Have you ever just dragged through a workout or cardio session even though your energy seemed fine when you began? This isn’t uncommon, since your body’s energy reserves might be just high enough for regular daily activity, but not quite where you need it to exercise. BCAAs, or Branch Chain Amino Acids, may help with this. They have been used for a long time to prevent fatigue, increase mental focus, improve workouts, and even help preserve muscle during intense exercise. BCAA’s are made up of three amino acids known as leucine, isoleucine, and valine, all of which are considered essential amino acids, meaning that the body cannot produce them but they must be ingested. These three amino acids actually make up around 40% of our daily requirement of the nine essential amino acids combined and are responsible for the make-up of about 35% of all muscle tissue in the body. In other words they are very important to our health and fitness. BCAAs can be found in many food sources such as meat, dairy and things like dry-roasted peanuts. Meat (especially red) does hold the highest concentration, but soybeans, lentils and even brown rice have some BCAAs for those of you looking for an alternative.
If you are looking for an extra boost, many athletes and exercisers alike find that taking a BCAA supplement (typically in powder form mixed with water) during the course of a workout allows them to push harder and have a more effective workout overall. Add in that some studies show that BCAA consumption may lead to a decrease in muscle soreness and giving this supplement a try is a no brainer! You can find BCAAs at most supplement stores and recommended doses are between 5 and10 grams per serving. Check your local supplement shop for more information on how BCAAs might help you!