BCAAs possess many qualities that make them invaluable in bodybuilding. BCAAs are rapidly absorbed, prevent breakdown of muscle tissue, boost immune function, stimulate protein synthesis and fat loss and decrease post workout muscular soreness. These unique properties make BCAAs massively important in supporting any progression in training, regardless of the goal. In this article we look into what role BCAAs have within Bodybuilding and why they play such an important part in gaining results.
BCAAs and their effects for Bodybuilders
The main area of interest for BCAA supplementation within bodybuilding is that BCAAs have been shown to independently stimulate protein synthesis. The important term here is ‘independent’. In short, they have been shown to stimulate protein synthesis even without training. Through BCAA supplementation, research has shown there to be an increase in muscle building hormones and insulin. Each of these stimulate an increase in protein synthesis, thereby increasing muscle mass.
When combined with training this has a huge effect on muscular gain, with studies showing that even endurance based training (with BCAA supplementation) leads to an increase in muscle mass. BCAAs have also been shown to increase recovery times. Post exercise muscle soreness has been shown to decrease substantially with BCAA supplementation. This means you can train harder, longer and therefore enjoy faster size and strength gains.
BCAAs and Dieting
BCAAs are most widely known for their anti-catabolic effects. BCAAs are unique amino acids that pass through the liver without being broken down. They are then shuttled to the muscles where they can be used in building muscle tissue or can be broken down to release energy. BCAAs prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue by becoming a source of energy before the body uses hard earned muscle tissue. One theory that would explain this is that the body senses a high level of BCAAs in the bloodstream which is typically a sign of excessive muscle breakdown. The body looks to limit this breakdown and uses more fat for fuel. The elevated levels of BCAAs in the bloodstream also trigger an insulin response, which drives the BCAAs to the muscle and stimulate protein synthes
BCAAs and Fat Loss Studies
BCAA supplementation has also been shown to decrease body fat. In a study on wrestlers, the group with the high BCAA intake lost the most body fat (17.3% on average) and much of this was in the abdominal region. A similar study on 2 groups of climbers found that both groups lost weight, but the BCAA supplemented group actually increased muscle mass while losing fat while the other group lost muscle mass. There are very few supplements that can increase muscle mass whilst stimulating a decrease in body fat but BCAAs seems to be one of them. As BCAAs also prevent the breakdown of your hard-earned muscle tissue and speed up recovery times, BCAAs are one of the most important supplements to have in your diet