BCAA (short for branched-chain amino acids) supplements are quite popular among professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts, but it’s not always clear when and/or if one should consider introducing a boosting element in their routine.
According to research, BCAAs may indeed help with muscle buildup as they help reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and fatigue. This way, you can exercise to your heart’s content, without having to worry about pain and immobility for the following few days.
Still, people who are not accustomed to the idea of fitness supplements may have a difficult time understanding how to use BCAAs and what type of benefits they should expect. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to understand both the pros and cons of a dietary supplement.
For this reason, today we’ll talk about the pros & cons of BCAAs and guide you on how to take them for the best results.
The Pros & Cons of BCAA
Our body uses protein to build new muscles and repair damaged tissue. Therefore, after an intense series of exercises, your body will require a fresh batch of proteins to repair the ruptured muscle fibers (that’s how you increase your muscular mass) and keep everything going smoothly.
Now, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein. Which means these elements are necessary for proteins to be able to do their job. However, out of the 20 identified BCAAs, the human body can only produce 11. The rest of 9 must come from diet or supplements.
According to nutritionists, you don’t need special supplements to get all the needed building blocks of protein (a varied diet, with a healthy dose of lean protein, should be enough). However, if you’re looking to push your fitness routine to the next level, then BCAA supplements can provide that boost of energy and can help with the post-workout repair.
The list with the benefits of BCAAs is quite long, but the main ones are:
- Limit fatigue – fatigue is a natural response, but a higher level of BCAA can help diminish the sensation;
- Burn more fat – you’ll be able to work out for longer and you’ll feel more motivated to increase the intensity, which leads to a more efficient exercise routine;
- Reduce DOMS – BCAAs act as a relief element for the strain and inflammation that appear after working out.
BCAAs don’t have any worrisome side effects, provided the supplement is taken according to the instructions. However, if you have a diagnosed health condition, it’s best to ask your doctor if it’s safe to take supplements. Lastly, you should only buy BCAA supplements from a reputable brand and from a country where there are solid regulations for supplements.
How to Take BCAA Supplements
Some supplements are recommended before a workout (pre-workout supplements) and some are designed for after workouts, to enhance muscular regeneration. However, BCAA supplements can both boost your energy levels and promote tissue repair. Moreover, the studies made on this topic show no significant difference when taken as a pre or post-workout supplement.
Additional studies have shown there may be best to split your daily dose into two to maximize benefits. One before and one after the exercise. Also, it helps to take it on a daily basis, and you should consider a long-term regimen (10+ days).
In summary, a BCAA supplement can help enhance your performance and boost your efforts for a healthier, better-looking body. Still, you also need a mix of nutrients and vitamins to live a healthy life and age gracefully.
So, as long as you continue eating healthy foods and working out on a regular basis, some reliable supplements here and there will help you reach all your goals.