A few weeks back I already wrote about the importance of supplementation with Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) and the impact they can make on your recovery time. They can also help you with the weigh loss if you are concerned about losing muscle tissue while dieting.
There is a new article on Bodybuilding.com that talks about how supplementation with BCAA can help you preserve your muscles while dieting.
When you are trying to drastically reduce the amount of calories in your diet and run significant calorie deficit your body can go into a catabolic state (as opposed to the anabolic state when your body generates new muscle tissues using amino acids as building blocks) and start using your own muscle tissues for energy because you are running too big of a calorie deficit.
The additional muscle loss also could happen if you do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or any other form of intense cardio workouts that cause in your heart rate go higher than 70 – 80% of your max heart rate for extended periods of time. Especially if you start pushing it close to your MAX heart rate (MAX HR = 220 – age).
This is where BCAAs can come into the play. There has been multiple studies that indicate that BCAA promote the muscle synthesis which can compensate the negative effects of catabolic processes.
However, this is not the only benefit of using BCAAs. Supplementing with BCAA can increase the fat burning process by enhancing the lipid oxidation process and increasing endurance during the high intensity exercises. What that means is when you do HIIT workout your body releases fatty acids in your blood stream. BCAA will help oxidite fatty acids (burn fat).
And finally, if all of that was not enough, it is also believed that BCAA can stimulate brain activity and improve your memory.
A typical BCAA supplementation protocol is fairly simple: take them about 30 minutes before your workout and by the time you get started they already will be in your blood stream. You can also take them during and after workouts. BCAA are completely harmless and will not cause any health related issues.
You can get BCAA in capsules and as a powder. I personally use SciVation Xtend BCAA in a powder form. I mix them up with Power Aid Zero and get zero calories sports drink that contains BCAA, electrolytes and also tastes great. I drink them during both my weigh lifting workouts and HIIT. While I am not a big fan of recovery drinks, sometimes they have their place. If you are trying to lose weight (burn fat) I would recommend using BCAA as a recovery drink and mix it up with Creatine and add Glutamine to increase the muscle recovery.