Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine are the 3 BCAA’s necessary to gain muscle, change body composition and recover faster. They are part of our (8) essential amino acids, which are essential to eat because our body cannot make them. All three can be found in meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and serve as precursors for the synthesis of molecules in the body. And as an athlete, BCAAs serve additional functions. They build muscle, help athletes recover faster and prevents muscle damage.
Maximizing Strength Gains
BCAAs are essential for preventing muscle breakdown in the recovery period post-workout and can also induce muscle growth. However, if you don’t eat something post-workout, muscle breakdown exceeds muscle growth.
In addition to boosting muscle growth, BCAAs decrease muscle damage and soreness associated with intense exercise. Less damage means an athlete will recover quicker and the athlete can get back to work faster. Incorporating BCAAs during endurance exercise decreases muscle damage and the loss of lean body mass. Over time, calorie deficits lead to weight loss, which is fine if you have the spare fat to lose; however, during weight loss, some of that weight is typically muscle tissue. BCAAs help decrease the amount of muscle lost.
Boosting Weight Loss
In addition to helping boost muscle growth, some scientists believe that BCAAs can help you drop fat by increasing satiety, the full feeling where you push the plate away. In one interesting study, scientists put wrestlers into one of three groups. All 3 groups were on low calorie diets while one group served as a control, another was given BCAAs and the third group was given a high protein diet. The group supplemented with BCAAs lost a significant amount of bodyweight and body fat compared to the other two groups.
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