Category Archives: Weight Lifting

BCAA’s And Your Muscles

What’s the big deal about BCAA’s (branched-chain amino acids)? Why are we always hearing about them and seeing them in all of those muscle supplements.

Amino acids are in short, the building blocks of protein and your muscles. They stack together to feed and build your muscles. Your body can make its own amino acids, but many come from the foods you eat such as meat, eggs, and other proteins. BCAA’s in particular are in limited supply in your body, and they are the limiting factor in your body’s ability to build more muscle.

Regardless of what your fitness goals are, more muscle is key to your success. Muscle tones your body, burns fat, helps you to improve your athletic performance, and more. Muscle building is typically slow, and it can easily accelerate fat loss, but unlike fat loss, it cannot be accelerated in the same way.

Benefits of BCAA’s

So what’s so special about BCAA’s above other amino acids? BCAA’s include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They have a chemical makeup that looks like a tree branch, giving them greater details. BCAA’s in particular help to prevent muscle breakdown, building proteins so that you are getting more faster than you break them down. Leucine is the key BCAA here.

From there, BCAA’s give you fuel for exercise. When you are working out particularly hard, BCAA’s are able to act as fuel for your muscles, helping you to burn more fat and slim down. Various studies have shown that BCAA intake can improve leanness, generally being more associated with a leaner body.

BCAA’s can be found in virtually every protein supplement, drink, powder, as well as fish, eggs, lean beef, chicken, and turkey. However, if you don’t want your entire diet to center around BCAA’s, supplements can be extremely useful and easy to supplement into your day.

Can Lactic Acid Fuel Your Workouts?

You know lactic acid, the chemical they always tell us makes your muscles sore. It builds up as you work out, and it’s the thing that causes that burn you feel in your legs as you cross the finish line. It’s a badge of pride for some, and it should be. It feels like your muscles are on fire, and yet you keep going. You finish the race.

Most athletes tend to see lactic acid as the villain, the bad thing that will hold them back from achieving their goals. It’s the thing that makes it harder to get better, but what if that’s wrong? Yes, we have been told that it’s something we flush from our systems by getting a good massage or putting your legs up on the wall to change our blood flow.

The latest research suggests that we’ve been wrong all along. According to the studies, our bodies don’t actually produce lactic acid during exercise. Lactic acid is a myth. Our bodies create something that is actually called lactate, and it’s good for us. It helps us!

It has long been a myth told by trainers, teachers, coaches, and others we trust that lactic acid causes achy muscles, burning, and fatigue by breaking down glucose for energy. The truth is that It’s actually the accumulation of hydrogen ions that makes the surrounding environment acidic and causes our muscles to burn. More than that, there is no experimental research to prove this. Just correlative data according to Jeremy McCormick PhD, a candidate in Exercise Science at the University of New Mexico.

Really, we have been changing and learning for years, but we still revert back to old research like we haven’t learned anything. The original research on lactic acid was conducted in the 1920’s. Who is it that thinks we haven’t learned anything since then?

So it’s lactate. Do we like lactate, or is it just an enemy under a different name?

McCormick says, Not only does lactate serve as a buffer, research also indicates that our bodies reuse lactate as a source of energy for our muscles, heart and pain.

In other words, our bodies reduce the acid in your muscles and neutralize hydrogen ions. It doesn’t cause the acidic environment, lactate is actually the chemical working to reduce the acidity. It’s when there’s not enough lactate that our muscles burn. McCormick says, If we didn’t produce lactate, we would have an accumulation of hydrogen ions, and our muscles would get so acidic as the pH (a measure of acidity/alkalinity) keeps dropping to a point where muscles won’t function. Basically, you’d have mechanical failure.

We’ve been blaming lactade and lactic acid all this time, and as it turns out, that’s what’s preventing damage to our muscles.