Disclaimer: I received IdealLean products to try and review. I am under no obligation to promote the product, and all opinions expressed in this and any related posts are, as always, my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a key part of muscle recovery for a very simple reason: they are literally the foundation of muscle mass! These amino acids comprise over a third of your muscle tissue, but a number of them cannot be created by your body and need to be consumed through diet to keep your muscles growing and healthy. A deficit of these nutrients will cause you to lose lean muscle mass - which is kinda the opposite of what a good workout program is meant to do! By adding a concentrated BCAA blend to your post-workout recovery cocktail, you'll ensure your body has enough amino acids to maintain muscle mass even if you're trying to cut fat weight. Additionally, keeping your amino acid levels sufficiently well-stocked will boost your immune system, so consuming a BCAA blend is even more beneficial during cold and flu season.
As an advocate for BCAA recovery beverages for quite some time now, I frequently field the question: "how are BCAAs different from protein powder?" Honestly, many protein powders have BCAA blends included and provide a much broader muscle repair strategy. The biggest difference I can emphasize would be the drinkability of BCAAs immediately prior to a workout, during your workout, and immediately following your workout. Protein powders may contain a more robust package of nutrients, but they are often heavy or thick and can leave you feeling very full; many people experience gas or other GI issues from a protein-heavy diet as well. Protein drinks contain a lot of calories and often come in dessert flavors like cake batter or chocolate. BCAA blends, on the other hand, are much lighter on the stomach, come in more refreshing flavors, and have zero calories.
Also available in blueberry pomegranate, green apple, grape, and orange.
I've been using IdealLean's raspberry lemonade BCAA mix for a couple months now, and I can tell you first-hand the benefits. Since incorporating a good BCAA into my nutrition and workout plan, I've noticed even after difficult and exhausting strength workouts my recovery time has greatly diminished. Next-day soreness is minimal, and the dreaded two-day DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is almost non-existent now. Recovery from a demanding exercise day used to take a while, but now I can get right back into the mix and raise my work level higher without taking so much rest. I actually combine the BCAA mix with an electrolyte/hydration product like Hydrus for long training runs and post-run, since I'll need quick absorption of the nutrients and can't be bogged down by a cakey protein powder mid-run.
Ice baths suck. But a recovery cocktail helps!
BCAAs are both refreshing and powerful. I keep a jar at home, at the office, and in my gym bag so I know I'll always be able to grab some liquid recovery whenever I need it. Supposedly, consuming BCAAs mid-workout will also provide an additional energy boost (along the lines of a pre-workout), but I haven't noticed any energy effects during my workouts yet. For me, BCAAs have become a tried-and-true recovery product, through and through! If you're looking to take your fitness to the next level and you're tired of battling soreness that holds you back, grab yourself some BCAAs and get back to hitting it hard.
You can even get $5 off your order of $30 or more from IdealLean! Just use promo code MARKET5 at checkout - plus they're always running year-round special offers and amazing holiday promos right now!