There are many reasons why fitness fanatics take BCAA supplements – to improve their performance, to boost their gains, to promote quicker recovery, to provide energy. One of the less-well-documented advantages of BCAAs is their ability to promote weight loss, something supported by both scientific and anecdotal evidence. However, as with virtually all types of supplements, BCAAs are only entirely effective if used correctly. So when should you take BCAAs for fat loss, and how does that process even work, anyway? To find out more about these safe and powerful products, keep reading as the amino acid experts at aminoVITAL® offer an explanation.
How BCAAs Help with Fat Loss
Anytime someone works out enough, their more or less guaranteed to lose weight. The downside of this process is that some of the mass that’s lost is muscle, not fat – a result of catabolism, the biological process through which the body breaks down tissues for use as emergency fuel. However, by taking BCAAs as part of an exercise routine, these incredible compounds can help ensure that what you lose is fat, not muscle, aiding your weight loss efforts while helping you stay fit.
Preferential Fat Loss with BCAAs
Although the exact mechanism that causes it has not yet been identified, a number of studies have shown that, when BCAAs are consumed as part of a workout routine, the body is more likely to burn fat instead of lean muscle mass. One study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine compared groups of competitive wrestlers, one of whom used BCAAs, over the course of almost three weeks.
At the conclusion of the study, the authors found that, along with a moderate restriction in calorie intake, the members of the BCAA group saw “significant and preferential losses” of visceral fat while still meeting the high training standards of their sport. Additional studies have backed up these findings, including one from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition2, which concluded that BCAAs taken during a strength-training regimen resulted in a greater loss of body fat, a greater increase in lean muscle, and a greater increase in strength (as measured through bench presses and squats).
And even when exercise isn’t a factor, it seems as though BCAAs can improve the efforts of someone looking to lose weight through dieting. Another study3 – this one from the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research – involved 42 women who were considered overweight or obese. Participants took either a combination of BCAAs and vitamin B6 or a placebo; at the end of the study, overall weight loss was similar between the groups, but those on the BCAAs had leaner legs and slimmer waists, suggesting that a greater proportion of the weight this group lost was fat, nor muscle.
Protection of Muscle Tissue with BCAAs
As mentioned above, the loss of tissue – both fat and muscle – is the typical result of exercise because the body often needs to pull additional fuel from somewhere during a workout, once the stores of glycogen in the muscles have been spent. With BCAAs, however, the body’s muscle tissue is better protected, forcing the user’s system to burn fat instead of muscle and causing an increase in fat loss as a result.
Numerous studies support this muscle-protection benefit, including one4 published in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry in 2013. In the study, the authors looked at indicators of fatigue, muscle damage, and energy metabolism in the body of those taking BCAAs, ultimately finding that BCAAs were lined to lower concentrations of fatigue and muscle damage substances in the body. Put more plainly, BCAAs help protect muscle tissue while inducing greater fat loss instead.
When to Take BCAAs for Fat Loss
To be most effective, BCAAs should be used as part of an exercise routine. If you know the full extent of their benefits, this won’t come as a surprise; BCAAs have been shown to boost energy levels, fight fatigue, aid muscle growth, and hasten muscle repair – all processes that can improve athletic performance and amplify the benefits of exercise, including fat loss.
For this reason, the best time to take BCAAs for fat loss is right around the time that you’re exercising. Taking a BCAA supplement in the middle of your workout – such as aminoVITAL®’s Action mid-workout mix, for instance – and you can provide your muscles with additional fuel while protecting them from harm, kicking off the recovery process, and balancing hydration (thanks to the electrolytes this product contains). In addition, a dose of BCAAs before your next workout can leave you feeling energized without the jitters, nervousness, or eventual crash that tend to come with stimulant-based pre-workout supplements.
And BCAAs can make for an excellent post-workout supplement, too. The Rapid Recovery mix from aminoVITAL® supplies fat-fighting amino acids along with vitamins, minerals, and a small dose of carbohydrates to help your body replenish its glycogen stores. Take these BCAAs after your workout to speed up your recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and keep those fat-burning processes going strong.
Try an aminoVITAL® BCAA Supplement for Fat Loss Today
As the evidence that BCAAs help with exercise performance and fat loss continues to mount, more and more athletes – both professional and casual – have embraced amino acids as a source of exercise nutrition. As an added bonus, the BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL are lean, with very few calories or carbs, further aiding your fat loss efforts in a way that few supplements can. To learn more about the benefits of BCAAs for fat loss, visit aminoVITAL® online today or give us a call at (888) 264-6673.