As part of my new training plan, I was advised to start taking BCAA’s, as I’d never used these before I wanted to do a bit of research into them before I started taking them and> so I wanted to share that with you.

So firstly what are BCAA’s – well it stand>s for Branched Chain Amino Acids, there are three essential amino acids (we need to get them in our diet as our body doesn’t produce them) they are called Leucine, Isoleucine and> Valine. Basically amino acids are the building blocks for protein,  branched chain refers to their molecular structure – I won’t bore you with the science.  A large proportion of our cells, muscles and> tissue are made up of amino acids, meaning they carry out many important bodily functions.  In terms of training, they are believed to improve exercise performance and> reduce muscle breakdown, although there is not much evidence to support the claim that they improve exercise performance.

BCAA’s can be found in protein rich food or as I was advised as a supplement.  I would always advise you try and> get your nutritional requirements from food.  As I was advised to supplement my diet, I have been taking a small dose after exercise since beginning my new plan.  I have to admit I feel they make a difference to my recovery and> I notice when I don’t take them.  I feel more tired and> definitely get more DOMS! For me therefore I feel taking this BCAA supplement is beneficial but others find it makes no difference.  We are all individual and> have different nutritional needs so take that into consideration when looking into taking BCAAs as a supplement.  There are a number of different products on the market including powders and> tablets, again it is finding the one that works for you – I personally take the tablets at the moment straight after I work out but you can take them before a workout or in powder form during your workout.

I don’t feel BCAA supplementation is “needed” for everyone, and> I don’t think I will always take them. However when training hard, and> eating a lower calorie diet I have found these to be beneficial – its one of those individual things I suppose – if you feel a benefit from taking them then go for it!