Supplements have always been a part of crafting an effective workout regimen, but recent years have seen a greater understanding of the importance of varying the supplements you take. By adding a collection of products – called a “stack” – to your routine, you can provide your body with comprehensive nutritional support at all phases of your workout, leading to results above and beyond what you could expect from a single supplement, such as protein powder or creatine, alone. Along with the rise of the workout stack has come the widespread popularity of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), three compounds that are well-known for their ability to aid muscle performance in both the short and long term. So, you might be wondering how to add BCAAs to your workout stack and what benefits you can expect when doing so. To find out, keep reading as the BCAA supplement experts at aminoVITAL® tackle this topic head-on.
How Do BCAAs Improve a Workout Stack?
To understand why it makes sense to add BCAAs to your workout stack, let’s look at how BCAA supplements work. When you work out, your muscles face significant damage due to both the physical resistance against which they strain and the chemical consequences of burning such huge amounts of the body’s fuel reserves. This means that not only will your muscles develop tiny tears as a result of the force of lifting weight, but they may also be broken down by the body itself – a process called catabolism – for use as fuel once the body’s supply of glycogen runs out. It’s this damage that largely causes the soreness and fatigue you feel after a tough workout, making it harder to get back to the gym in the next day or two, but BCAAs can be quite effective at addressing these issues.
For one thing, adding BCAAs to your stack as a mid-workout supplement can provide a source of energy1 that your muscles can use instead of breaking down the proteins in your tissue for fuel, essentially saving your body from itself. In addition, these amino acids – and especially leucine, the most powerful of the three – promote muscle protein synthesis, the process by which the body builds new muscle fibers2 to repair and reinforce those damaged during exercise. Plus, BCAAs have also been shown to provide significant protection3 for muscle tissue, preventing much of the damage that would otherwise take place and limiting the amount of recovery required after a workout.
As an added bonus, BCAAs are easy to integrate into even a well-stocked workout stack because they require only water to mix with and are very low in calories; aminoVITAL®’s Action mid-workout mix, for instance, has only 15 calories. If you want to stack supplements but prefer to avoid loading up on calories or sugar, BCAA supplements are ideal.
When to Take BCAAs as Part of Your Workout Stack
Every fitness buff is familiar with the three main categories of fitness supplements – the pre-workout, mid-workout, and post-workout varieties – which exist to support the body in every conceivable way. Most workout stacks include one or more products in each category, but to maximize the effectiveness of a particular supplement, it’s important to have some idea of when you should use them in your routine; BCAAs are no exception.
BCAAs as a Pre-Workout Supplement
One of the best things about BCAAs is that they offer a wide array of benefits at every stage of your routine, including as a pre-workout. While products containing caffeine are more common, these supplements tend to provide a sharp spike in energy that peters out as your routine progresses, ultimately cumulating in a crash; additional side effects include jitters, nervousness, and difficulty concentrating. BCAAs, on the other hand, provide steady, easy-to-manage energy, and their muscle-protecting effects can be gained right from the start of your workout. In other words, the earlier you take your BCAAs, the more you benefit from them.
BCAAs as a Mid-Workout Supplement
As mentioned above, many BCAA users prefer to add these compounds to their stack as a mid-workout supplement. The energy they provide is great for when you start feeling tired but want to keep pushing, and by using BCAAs to kick off the muscle production process before you’ve stopped exercising, you can give your body a head-start on repairing damaged muscles and building new tissue to add to your biceps, quads, or whatever area you’re working on.
BCAA Supplements for Post-Workout Recovery
Perhaps the most common time to down a fitness supplement is right after the routine has ended. Even the most casual gym-goers know that this is the time when the body truly hungers for the resources to build new muscle tissue, so it’s the ideal point at which to supply them. However, what’s less well-known is that carbs are also important during this time window, as your body needs to replenish its stores of glycogen, a form of glucose (energy) preferred by the muscles during exercise – which is why aminoVITAL® post-workout BCAA supplements include a dose of carbs in addition to muscle-building amino acids for more comprehensive nutritional support when your body needs it most.
Consider Adding Powerful BCAA Supplements to Your Workout Stack Today
Although there are many types of supplements out there today, few enjoy the level of popularity and sound scientific backing seen with BCAAs. By adding an aminoVITAL® supplement to your workout stack, you can benefit from the many ways in which BCAAs protect and build muscle tissue while adding few calories or carbs to your diet. To learn more about the benefits of adding BCAAs to your workout stack, visit aminoVITAL® online or call us today at (888) 264-6673.