For the harmonious development of the body, good results and sustainable progress, an athlete needs not only to be extremely careful about his diet, but also not to neglect special sports additives. Record popularity among athletes acquired the so-called essential amino acids BCAA. How to take BCAA to make workouts more effective, and their results more visual, we find out below.
All essential amino acids for humans are extremely important, but it is the BCAA complex that is of great importance for athletes.
Distinctive features of BCAA
In the human body, there are more than two dozen amino acids, each of which performs a specific function. All of them can be divided into two groups: essential and non-essential amino acids. The former are synthesized by the body, and the latter can only come with food and special food additives. It is in the second group that 3 amino acids are released, which differ from other branched molecular structures – valine, leucine and isoleucine, combined by the term BCAA.
How do they work
The action of BCAA is very multifaceted, so they are successfully used by athletes for different purposes.
For muscle growth
BCAA amino acids are the main material for building new muscle tissue. They make up more than a third of all amino acids in the muscles.
For people who are not involved in sports and do not pursue the goal of building muscle, the need for these amino acids is covered by the intake of protein, which is included in the daily diet.
Under the condition of regular strength training, the BCAA reserves are quickly depleted and, in order to create the conditions for effective recovery and growth of muscle fibers, additional sources of supply are needed. Thus, taking BCAA to gain muscle mass brings the athlete closer to the desired goal.
As a source of energy
During a workout in the body, oxidation processes are triggered, releasing glucose – the source of energy necessary for quality training. It is bad that for this the body has to destroy its own muscles, starting the catabolic process. BCAA supplementation inhibits catabolism and supplies leucine, another powerful energy drink. And since it works along a path other than glucose, the body has two whole sources of energy with a minimum level of catabolism.
For the synthesis of glutamine
BCAA is a source for the synthesis of glutamine, another amino acid, without which high-quality training and recovery is impossible. This is what glutamine deficiency leads to:
- Decreased immune function;
- Reduced growth hormone production;
- Activation of catabolic processes.
A sufficient amount of valine, leucine and isoleucine help to synthesize glutamine needed by an athlete directly in the muscles.
For fat burning
BCAA amino acids stimulate the production of hormones such as insulin and leptin. With insulin, everything is more or less clear – it regulates the level of glucose, controls appetite and participates in metabolic processes. Leptin is an even more complex hormone that is incredibly important for a person seeking weight loss.
The more fat cells in the body, adipocytes, the higher the level of leptin. As soon as a person changes his usual diet, reduces carbohydrate intake, reduces daily calories and activates physical activity, the leptin level melts dramatically, which leads to increased appetite and slower metabolism. That is, without this hormone, the body does everything to save and increase its fat reserves. Leucine restores leptin levels in the body, which makes taking BCAA for weight loss extremely important.
The effectiveness of these essential amino acids is confirmed by numerous studies and scientific works. Manufacturers of sports nutrition often offer products, the need for which is quite doubtful, but a complex of leucine, isoleucine and valine really helps to significantly improve their performance. The source of energy and strength, fast recovery, building lean muscle mass and assisting in fat loss is what BCAA is all about.
Features of BCAA
Intensive training depletes the essential amino acids in the body, which leads to the destruction of muscle fibers, reduced strength and even loss of strength. These processes suggest when to take BCAA will be most correct.
Time and frequency of admission on training days
So, regardless of whether training is aimed at fat loss or muscle growth, the BCAA complex should be taken at the very beginning. This will provide the athlete with high-quality training, and the muscles – the necessary support and nutrition. In order not to slow down the process of recovery and growth of muscle fibers, the next batch of BCAA should be taken immediately upon completion of the workout.
Important: if the athlete chooses soluble, not preformed BCAA, they should also be taken during training. This approach will provide the muscles with a steady and more even supply of amino acids and fluids .
Since regeneration processes are most active during sleep, it is advisable to consume a portion of amino acids overnight. By the way, after high-intensity strength training, this will help minimize muscle pain.
When you gain muscle mass, you can combine BCAA with other types of sports nutrition: protein, weight gainer or creatine.
The benefits of BCAA will be noticeable to those who want to lose weight. The BCAA complex contributes to the suppression of appetite and activation of the process of fat loss due to the production of leptin. To this end, you can arrange additional techniques of amino acids during the day. However, if there is a question of economy, they can be replaced with a protein shake.
See also: Myths about sports nutrition
Time and frequency of admission on rest days
In order to avoid such a phenomenon as morning catabolism and charge muscles with energy, it is recommended to take a portion of amino acids immediately after waking up on the day of rest. Another BCAA intake will not interfere at bedtime, especially if the athlete has a morning workout the next day.
The average portion of BCAA intake ranges from 5 to 10 grams. The frequency of admission – up to 3-4 times a day on training days and 1-2 times on rest days.
This dosage covers the need for an athlete in BCAA, provided sufficient content of essential amino acids in the products of his diet.
Forms of release
When choosing essential amino acids, one must first of all be guided by the reliability of the manufacturer and dosage. Do not be fooled that by buying a cheap product with a lower content of the substance, you can save money. It is good if the dosage starts with 5 grams of BCAA per serving.
- Capsules. Convenient form and neutral taste, rather rapid dissolution.
- Pills. Have a slightly bitter taste, it takes some time to dissolve and absorb.
- Powder. It can be pure or with fruit taste, it is quickly acquired.
- Liquid. Liquid BCAA – available in the form of a concentrate, soluble in water, as well as in mono doses. Have a high absorption rate, the least profitable of all forms of release.
It can not harm the body meat or cheese, just do not do this, and additional reception of BCAA. These substances are completely safe, can be taken regardless of the age and level of training of the athlete, and also do not require interruptions in reception.
Amino acids are compatible with other types of sports nutrition and can even increase its effectiveness. The only thing that should not be done is to combine BCAA and alcohol. Drinking even low-alcohol beverages has a detrimental effect on anabolism, contributes to the buildup of fat mass and slows down metabolic processes, which nullifies all efforts and makes the intake of amino acids meaningless.
BCAA Amino Acids in Products
What quantities contain essential amino acids in food? Record holders in BCAA are chicken breast and eggs, beef, tuna, salmon, turkey – the most popular foods for athletes. For example, a serving of chicken breast weighing 150 grams contains about 6 grams of BCAA.
In addition, you can find essential amino acids in plant foods. They are richest in legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas), nuts (cashews, peanuts), and many seeds (pumpkin, flax, sunflower).