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BCAA Benefits for Bodybuilding

Chiseled From Stone
Hardening the Muscle Through Applied Nutrition

I know you. Or at least I know most of you. You're right, maybe we've never met, but let me prove myself by telling you what I know about you.

You live the "bodybuilding lifestyle" to it's fullest. If you're faced with either being late for a date or missing a workout, you are late for the date. If you have a choice of pizza & beer, or chicken, a baked potato, and broccoli, you take the latter. Even when tempted to sleep in, you climb out of bed anyway and do 30 minutes on the bike or the stair climber. And when offered the illegal "quick-fix" to your physique, you just say no.

However, as time passes by, you're more and more tempted to stop saying no. You begin to convince yourself that steroids aren't really cheating, and that the side effects could never happen to you anyway. So what if things might happen at age 50, 60, or 70? That period of time is so far away that it doesn't even justify a second thought. At your age, you're practically invincible! And of course you would never deal drugs, so how much trouble could you really get into anyway?

But hold on just a minute. Think real hard about why you're being swayed. Aren't you getting bigger and stronger on a regular basis? Aren't you more committed to what you're doing than most of the users are? Then what's the big deal? Steroid gains are only temporary at best. And believe me when I say that the low that can come from a negative nitrogen balance at drug cessation is much lower than the high that temporary gains can give you. You know most former steroid users gain back a very large percentage of their strength and size anyway, they say that the thing they miss the most is that "hard" look. Wait...did I just strike a nerve there? Hardness? Is that what it's all about? Well rest easy my committed friends, we can effectively harden the muscles through applied nutrition and proper use of branched chain amino acids (BCAA's).

Now, our first step will be to insure that the muscle fibers are being worked to their fullest, and that they are allowed to recover completely between training sessions. Next, lets make sure that we're getting loads of quality calories, proteins, carbohydrates, and minimal fats. Quality muscle growth will not come without these things in place. Be sure you're taking in a minimum of 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for every pound of bodyweight daily. If you're not doing that, then backup a step and begin again. The next step obviously is to investigate our options to achieve our goal of hardening the muscle. For this, lets look very closely at the BCAA's.

WHAT ARE BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS?

BCAA's categorically belong to the eight essential amino acids which means that they cannot be made in the body, so they must be ingested daily. Our daily supply of the BCAA's comes from our food and food supplement intake.

These three amino acids, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine make up about 35% of our muscle mass, and must be present for molecular growth and development to take place. A deficiency of any one of these three aminos will result in muscle loss!

The tissue sparing capacities of BCAA's were illustrated in a experiment using infected monkeys. The infected monkeys were intravenously fed with a solution of BCAA's and other nutrients. The monkeys fed this solution did not experience the tissue wasting normally associated with infection! Other amino acid solutions failed to halt the tissue loss. Because of this, BCAA's have been used to prevent tissue wasting in cancer therapy.

Unlike other amino acids, the BCAA's are metabolized in the muscle, not the liver. The BCAA's are mutually antagonistic in their absorbative qualities, therefore, they must all be available at the same time to insure maximum uptake into the muscle system.

The BCAA's act as nitrogen carriers. They actually assist the muscles in synthesizing other amino acids needed for anabolic muscle building action. When we eat a high protein meal, the most rapidly absorbed amino acids are the BCAA's. They seem to totally dominate the race for entry into the bloodstream. In fact, the BCAA's can account for up to 90% of our total amino acid uptake in the three hours following a meal. In other words, your muscles are hungry for the BCAA's in particular.

Please keep in mind however, that the bottom line for amino absorption is elevated blood sugar, and insulin. Insulin without a doubt, is your body's major anabolic hormone. So how do we best combine high insulin levels with BCAA's. First, we make sure that the important co-factors are present in our diet and supplement regimes. One of the most important of these co-factors is chromium. The most desired form of chromium is picolinate. This mineral functions to increase the effectiveness of insulin. As mentioned earlier, insulin is responsible for transporting the aminos to the muscle. Taking BCAA's while being deficient in chromium will result in much less than ideal results.

Other co-factors should include zinc, which is a regulator of insulin, vitamins B-6 & B-12 which are important in protein metabolism, and Biotin. A significant portion of these co-factors will come from a good clean diet. However, I would also recommend a good vitamin formula as well as mineral formula to insure that these co-factors are present.

We find the ideal times to take the BCAA supplement is immediately following a meal (to capitalize on the higher insulin levels), and immediately following each workout, but never on an empty stomach. The post workout dose is to speed the BCAA's to those hungry muscles while they are in a deprived state. I personally like to see them taken with some form of a complex carbohydrate (simple sugars, especially fructose, are not effective for restoring muscle glycogen) drink at this time. Everyone who has tried this approach to getting hard, especially at contest time, has been pleasantly surprised with the results.

In closing let me re-stress the fact that the bottom line to getting hard is simply this. Protein is needed to build and repair muscle tissue. Protein is comprised of amino acids. Your muscles are greedy when it comes to the BCAA's. The BCAA's assist your muscles in synthesizing other amino acids for the building or anabolic process. That's darn close to what steroids do. However for now, please continue to say no to drugs, but an overwhelming yes to getting hard with a clean diet and mega-doses of a quality BCAA supplement.

If you have any questions or want to make suggestions please feel free to contact us by e-mail


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