What Role Do BCAAs Play in Marathon Training?
Marathons are among the most difficult athletic endeavors a person can attempt, and the training required to do so can be almost as grueling as the race itself. Even a seasoned runner might struggle with the distances required for marathon training, so anything that can give people an edge when they’re going through this difficult process is welcome. Fitness supplements are perhaps the most common example of this; everyone from marathon runners to weight lifters uses fitness supplements – most often, protein supplements – to improve the results of their efforts, but a leaner, more efficient alternative is now available. BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL® offer many of the familiar benefits for athletic training found in protein-based products, plus a few advantages. Keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain the role BCAAs play in marathon training.
What are BCAAs?
Among the many compounds needed to keep our bodies healthy, perhaps the most important are amino acids. For those unfamiliar with the term, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which means that they are essential for the production of the various enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters required to keep our systems in sync.
In all, there are 20 different varieties of these proteinogenic compounds: 11 “nonessential” amino acids, which our bodies can generally produce on their own, and nine “essential” amino acids that we have to get through outside sources, such as foods or supplements. The BCAAs – an abbreviation of the term “branched-chain amino acids” – belong to this second group. Individually, these compounds are known as leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
The Benefits of BCAAs for Marathon Training
There are plenty of reasons why fitness supplements like those from aminoVITAL® focus on providing branched-chain amino acids in particular. Each of the BCAAs offers a unique benefit that supports muscular performance during exercise and aids the recovery process afterward. To find out more about each of the BCAAs, read on.
Out of the three BCAAs, leucine is probably the most well-regarded. This amino acid is used to kick-start the synthesis of new skeletal muscle, leading to bigger biceps, stronger legs, and better muscle tone in general. As an added bonus, the compounds produced when our bodies process leucine (which are called metabolites) offer some benefits as well; beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), for example, has been shown to reduce muscle damage during exercise and may even lead to an increased loss of fat1.
Isoleucine, the second of the BCAAs, is more about endurance than strength. This amino acid helps with energy availability in muscle tissue by promoting the flow of glucose (the body’s favorite form of fuel) to muscle cells and its conversion to energy there. There are also signs that isoleucine may help speed up the post-workout recovery process, so you’ll be ready for your next run in no time.
Though it’s the last BCAA listed here, valine is by no means unimportant. This amino acid helps with marathon training by protecting muscle tissues during periods of intense, prolonged exertion – the same kind that takes place during marathons and marathon training regimens. Normally, the muscles are prone to developing tiny tears during exercise that must be repaired, and they may even be broken down for fuel if the body’s glycogen stores run out. Valine works to prevent this, preserving muscle mass and limiting the amount of healing required after exercise.
Advantages of BCAAs vs. Protein Shakes in Marathon Training
Most fitness-minded individuals have used some type of protein-based supplement, whether in the form of a shake or powder. These supplements have proven effective for many people, but they lack some of the advantages that come with BCAA supplements.
In fact, BCAAs are the very things that make protein supplements effective; virtually any protein shake or powder you use will have BCAAs – among other things – in them, joined together by the peptide bonds that hold proteins together. These bonds have a drawback, however; when you drink a protein shake, your digestive system has to break the bonds between the amino acids in those proteins before the compounds can be used; this process takes a significant amount of time.
When you use a BCAA supplement, on the other hand, the effects are felt much more quickly because very little digestion is required to process free-form amino acids. For this reason, BCAA supplements can take effect up to three times faster than products like whey protein.
If that’s not enough, BCAA supplements also tend to be much leaner than protein-based products. Take a look at the nutrition labels on popular protein supplements and you’ll see that many of them contain far more calories and sugar than you might expect. By comparison, amino acid supplements from aminoVITAL® are quite lean, with as few as 10 calories in some cases. This pared-back formula helps prevent unwanted weight gain while still providing all the benefits you’ve come to expect from your fitness supplements.
Fast, Effective BCAA Supplements Available Today from aminoVITAL®
If lean muscle is your goal, know that aminoVITAL® BCAA supplements only contain those ingredients necessary to support performance – amino acids, vitamins, electrolytes, and (in the case of our Rapid Recovery mix) a small dose of carbs to replenish glycogen stores. For marathon runners, this means you can down a BCAA mix in the middle of a race for extra energy and support without feeling heavy or bloated afterward. Try a BCAA supplement today and see the difference for yourself. Learn more by visiting aminoVITAL® online or calling (888) 264-6673.