There are many ways through which people seek to make themselves healthier, lose weight, improve their level of fitness, and generally build a better body. They can range from fad diets and gym memberships to minor lifestyle changes, such as exercising better portion control or counting calories. Among these myriad options are fitness supplements, which come in a variety of forms; most popular, of course, are the protein-based supplements – especially whey – but more recent developments have led to the emergence of a newer, more advanced product: amino acid supplements like those from aminoVITAL®. These supplements are lean, efficient products, so it’s no surprise that people want to use them in conjunction with other effective weight loss methods, such as intermittent fasting and other types of calorie-restricted diets. One question relevant to fans of fasting, however, is this: Can you take BCAAs on fast days? To find out, keep reading as the experts at aminoVITAL® explain.
The Benefits of BCAA Supplements
For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, the acronym “BCAA” comes from the name of a specific type of amino acid, the branched-chain amino acid. Among the 20 amino acids our bodies need to function, there are nine that must be consumed in food or supplements because we can’t make them ourselves; three of these nine are the BCAAs, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Each compound serves its own unique purpose, and in combination they offer significant benefits to professional athletes and casual gym-goers alike:
- The presence of leucine signals to our bodies that it’s time to start making new muscle tissue. This is important not only to improve gains after each workout but also to help create new muscle cells to repair the damage done during exercise.
- Isoleucine is used by the muscles to keep energy (glucose) flowing into them during exercise, which helps to improve endurance when working out. This amino acid also aids the recovery process after exercise, leading to a quicker turnaround and letting you exercise again that much sooner.
- The little brother of the group, valine, serves more of a support role. This amino acid helps protect muscles from damage during periods of strenuous physical activity, and it supports some key systems in the body, too.
Though the effects of each BCAA offer plenty of reason to want them in your pre-workout drink, mid-workout energy boost, or post-workout supplement regimen, they come with two other notable advantages as well. When you consume a protein shake, your body must break down those proteins to get at the amino acids inside; this is not the case with an amino acid supplement. Because these products contain free-form amino acids that require very little digestion before they’re absorbed into the bloodstream, they take effect up to three times faster than even the more efficient forms of protein, such as whey.
In addition to their speed and efficiency, amino acid supplements tend to be much leaner than protein shakes and powders. A look at the label of your favorite protein-based product will probably show that it contains lots of calories and sugars, but amino acid products tend to reject these excesses in favor of a stripped-down approach to supplementation. For example, the Action intra-workout amino acid mix from aminoVITAL® has only 15 calories and a single gram of carbs, with no sugar in sight. This makes it an ideal supplement for building lean muscle without undermining your overall weight-, health-, and fitness-related goals.
Can You Take a BCAA Supplement While Fasting?
The act of fasting generally requires setting aside a portion of your day or week in which you avoid consuming almost all foods and beverages, including most supplements. There are some fasting practitioners who insist that taking in any calories counts as breaking a fast, but there are a few other common stances regarding what is allowed on fast days; let’s look at some of these below.
BCAAs During a Full-Day Fast
If you are one of those individuals disciplined enough to go for entire days without eating, know that BCAA supplements may still be an option. Though quite small, these supplements do contain some amount of calories, which could be considered an issue while fasting, but there are some who say that tiny amounts of calories and carbohydrates may be fine while fasting, especially if they amount to fewer than 50 grams of carbs in total. If you’re one of these people, a BCAA supplement should be fine to take.
BCAAs During a Part-Time Fast
More commonly, people who fast do so for only a portion of their day, often for between 12 and 16 hours at a time; others still eat during periods of fasting, but only 500-600 calories over the course of the day. For either of these groups, BCAA supplements are a great option, largely because they have so few calories and carbs; this allows them to fit nicely into an extremely low-calorie diet, serving as a source of fitness-boosting amino acids without taking up any of the calorie cap imposed for the day.
Lean, Efficient BCAA Supplements Available from aminoVITAL® Today
If you work hard to build muscle and improve your level of fitness, even while fasting, you may want to check out the benefits of BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL®. Each amino acid-based mix comes with only those ingredients essential to helping you meet your goals: vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (plus the small dose of carbs in our Rapid Recovery supplement, which restores the body’s glycogen stores). To find out more about amino acid supplements and how they can fit into your fasting regimen, visit the aminoVITAL® website or call (888) 264-6673 today.