You probably know that taking branch chain amino acid supplements can help ‘turn’ on the muscle building process within your body. What you may not know is that bcaa’s may be able to help you build more muscle, get, and perform better in and out of the gym in other ways too. This article reviews recently published research that tells you how.
The first way branch chain amino acids supplements can help your performance is by decreasing post-workout muscle soreness. As you can imagine less soreness may can enable you to train again sooner. In one study subjects they did 7 sets of 20 rep squats which, as you can imagine will really beat up your muscles. One group in this study drank a bcaa supplement before working out and the other a placebo. Those who drank the bcaa drink before their workouts experienced significantly less muscle soreness in the days following their workout than the placebo group. Their muscles also showed less damage and were able to perform better in subsequent tests (2).
Another way bcaa supplements may be able to benefit you is by helping to establish the right environment so your body can recover faster after a workout. In another study, subjects either drank a bcaa supplement or placebo for 4 weeks, During the 4th week of the study they also performed an intense strength training workout. Results find that the bcaa group experienced less damage to their muscles, had higher testosterone levels, and lower cortisol levels post-workout (1). These effects may, in turn, make it possible for your body to recover faster so that you can train harder and more often.
Now that you know two ways they can benefit your quest to build a better body you should know which bcaa supplements are the best for the job. Since you typically have to take a fairly large dose (5+ grams), we find it easiest to use powdered supplement. When choosing a product, we recommend one that uses a micronized powder since they tend to dissolve easier and stay dissolved too. Three products we like are, BodyTech BCAA Powder, Scivation Xtend, and USP Labs Modern BCAA. Click on any of these links to read our reviews of each to see which of the three is best for your needs.
1. Sharp CP, Pearson DR. Amino acid supplements and recovery from high-intensity resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr;24(4):1125-30.
2. Shimomura Y, Inaguma A, Watanabe S, Yamamoto Y, Muramatsu Y, Bajotto G, Sato J, Shimomura N, Kobayashi H, Mawatari K. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Jun;20(3):236-44.