Positive affirmation. The act of positively reinforcing a behaviour so that you continue to do it, often in a sub-conscious state.
Well, if you are using BCAAs throughout your day and when training then allow me to offer some positive affirmation! It’s nice to hear that you’re doing the right thing, which is why it is nice to see recent and well carried out research such as the new study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN) which positively reinforces the benefit of supping on a good BCAA supplement during exercise.
Dudgeon, Kelley & Scheett, (2016) found there to be significant evidence supporting BCAAs ability to maintain lean mass i.e. muscle mass, encourage fat loss and energise a session ALL whilst on a hypocaloric (low calorie) diet.
So what does that mean?
Hypocaloric diets are basically any diet that provides less calories than you need to maintain weight. These diets are standard practice when people are trying to lose weight, and that’s all well and good…provided you don’t mind where the weight is lost!
Take a bodybuilder for example, their main goal is to lose body fat, not weight. A hypocaloric diet would eventually succeed at burning fat, however this would almost certainly be at the expense of some muscle mass. One of the body’s ways of compensating for a lack of calories is to burn muscle mass for energy, so naturally we want to avoid this.
ENTER the Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA), a group of essential amino acids that are critical to lean muscle recovery, growth and preservation. The BCAAs consist of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, all of which are used in muscle protein synthesis. Chief of the muscle preserving amino acids is Leucine. Leucine has been proven beyond reasonable doubt to maximise muscle growth, but also to limit muscle catabolism (breakdown) during exercise.
Limiting muscle breakdown during exercise whilst on a hypocaloric diet, or even ‘on empty’ in the morning (training with zero calories upon waking), is critical to maximising muscle mass whilst simultaneously burning fat. The study in JISSN conclusively supported the use of BCAAs during exercise.
The bottom line is that BCAAs can be used to optimise muscle growth, minimise muscle breakdown AND support fat loss when training on a low calorie diet. Want to see and feel those muscle gains, then get a good quality 2:1:1 BCAA (minimum) in your supplement regime.
P.s. 2:1:1 refers to the ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine to Valine in grams i.e. 2g Leucine to 1g of Isoleucine and 1g Valine. Some BCAAs will offer a 6:1:1 ratio, which is fine, not necessarily better than a 2:1:1.
I would recommend USN BCAA Power Punch as this is a 4:2:2 ratio, so it’s well dosed, and mixes and tastes great too. #DontWasteGainsTakeBCAAs
Dudgeon, W, D., Kelley, E, P., & Scheett, T, P. (2016). In a single-blind, matched group design: branched-chain amino acid supplementation and resistance training maintains lean body mass during a caloric restricted diet. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 13:1 doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0112-9