The fat loss journey can be a lonesome, hard path to go on. It requires strong eating habits, exercise commitment, and even stronger willpower. As a result of all the challenges we can face when it comes to taking a trip on the road to ripped, we are always looking for the fastest way to get there.
So what can we do in order to beat the bulge without it taking over our life or making the process grueling, instead of enjoyable? While there are no secrets to getting lean fast, there are definitely some methods that we can use to help support fat loss and make things a little easier.
One of those nifty methods is the use of BCAAs, which stands for Branched-Chain Amino Acids.
How Do Branched-Chain Amino Acids Burn Fat?
They turn your metabolism into a fire breathing dragon capable of burning every single unnecessary nutrient until you are more ripped than Hugh Jackman.”
Ok, just kidding. But we can dream.
BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis, which is why they are so useful when trying to build muscle. However, this is also effective when trying to lose fat, because losing fat requires being in a caloric deficit. All too often, people will place themselves in too far of a caloric deficit, and lose lean muscle mass as well, which leaves them looking smaller and feeling weaker.
Yeah, not good at all.
We want to protect that muscle! And this is where BCAAs can become such a good weapon to have in your arsenal.
You see, BCAAs also reduce protein breakdown. Think of BCAAs holding a protective shield around your muscles so that when those evil muscle eating pathways try to take hold of your muscle, BCAAs help to ward them off by decreasing the activity of those pathways.
See, I can make BCAAs sound 10x cooler than they actually are.
Who Needs Coffee?
While increased energy levels aren’t the main benefit of BCAA intake, most people are using BCAAs nowadays for this reason alone. This supplement helps to boost exercise intensity, which is another added benefit when it comes to fat loss. The reasoning behind this, specifically, is that when undertaking a fat loss program, resulting in an increase in intense cardio frequency.
But a caloric deficit, if not done correctly, can leave you feeling very fatigued and decrease performance levels significantly.
So, if you combine those two… well, it just sucks.
Luckily BCAAs are a Solution
BCAAs can help with that by increasing energy levels by taking in around 7-8 g before a workout (or during).
When this is done, that increase in energy will cause an increase in performance during exercise. And what’s the result? You guessed it! An increase in stress placed on the body, which is crucial for causing some type of change… Which, in this case, would be burning fat.
If you want to see just how much intense exercise this effect can withstand, let’s look at a study performed on elite wrestlers. Research published by PubMed (which you can see the abstract here), showed that these elite wrestlers were able to maintain high levels of performance, while also lowering levels of body fat and maintaining muscular strength. Talk about the Holy Grail of results! Sign me up!
Another study was performed on rats (who obviously exercise way harder than us), chronic intake of BCAAs led to an increase in performance for these Olympic level rats when swimming to exhaustion. You can see that study here.
The most important thing to note in both of these studies is that the subjects were in a caloric deficit during the whole experiment. So, keep the muscle, lose the fat, feel better during the workout?
Sounds like we need to be taking in some BCAAs ladies and gents!
Burning Fat with BCAAs: Intake And Timing
You can take this supplement at different times during your training, all depending on your goals. The general recommendation, regardless of timing, is to take in around 10g. This gives you the benefits, without using up too much of it when it isn’t necessary. Frugal muscle!
For timing, the best time to take BCAAs for an increase in performance is 10-15 minutes prior to your workout. If you take it after your workout, then just take it right after.
Oh, and please don’t take this in before you go to bed. Bad move unless you’re some type of weirdo who dresses up in a bat costume and goes on suicidal missions at night.”
The big thing here is the 7-8 g intake. If you try to go under this number, you will not be experiencing the full benefit. This is especially true if you have taken it for a while because you will start to feel very tired and lethargic during the workout due to a lower dosage than your body is used to.
Let’s Talk BCAA Ratios
If a ratio of 2:1:1 is good, then surely 10:1:1 will be better, right?!
The numbers game that is played with these supplements can catch a lot of people off guard. Obviously, the average person who knows very little about BCAAs will want to jump on board with 10:1:1 because they think that it will provide them with the most benefits. So, before I dive into this, let’s quickly talk about what these ratios mean.
The most important ingredient in the beautiful creation that is the BCAA supplement is Leucine. Leucine is the one responsible for starting up the protein synthesis, which contributes to muscle growth. So, that first number, whether it be 2 or 10, is the amount of leucine compared to the other ingredients, which are known as isoleucine and valine. I’m not going to go into the other two, so let’s just focus on the leucine here.
So, when you read that, of course, you would want more leucine! However, the standard ratio that shows the most support in research is the 2:1:1 ratio. When you start to delve into the higher numbered ratios, you start to deal with energy issues and thus, a decrease in performance. Stick to the 2:1:1, which will provide you with the energy increase you need, along with all of the other benefits that you need to support your fat loss goals.
Other Critical Habits To Maximize Fat Loss
Look, while we have shown the power that BCAAs hold, the fact of the matter is that calorie balance is still king. If you want to take the largest step towards losing that dreaded fat, then you need to be eating less calories than you are burning. If this isn’t done, then BCAAs won’t save you.
Now, along with BCAAs, there are a lot of other tips and tricks that you can study up on to help with your fat loss goals. Keep in mind, however, that there is a lot of bad advice out there as well. The critical habits still remain: Eat less than you burn, increase cardio frequency, don’t sit so much, eat healthy foods, and get proper rest.
If you skip out on any of the above, you are just making things that much harder on yourself. The battle of the bulge is hard enough, let’s not make it any harder, ok?
Other Critical Habits To Ruin Fat Loss
Just to make the point clear here, I wanted to add some things that you should NOT do when trying to burn fat. It may seem obvious, but you will deal with temptation, and your willpower will be tested. That’s just how it is. But we don’t have to give in to it!
As you probably have guessed, the first thing I am going to say is the most obvious: Don’t eat more calories than you burn during the course of the day. Seriously… This is the most common mistake because people don’t take the time to track their calories and at least make sure they are eating the right amounts of food.
On top of energy balance, the next most important thing is keeping your energy levels high. If you go too far into a caloric deficit and let your energy levels fall, you will end up feeling lethargic, and you will either not have a good workout, or just skip your workout altogether. I’m sure you know what will happen next!
The rest of my advice is also simple: Eat healthy foods, don’t make dieting horrible by only eating foods you hate and don’t sit too often. Look, if you don’t move around enough, you are going to look like someone who doesn’t move around a lot. It’s that simple.
Harness The Power Of The BCAAs
Provided that you are already doing all of the right things to help with fat loss, adding a BCAA supplement to your daily schedule is an invaluable tool that will help you increase your progress. With the numerous benefits added, the BCAA supplement has risen among the most popular forms of supplements to take, regardless of your goals.
And now, with this article, you have enough information to know exactly what you should do when you get your hands on this beautiful supplement. Now get out there, get moving, and take your BCAAs!
Your abs will thank me later.
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