With all the hype surrounding BCAAs these days, it’s easy to understand some of the confusion regarding the exact nature of these products. Claims about BCAA supplements abound, ranging from the scientifically sound – such as the fact that these amino acids can help fight fatigue – to the somewhat implausible. This is in part because BCAAs are a relatively new type of supplement; plus, the fact that BCAAs are so effective tends to make people what to hyperbolize a bit. That said, there are plenty of solid benefits to talk up when it comes to BCAAs, including their ability to serve as an alternative pre-workout supplement to those stimulant-laden products that so many have been forced to rely on. To learn more about whether BCAAs are a pre-workout and what other roles they can play in your fitness routine, keep reading as the experts at aminoVITAL® explain.
How Do BCAAs Work as a Pre-Workout Supplement?
Before heading to the gym, even the most dedicated fitness fanatics sometimes need a boost of energy to get in the mood and maximize their efforts. This is the purpose of pre-workouts: to improve performance by allowing someone to push themselves harder for longer. Most often, pre-workouts are made with stimulants, especially caffeine, though there are a few different varieties out there; one of these is the group of three amino acids known as BCAAs – short for “branched-chain amino acids”.
Among their many other uses in the body, BCAAs can help you stay energized during a long workout. Through the process of gluconeogenesis, your system can create glucose (its preferred form of fuel) from amino acids, and the amino acid isoleucine (one of the three BCAAs) can also increase the flow of glucose to the muscles and aid in its use there1. In addition, once your body becomes low on glucose, the BCAAs themselves can serve as a source of energy.
Compared to other types of pre-workouts, BCAAs are arguably a superior choice because of a certain ability they possess: These compounds can fight the onset of central nervous system fatigue, that feeling of tiredness and loss of motivation that can occur as you exercise. By limiting the movement of tryptophan, another amino acid, into the brain (where it would become serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to central nervous system fatigue), BCAAs can fight fatigue before it starts and help you work out at peak efficiency for longer periods of time.
Taken together, these beneficial effects offer plenty of reasons for a person to use BCAAs as a pre-workout supplement, but they come with two other advantages as well. When taking a supplement made with significant amounts of caffeine, users often report feeling jittery or nervous before and during their workouts – a common side effect of stimulant use – and they also tend to experience a crash an hour or two after taking the product.
BCAAs, on the other hand, don’t have these drawbacks. When used as a pre-workout, these amino acids provide steady, sustained energy during exercise, without the wild upswing and eventual crash felt by those who use stimulants. Plus, the measured nature of these supplements means you won’t feel jittery or on edge; instead, you’ll feel a comfortable surge of energy that can help power your workout without the negative side effects often associated with pre-workout supplements.
Additional Benefits of BCAAs as Pre-Workouts and Other Supplements
Although their use as a pre-workout already makes them effective as fitness supplements, BCAAs also excel as mid-workout and post-workout supplements, too. Each of the three BCAAs serves a role that supports your performance in the gym or on the field; we’ve already discussed isoleucine’s ability to promote endurance by facilitating the flow of energy to the muscles, but the other two BCAAs – leucine and valine – have much to offer as well.
Leucine, the most well-known of the BCAAs, is a vital part of pre-workouts and other supplements because of its unique role in the body: This amino acid triggers muscle protein synthesis, the process by which the body makes new muscle cells to heal damaged tissues during and after a workout and reinforce them with new muscle mass. Valine, the last BCAA, helps to limit exercise-related muscle damage brought on by physical stresses and catabolism – the process in which muscle proteins are broken down for energy. Combined, the three BCAAs serve as effective staples of pre-workout, post-workout, and mid-workout supplements that can be used for a variety of purposes.
It’s also worth noting that pre-workouts and other supplements made from BCAAs tend to be quite lean, with far fewer calories than your average protein shake and less sugar as well. The Action intra-workout mix from aminoVITAL®, for instance, comes with only 15 calories and no sugar at all, and its dose of amino acids and electrolytes can energize the body and balance hydration when used before or during bouts of exercise. Afterward, consider aminoVITAL®’s Rapid Recovery post-workout mix to streamline your muscles’ healing process and reduce soreness after intense exercise; this supplement also contains a small dose of carbohydrates to replenish the body’s stores of glycogen and help you get ready for your next workout.
Try Lean, Efficient BCAAs for Pre-Workout Energy and Post-Workout Recovery
When deciding on your next mid-, post-, or pre-workout supplement, consider the benefits of BCAAs. Not only are these products lean and effective, but they also take effect very quickly, thanks to the fast bioavailability of free-form amino acids. To learn more about the BCAA supplements available from aminoVITAL®, visit us online or call (888) 264-6673 today.