What are BCAAS and should I be taking them too?

Supplements. Often a taboo subject. Mostly misunderstood!

At The Training Room Geelong this week we have had a few conversations with members about the best ways to incorporate supplements into nutrition plans to boost results and recovery. That being said, it is worth noting that before we have these conversations we first ask members to consider whether all other aspects of their nutrition planning, training, rest and recovery have been considered and fine tuned before they consider introducing supplements into their routine.

This week we have had conversations with two different members who have both been training with us for quite some time. As their fitness and skill level has improved (and that gym addiction has taken hold of them!) they are pushing harder in sessions and training more often. As a by product of this – they are noticing that they feel fatigue and muscle soreness for longer than they would like to.

In this case, it is worth exploring whether incorporating BCAAS/EAAS into their training plans would best support their current goals. Generally speaking, if you are hitting your protein requirements through real food and/ or protein powders, there is no need to be supplementing with BCAAs.

So why does this product exist?

Some studies have shown that the use of BCAA’s whilst training in a fasted state and on a calorie restricted diet (weight loss) helped support, maintain and even increase lean muscle mass.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, they make up our muscle tissue. The body produces a certain amount of these Aminos, however Branch Chain Amino acids, or more specifically Essential Amino Acids, must be supplied through the diet or supplementation.

BCAAs or EAAs assist in energy production during workouts and allow for an added energy boost.

More importantly, they stop the breakdown of muscle tissue, promote muscle recovery and growth and have been shown to reduce muscle soreness (DOMs). We personally have found that they also reduce hunger – BUT ARE NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE MEALS.

Overall BCAA or EAA should be taken to help fortify the muscles.

They are best taken first thing in the morning to stop muscle breakdown from the nights fast, pre/ post workout for an energy boost and to promote recovery and/ or with the last meal of the day to reduce and regulate hunger and to limit muscle breakdown during the night. There are many different products and each will have its own specific serving suggestions that should be closely looked at and followed.

It is important to remember that you should only incorporate supplements into your nutrition plan that are suited to your specific goals and needs. Just because your gym buddy is taking someone to support their training doesn’t make it necessary or even right for your body!

For more information about healthy, safe approaches to supplementation speak to any of our friendly coaches.