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Benefits of BCAA

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Why BCAA?

Whilst following a strict diet helps towards shredding excess pounds, it might also prevent you from maintaining and gaining any muscle. Instead, you might find that you lose it. Working out on a calorie-deficit diet leaves your body craving for energy and leaves you at risk of entering a catabolic state; so, in a bid to satisfy its energy needs, the body has to find an energy source from other places in the body to be able to carry on the workout.

Over time, the body may have to rely on the breakdown of protein, meaning the rate of protein breakdown begins to exceed the rate of protein synthesis, and as a result, your body loses muscle mass.

Protein is made up of amino acids and three of the attention-grabbing ones are the Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine, which your body can’t produce naturally and so must be obtained from the diet. Leucine is considered as the main amino acid out of the three, which is why in most BCAA supplements, it is the greatest component in the ratio.

Preventing muscle loss

When looking to shed an extra few pounds, your diet is vital to see the desired results. However, over time a calorie-deficit diet can have a negative impact on your muscles. Protein can help with muscle growth and maintenance. Protein consumption before bed on an evening, and first thing when you wake up, helps maintain and build new protein.

Maintaining muscle mass

A decrease in protein breakdown along with a calorie deficit diet and training means you can maintain lean mass whilst also losing fat mass, as your body is no longer using as much muscle protein as an energy source.

The rate of protein synthesis and the rate of protein breakdown need to be kept similar, if not equal, to maintain muscle mass

Supplementing BCAA

BCAA supplements come in two forms – tablets and BCAA powder. They can be taken up to 3 times a day depending on the serving size and concentration (so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions). The powder can be mixed with water, a cordial or sports drink for use during a workout. Tablets are usually swallowed whole with water. BCAAs can also be taken before or post-workout provided that the recommended daily dose is not exceeded.

Final thoughts

Following a calorie deficit diet over time can result in loss of lean body mass (muscle) if not carefully managed. BCAA are essential amino acids - the building blocks of protein, required for protein synthesis.

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