You may be new to the fitness world, or perhaps you've been lifting for years. Either way, you've likely come across information about the importance of fueling your body before and after your workouts. Without proper nutrition, you may find yourself feeling sluggish at the gym, and you won't see the kinds of gains that you are working for so diligently.
One of the most effective tools in an athlete's arsenal to repair and grow lean muscle is protein. We at Supplement Superstore are huge proponents of protein supplements. They are easy to consume and pack a serious protein punch. But what many people don't know is that amino acids are just as crucial to your fitness goals!
The Basics of Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks that make up proteins. These organic compounds are what's left over when the body naturally breaks down protein. Amino acids are crucial to the body's ability to repair body tissue and replace those lost proteins.
In total, there are 80 amino acids out there. Nine of them are considered "essential," meaning they can only enter the body through consumption. Essential amino acids help athletes regain their energy post-workout, reduce muscle soreness, and promote weight loss.
Of the nine essential amino acids, three are instrumental in building new lean muscle. These amino acids are known as branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
BCAAs are the building blocks of muscle proteins and, for fitness lovers and endurance athletes alike, they are crucial to the body's ability to repair and grow lean muscle mass and avoid exercise fatigue.
Each of the three amino acids below is considered a BCAA:
- Leucine - Leucine works to stimulate protein synthesis directly and keeps your mental and physical performance high during workouts.
- Isoleucine - the BCAA that increases endurance, boosts energy levels and regulates blood sugar both during and after a strenuous workout.
- Valine – This BCAA works to improve muscle tissue recovery and increase stamina and endurance. It also serves as an appetite suppressant, making it easier to curb your post-workout cravings.
Since the body cannot naturally produce these three amino acids, you'll need to find BCAA supplements to make sure you get your fix!
BCAA supplements are fast and effective, meaning that each replacement BCAA will enter your bloodstream and begin the work of muscle repair right after you've finished your set. BCAA supplements also work to block your cravings, especially for carbohydrates, which will help you reach your goals that much more quickly.
What are the Best BCAA Products to Try?
At Supplement Superstore, we pride ourselves in stocking the BCAA supplements you need, no matter what your fitness or weight loss goals may be. We've laid out our favorite supplements for you below:
- ANS Performance Quench BCAA - Quench is a supplement packed with 7.2g of muscle-building BCAAs per serving, giving your muscles the boost they need to repair and regrow quickly post-workout. You'll get 10g of amino acids per scoop, helping you to push through even your most grueling workouts and improving your recovery time.
- Beyond Yourself AMRAP - For those looking to push themselves to max out the number of reps per exercise they can do, this supplement is the perfect solution. AMRAP is a zero-carb, anabolic BCAA endurance formula that helps improve muscle function, increase your energy levels, and repair muscles for muscle growth.
- Mutant BCAA 9.7 - Featuring 9.7 grams of fully instantized BCAA blend per scoop, Mutant BCAA also packs a punch with eight added electrolytes to keep your muscles hydrated. Its patented absorption accelerator means the BCAAs within the formula will be absorbed quickly and efficiently.
Whey Protein and BCAA
As we mentioned at the top of this post, the combination of whey protein and BCAAs work together to build muscle. Whey supplements are high in leucine, which promotes protein synthesis. Leucine helps you absorb protein quickly during your anabolic window, which is essential to seeing gains. Protein supplements packed with BCAAs also stimulate your hormones to increase your muscle mass.
Get your protein and BCAA fix with the following products:
- AllMax AllWhey Classic - This whey protein and amino acid blend is carefully created to combine enzymes that enhance digestion. The result? Higher levels of protein absorption that helps you use the protein you consume more effectively.
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein - This supplement is loaded with whey protein isolates (WPIs), the purest form of whey protein on the market. Combine this product's WPIs with premium whey protein concentrate, and you've got 24 grams of protein packed into every serving. More than 5 grams of BCAAs per serving make this the supplement you need to take your training to the next level.
Timing your BCAA Supplement Intake
When taking a BCAA or other supplements to help enhance your fitness performance, you will want to pay close attention to the timing of supplement consumption. The most effective time to take BCAA supplements is right after your workout, during your 45-minute anabolic window.
Take your supplements during your workout for an added boost to push you through to the end of your reps! A supplement packed with amino acids taken mid-workout helps to produce antibodies, enzymes, and energy. During your workout, you'll experience less muscle soreness, improved focus, and shorter recovery time.
Further Benefits of Supplements
We've walked you through the ways BCAA supplements can increase your energy, shorten muscle repair time, and stimulate lean muscle growth. But the positive effects of supplements don't end at the gym! The benefits of supplements, especially those that contain protein and amino acids, can affect your whole life and your entire body for the better.
Along with increased endurance, mental focus, and shorter recovery time, taking a supplement can also promote:
- Better sleep
- Positive mental health
- Hormone support
- Immune system strengthening
When you sleep well, your physical and mental health will benefit. And a healthy immune system means you stay active and able to smash your fitness goals each time you enter the gym.
Try working a BCAA supplement into your exercise routine, and we're sure you'll reap the benefits both inside and outside of the gym!