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Your diet and training are crucial to your bodybuilding, whether you do it professionally or not. There’s nothing like the lift that comes from mastering your couch potato instincts and working out at the gym. But as anyone with experience at working out will tell you, without the help of BCAAs your ‘buff’ turns to bluff.

What are BCAAs? If you’re not a professional athlete you may not have heard of them. Branched chain amino acids are a group of amino acids your body requires to build up, maintain, and repair your muscles. It’s almost impossible to get enough of these crucial amino acids through a regular diet, although food such as kale, quinoa, and veal contain key amounts. In order to get the amount of BCAAs your body needs to build up your muscle infrastructure you need to use a liquid nutritional supplement. Liquid is best because of the way your body can metabolize electrolytes in suspension when you drink them; they are carried through the bloodstream directly to muscles and ligaments, where they can be transformed into the glycogen needed for instant energy.

Up until just a few years ago the growth of muscle tissue was a poorly understood subject. Even the best professional athletic trainers admitted that building up muscle mass in athletes was “by guess and by golly” more than through nutritional science. It seemed that some individuals could gain muscle easily just by exercise and a diet rich in protein and carbohydrates. But others who followed the same routine simply became exhausted, and gained too much weight! Now we know that amino acids such as leucine, protoleucine, and valine, are key elements in building up the right kind of muscles in anybody, regardless of their genetic disposition.

And how it works is also now known. These amino acids, when ingested, are broken down and sent to the liver, where they are then distributed throughout the body to muscles on a cellular level. Muscles in training are in constant need of glycogen, which fuels them and protects them from wear and tear; to produce glycogen they grab as much BCAA from the blood as they can. If there’s not much they can’t get much; if the blood is saturated with them then the muscles can get an abundant supply, to the point where they will automatically store some of it for future use — which is how muscle mass is built up.

The initial reaction of muscle tissue to a strenuous workout is to begin to shut down; muscles have a genetic memory, which tells them that extreme exertion means danger of some sort, and so the muscles want to release all available glycogen back into the bloodstream to be carried to the heart and the brain — where they will boost overall strength and endurance so the body can run or fight, and so the brain can think up something tricky to avoid the danger. In today’s peaceful(?) world, this reaction is not quite so vital. Instead, we want our muscle tissues to grow stronger to endure longer workouts and to give our bodies an appealing shape.

To do this requires the constant presence of BCAAs. These amino acids act as a sort of tranquilizer, giving muscle tissue the perception that all is well, no matter how hard they are being put to use. So instead of releasing too much glycogen back into the body, which leads to exhaustion and cramping, the muscles build up their endurance and stay fully charged.So if you’re wondering why your workouts are not going as well as you’d like them to, make sure you’re eating well, sleeping well, and using a good liquid nutritional supplement that contains BCAAs.

Adam Legas

Adam Legas

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