Don't sabotage your training and recovery by forgetting about post-workout nutrition.
I've been tossing around the expression lately that branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the new black. The truth is, they are. Just like that reliable little black dress or suit, BCAAs are there when you need them most, which could essentially be all the time.
Amino acids are the building blocks of life. When protein is broken down, you are left with amino acids, which help the body synthesize proteins that make up cells and tissue.
Essential amino acids are those that cannot be made by the body. As a result, they must come from food. The 9 essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
BCAAs consist of just leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Within a BCAA supplement, there are higher quantities of these BCAAs that are essential building blocks of protein in the body. Also, because of their branched structure, they are more easily metabolized and thus more quickly utilized by the skeletal muscle.
One of the amino acids in BCAA supplements, leucine, is one of the most beneficial amino acids to ingest after a workout to help with recovery. Leucine is also readily available, if not more available, in whey protein. However, a lot of people find whey protein to by hard on the digestive system and inflammatory.
So what are we getting at with all this scientific jargon?
When you workout, you breakdown. Ok, not you as a whole, but your muscles. Furthermore, as you age, the process of protein breakdown can start to exceed protein synthesis. Therefore, you can lose speed and strength and not recovery efficiently. If you don't recover, you don't make gains!
Taking a BCAA supplement immediately after a run or workout can be one of the best ways to deliver these vital building blocks and help repair your muscles. You can also support this by adding a collagen protein (powder form) to your favorite beverage (mixes well with hot drinks like coffee or tea) or drinking a bone broth.
Even better, because BCAA supplements are so easily digested, they can be taken before a workout and during a workout. 6AM Run makes two different pre-workout drinks (in addition to their Finish Line recovery drink) that also have caffeine and other energy supplements, with one being designed for longer efforts. For some, when taken during a workout, it can help your body continue to burn fuels efficiently and decrease the overall amount of simple carbohydrate supplements (gels, drinks, chews) needed, which can decrease strain on the digestive system. This is especially relevant for peri and post-menopausal women, who have limited ability to digest fructose, and therefore need variable fuel sources to limit stomach upset.
In summary, you want to fuel your body right for maximal recovery. BCAAs can be the answer you've been looking for.