The Lowdown: If you’re into being active, you’ve probably heard people tell you to make sure to get enough protein. What they really mean is to make sure you get your fill of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein – the little molecules that help us go harder, better, faster, and yes, stronger in all aspects of our active lives. Out of the 20 amino acids in our bodies that help pump up protein, there are nine considered essential: the ones that are non-negotiable to our survival. And out of those nine? Three are BCAAs – branched-chain amino acids – and make up a whopping 33% of muscle tissue: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are metabolized in the muscle rather than the liver, meaning they play a critical role in muscle development because they reach muscle tissue faster than their other amino acid siblings. To get all scientific, the unique carbon chains on the sides of these molecules are what make it easy for your body to metabolize them into into energy during exercise. In other words? BCAAs are easy-access fuel for your hungry muscle tissue.
The Benefits: If you’re looking to keep your hard-earned muscle – and who isn’t? – get some BCAAs into your workout routine asap. Exercise, as beneficial as it is, puts our bodies in a state of stress. Our bodies have a threshold as to how much stress we can handle – and once we reach that threshold, we start to fatigue. Too much exercise-induced stress can cause burnout, leaving you tired, weak, even prone to injury if you attempt to suck it up and push through – never a smart choice when your body is hurting and screaming for rest! The beauty of BCAAs is that they help keep your muscular system a lean, mean, fitness machine by helping you recover more efficiently after each workout and ensuring you keep that tough muscle intact. What’s more? BCAAs reduce the amount of tryptophan that enters the brain during physical exertion, which is what’s responsible for your perception of fatigue – and usually our brains give up way before our bodies. By supplementing with BCAAs, you might finally be able to work out to your fullest potential, a level of excellence you didn’t even know existed.
How To: The best way to take a BCAA supplement is during your workout. Post-recovery will work wonders as well, since that’s when BCAA levels start to decline the most. They’re super easy for your bod to absorb: simply drop a couple scoops of BCAA powder into your water bottle, shake it up, and get moving!
TCM Pick: Pure Encapsulations BCAA Powder