We all know diet and exercise are the two critical factors that will help you reach your goal weight, but when it comes to sculpting your ideal body shape, it’s what you eat and how you exercise that makes all the difference.
It’s not just about seeing the numbers on the scale drop - it’s about changing your body shape and sculpting lean, toned muscles that help you to look and feel fit, healthy and fabulous.
That’s where Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs come in. If you’re looking to build lean muscle while losing weight, read on to learn how BCAAs form an essential part of your weight loss diet.
What Are BCAAs?
BCAAs are the essential amino acids that our body just can’t survive without. Although BCAAs make up 35% of our muscle protein, the body can’t produce BCAAs on its own. That means our BCAA intake needs to come from food or supplements.
They get their name from their branched structure which helps them bypass the liver and go straight to the muscles. The most significant BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Why Should I Take BCAAs if I Want to Lose Weight?
You might be wondering, why should I take a supplement that helps to build muscle when what I want is to lose weight? The key thing to remember is that BCAAs help you to burn fat faster while saving muscle tone and creating long, lean muscles that keep you strong and healthy.
While losing muscle might help you see your weight drop in the short term, the reality is that the more healthy muscle you have, the faster your metabolism and the faster your body will burn fat. BCAAs help us attain that tight, ‘shredded’, lean look we’re aiming for in weight loss, without sacrificing precious muscle tone.
What Are the Benefits of BCAAs?
So how do BCAAs actually help you to lose weight and sculpt toned, tight muscles? It all comes down to how our protein intake is used in the body, and what happens to your muscles when you work out.
- BCAAs are Pure Muscle Fuel
BCAAs make up 35% of muscle protein, and of all the amino acids, they are most easily absorbed directly into muscles. BCAAs can help to fuel your muscles during exercise, meaning that you can put more energy into your workout and burn even more calories. You simply cannot build muscle without BCAAs.
- BCAAs Build Muscle While Helping You Burn Fat
Aerobic exercise like running, cycling, walking and swimming is essential for fat burning. In fact, up to 70% of our energy comes from burning fat when doing aerobic exercise.
But aerobic exercise and weight loss diets can also cause your body to burn muscle as well. Your body is constantly maintaining a balancing act between your fat stores and your muscles to make sure you have enough energy stored up. This means when you try to lose fat, you end up losing muscle as well, missing out on the toned body you’ve been training for.
BCAAs help to prevent muscle loss because they are proteinogenic – they build up proteins rather than break them down. Not only do BCAAs help you to build muscles during exercise, they can also be directly used as an alternative source of fuel if your body runs out of carbohydrate (muscle glycogen). This means you can train longer, burning more fat, while also maintaining and building lean muscle.
- BCAAs Help Get You Pumped Up for your Workout
If you struggle to get out of bed and head to the gym when your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re not alone! BCAAs decrease the effects of tryptophan in the body, which is important because tryptophan is what makes you feel tired and ready to rest. By keeping tryptophan levels in check, BCAAs keep you pumped to work harder and longer when training.
- BCAAs Provide A Better Recovery
The main time for muscle building to occur is in the first 24 hours after a workout. Supplementing with BCAAs during workout recovery ensures that you build your optimum level of toned, lean muscles, while stimulating maximum fat burning.
A Quick Guide to Taking BCAAs
So, how should you take BCAAs for the best results?
With a Workout: To build muscle and burn fat, take 5-10 grams of BCAAs along with your protein shake no more than half an hour before, or after a workout. You can also sip on a delicious BCAA supplement during your workout for a tasty way to stay hydrated while toning muscles. Taking BCAAs within half an hour of exercising helps to maximise their muscle protective qualities.
During the Day: If you don’t want to worry about the timing of taking your BCAAs, you can always just add the BCAA powder to your water bottle a couple of times a day. Not only will this help keep your BCAA levels top up so you stay alert and energised, but you also stay hydrated with a tasty, low calorie drink.
To view the full range of Luxe Fitness BCAAs and supplements, you can view our product page.