Staying hydrated during your workouts is key for muscle growth, recovery as well as endurance and just making sure you don’t topple over during a lift. I like to play around with my supplements to see what benefits me or what my body responds to positively. One supplement I discovered a long time ago and that has been a consistent supplement for me is BCAA’s. Branched Chain Amino Acids are key to muscle growth, recovery and protein synthesis along with many others. Branched Chain Amino Acids are essential because they make up a good portion of your body’s muscle protein. Valine, leucine and isoleucine make up BCAA’s and they are the essential building blocks for protein building, but your body doesn’t create these amino acids so you have to get them from food or sports supplements. In BCAA supplements Leucine is the most important of the three for protein synthesis and recovery so most BCAA mixes will have a 2.1.1 ratio or a higher ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine.
These BCAA’s also help guard your glycogen levels which is the main source of energy production for your body/muscles. This is why I drink my BCAA’s during my workout. Keeping my glycogen levels protected allows me to push harder and feel more energized without any stimulants during my workout. I notice the difference actually very distinctly on days when I forget my BCAA’s. I don’t have quite the drive or clean energy I would have with my BCAA’s. I especially like to use them on my big lift days such as Deadlifts or my Squat days when I am really burning through a lot of my energy.
I bounce between two brands of BCAA’s-
Precision BCAA’s by GNC: This supplement has 10 grams of BCAA’s per 2 scoops. The ratio is also the 2.1.1 ratio with 5 grams of Leucine, and 2.5 grams of both your isoleucine and valine. There is also some magnesium which I appreciate because that helps me with muscle cramping. There is a herbal inflammatory blend as well and BETAPOWER which is betaine anhydrous which has recently become popular for helping with power output as well as protein synthesis. The flavoring on this product is amazing as well. I am currently using an iced tea lemonade flavor and it tastes exactly like an Arnold Palmer. Precision BCAA Link
Extend BCAA’s by Scivation: This supplement has 7 grams of BCAA’s with the 2.1.1 ratio as well. Another reason why I really like this product is because there is an added electrolyte blend for hydration and glutamine to help with muscle soreness. Glutamine is your best friend after heavy days when you know your going to be super sore the next day. There is also a small blend of citrulline malate to help with blood flow during your workout as well. The flavors are pretty good as well with this product and my favorite one by far would be the blood orange. XTEND BCAA’s Link
Getting these BCAA’s in during my workout not only helps my energy output, but it helps me absorb all of my protein in my shake that I take after my workout. You can also drink these on off days from the gym since they are essential aminos and help in everyday life as well. Plus it gives you a way to spice up your water! 🙂