You killed your workout in the gym and already had your post-workout protein. Now what? What else can you do to minimize that delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that you know is going to set in later this evening or the next day?
BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are naturally occurring Amino Acids. They consist of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. BCAAs are considered Essential Amino Acids. Your body does not produce these, so you need to get these from a supplement for from the foods we eat. They are needed in order to repair and grow muscle tissue. Essential Amino Acids can be found in whole foods such as chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, lentils, soy protein, and many other foods, but many find it easier to drink in a liquid form for convenience. Essential Amino Acids are considered essential because your body can not produce enough naturally.
BCAA supplements come in a pill or powder form. Depending on the form you prefer to take this supplement in, BCAAs can give you great benefits when taken either before, during or after your workout.
TAKING BEFORE A WORKOUT – Will give you added energy during your workout. BCAAs increase the amount of fuel in your muscles available for a workout.
TAKING DURING A WORKOUT – While a great workout breaks down muscle tissue, we need to repair that tissue and make it grow! BCAAs taken during a workout immediately start to repair and rebuild those microscopic tears in muscle tissue. In addition, that burning and pumped feeling that you get (lactic acid build up) will go away quicker if you have BCAAs in your system. The BCAAs will break down the lactic acid and process it quicker. This will improve your recovery time and reduce lactic acid build-up altogether.
TAKING AFTER A WORKOUT – After a workout, your energy stores are depleted in your body. The 30-60 minutes after your workout is when your body can absorb the most amount of nutrients. A perfect time for BCAAs to repair those muscles and reduce the feeling of DOMS.
BCAA supplements come in a variety of flavors, unflavored, with caffeine, without caffeine, etc. Here are a few of my favorites.