios of Leucine to Isoleucine to Valine, but the experts suggest you stay put with the 2:1:1 ratio as the extreme gap in the ratios might suppress the effects of other BCAAs and cause more harm than the good. Choose your BCAA wisely while avoiding the added sugar which is often added to the supplements to make them taste good. Read the label carefully and make sure that your product is authentic.