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BCAA’s: What are they and do I need them?

If you have just started weight training and are a little bit intimidated by all the different products available to you – don’t worry, you are certainly not alone! When I first started I was a little bit overwhelmed with everything that was available and unsure what I needed. Depending on your goals, a lot of supplements and equipment and not necessary and it is important to do your research for you buy any. As you will know from my Instagram story, I have recently started taking MyProtein BCAA’s. Before I started taking them I did a lot of research that I thought I would share with you so you’ve got it all on one place.

First up, what are BCAAs? Our body relies on three types of BCAA’s, or Branch Chain Amino Acids, which are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. Don’t get too bogged down with the technical terms here – basically, they are used as fuel and cannot be produced by the body alone so have to come from your diet.

So, what do they do? BCAA’s are known for increasing protein synthesis which helps to prevent muscle breakdown. Due to the fact they have already been broken down into the necessary amino acids that your body needs, it helps with this more than regular protein in your diet. Because of this increased rate of protein synthesis going on, your muscles are going to repair quickly and become less fatigued which ultimately results in greater muscle growth! As well as this, they also slow down the breakdown of protein, which also results in more muscle being built up and maintained. This is particularly important if you are wanting to cut down on fat but keep your muscle mass, for example if you’re cutting. By dieting, you are basically increasing your catabolic rate meaning protein is breaking down quicker and the body is more likely to turn to muscle stores for energy – BCAAs will help to stop this!

On top of all of this, BCAA’s can also help to improve productivity by inhibiting the production of serotonin which gives you the illusion of fatigue during your workouts. This means that, in theory, you can lift heavier and go for longer. By reducing muscle fatigue and soreness, it also means you can keep on pushing even after intense exercises (I’m looking at you leg day!)

It’s alright saying all of this but do they actually work? There is more research supporting BCAAs than any other supplement out there. From my personal experience, which so far has been relatively short, I have to say I am impressed. Whether it is down to the BCAA’s or not, I have seen far greater productivity in my workouts. I am also cutting at the minute ready for my holidays and have found that, so far, I don’t seem to have lost any of my muscle definition which has got to be a good thing. If used right (don’t go taking a ridiculous amount every day – follow the guidelines on the pack!) I think they have some really great benefits if you are weight training!

So, should I be taking them? Well, not if you’re pregnant or about to have surgery, other than that, if you are looking to increase muscle mass and/or lose fat then they are probably worth giving a try! It is important to remember, however, that BCAAs are not a necessity and you should not feel any pressure to spent a fortune on different supplements if they don’t fit in with your goals. For me, it felt like the right decision and I am seeing benefits from them, however, they are not for everyone and if they don’t appeal to you, that’s absolutely fine.

I kind of want to give them a shot, when should I take them? There isn’t really a right or wrong answer to this although most people would say just before or during your workout. I take mine with me to the gym and sip it whilst I am training and that works well for me!

Where can I get them from? Loads of different places sell BCAA’s but I get mine from MyProtein. There’s loads of flavours to choose from so go wild!

If you have any other questions get in touch either in the comments below of pop me a message on Instagram. I am planning on doing more blog posts of different supplements and equipment in the near future so if this has been useful, keep you eyes peeled.

Jamie x



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