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What do BCAA drinks do?


What do BCAA drinks do?

If you’re cutting calories whilst training hard, your body might be exposed to a catabolic state. Despite following a calorie-deficit diet, you’ll need to keep your protein levels high so that your body has enough energy for your workout plan.

Your body can’t produce leucine, isoleucine and valine on its own – instead, your body sources the three essential amino acids from foods such as meat. BCAA supplements can be used as a workout aid. BCAA supplements come in two forms – tablets and powders. 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.

Pre-workout drink

Protein levels need to remain high to maintain and build muscle. BCAAs are the building blocks of protein and can be supplemented into a pre-workout drink to help make the most of your workout plan.

Intra-workout drink

BCAAs are the building blocks of protein. Sipping a BCAA drink during your workout will keep you hydrated. You can sip BCAAs mixed with a sports drink throughout a long training session. Naturally, your muscles will tire during a workout. Protein synthesis must exceed protein breakdown to build new muscle.

Post-workout drink

After a workout, your muscles will feel fatigued and will require energy to recover. When you’re on a calorie-deficit diet, over time your body can enter a catabolic state where it craves energy that it is missing. In addition to your short-term glycogen and fat stores, your body can turn to existing muscle for energy. For muscle growth, protein breakdown needs to be reduced.

A post-workout BCAA drink is a good way of using the supplement as a workout aid. Keeping the rate of protein synthesis higher than protein breakdown means muscles can recover, and new muscle tissue can grow. BCAAs are generally supplemented 2-4 times daily; around the time of your workout is beneficial, but you can also take a BCAA drink before bed on an evening, or first thing on a morning when you wake up to make sure your body has enough essential amino acids.