Branched Chained Amino Acids, aka BCAAs (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine), are three essential amino acids that are particularly important for your muscles. BCAAs provide numerous benefits to you as an athlete/lifter. The main benefit of BCAAs is their positive effects on your muscles. BCAAs, especially leucine, can increase muscle protein synthesis (the bodies process of taking free form amino acids and constructing new muscle) when paired with resistance training. In fact, leucine plays a key role in turning on mTOR (the direct pathway to muscle protein synthesis). While several amino acids are needed to build new muscle its BCAA’s role to flip on the switch to start the process. Leucine gets additional applause for its ability to boost the anabolic activity of hormones like insulin and growth hormone (GH), which further promote muscle building.BCAAs have also been shown to reduce your perceived muscle soreness after resistance training. This means walking will be easier after that dreaded leg day. This will also benefit you further as if you are less sore in the days after an intense workout, you are more likely to make it to your next session, take the stairs instead of the lift or go for a jog when otherwise you might have skipped it due to the pain or DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOMS is the immense soreness that shows up a day or two after completing a grueling workout. Now the muscles are feeling all of that work, and the microtears caused by the intense exercise.
On top of fueling muscular growth and recovery, BCAAs are especially helpful for maintaining mass while on a calorie-deficit diet as they work in your favor by reducing the rate of protein breakdown. They do this by decreasing the activity of the protein breakdown pathway, and also by decreasing the expression of several complexes involved in protein breakdown.
So, what makes BCAAs so special? BCAA’s start being special the moment they hit the body. They are unique in the fact that they are spared by the liver and sent directly to the muscle tissue where they can be used as fuel during workouts. The longer and more intense your workout the more BCAA’s will be called on and used as fuel. While there is no stimulant effect, users often feel tough workouts become more manageable as they find they can push through, keeping the same intensity from beginning to end.
Now that we have an understanding of BCAAs, and all of their sensational benefits, let's talk about a new BCAA powerhouse that exploded onto the scene and is formulated for peak performance and recovery. Enter... Iron BCAA by Iron Muscle! Iron BCAAs starts off with a whopping 7 grams of BCAAs per serving, lead by an impressive 3,500mg (3.5 gram) dose of L-Leucine (the king of stimulating muscle protein synthesis). After that, Iron BCAAs is formulated with 2,000mg of electrolytes and coconut water to fuel hydration for peak performance and muscle contractions. This formula rounds off with a 500mg dose of L-Carnitine (we'll discuss all the benefits of this powerful amino acid derivative later in the blog. Trust me, the benefits of this one are mind-blowing). Now, let's fully breakdown this sensational formula, and discuss all of the benefits a potent formula like this can provide for you as an athlete/lifter.
- BCAA Matrix (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine) 7,000mg
Iron BCAA contains a clinically proven ratio of 2:1:1 Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. This ratio has been studied numerous times and has been shown to be the most beneficial ratio when it comes to consuming BCAAs. Why? As mentioned, leucine offers the strongest anabolic effects on protein synthesis. That means a bigger portion of leucine to isoleucine and valine helps boost muscle strength and lean muscle mass. That doesn’t mean you should go for ratios like 4:1:1 or 10:1:1. Taking a 2:1:1 ratio of BCAA’s promotes protein synthesis even better than these ratios or taking leucine alone.
If you’re interested in losing weight, then that’s another reason why 2:1:1 is the preferred ratio. Thanks to the BCAA isoleucine, the 2:1:1 ratio helps burn fat efficiently. The amino acid offers the ability to activate special receptors known as PPAR. This helps boost fat burns and prevents fat storage. PPAR works to boost the activity of genes that promote powerful fat burning in the body while lessening the activity of genes that usually encourages fat storage. As a result, there’s better ability to burn fat alongside less chance of storing fat.
Here's the full breakdown of all 3 BCAAs in Iron BCAA.
Leucine 3,500mg - As we briefly discussed earlier in the blog, leucine plays a key role in turning on mTOR (the direct pathway to muscle protein synthesis) and is hence known as the king of muscle protein synthesis. It's called the king of muscle protein synthesis, because it has a much more severe impact on protein synthesis than any other amino acid!
mTOR is sensitive to leucine concentrations and it directly activates this complex. Decreasing leucine concentrations signal to mTOR that there is not enough dietary protein present to synthesize new skeletal muscle protein, so mTOR deactivates. Increased leucine levels signal to mTOR that there is sufficient dietary protein to synthesize new skeletal muscle protein, so mTOR "turns on." An important point to remember is an increase in mTOR activity (and all aspects of the pathway with which it belongs) results in an increase in protein-building and more growth which equals GAINZ!
3,500mg is a monster dose of this powerful amino acid. At this dosage, we're sure to trigger mTOR for vast improvements in the ability to build lean muscle mass, muscular recovery, decreased DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle), and enhanced muscular endurance.
Isoleucine 1,750mg - Isoleucine is extremely similar to it's big brother Leucine in almost every way. It promotes muscle recovery, aids in building lean muscle mass, boosting strength and endurance, regulates the blood-sugar levels, and stimulates HGH release. It is also able to significantly increase glucose uptake into a muscle cell and the usage of glucose during exercise for prolonged endurance and increased athletic performance. Isoleucine is intermediate for its ability to induce muscle protein synthesis, which is where big brother (Leucine) really shines! Isoleucine holds its own in terms of wound healing though, as it helps in the formation of hemoglobin and is strongly involved in the formation of blood-clots, the body's primary defense against infection through open wounds.
Valine 1,750mg - Valine helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue by supplying the muscles with extra glucose for energy production during intense physical activity. Valine also helps remove potentially toxic excess nitrogen from the liver and is able to transport nitrogen to other tissues in the body as needed. When the body is in positive nitrogen balance, the body is retaining nitrogen so it can use it to build and repair tissues, such as muscle, or to manufacture other important body proteins such as hormones. Valine is the MVP before workouts, as it's directly responsible for blunting fatigue via a mechanism in the brain.
- Hydration Complex 2,000mg
This complex is composed of Coconut Water Powder and high amounts of electrolytes to hydrate the body during intense exercise/training sessions, and rehydrate the body after a grueling workout. Below, we will discuss the key benefits of both Coconut Water Powder and electrolytes, and how they will help you perform at your best and peak muscle recovery.
Coconut Water Powder - Coconut water contains crucial electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, which help keep you hydrated, and is a natural way to replenish electrolytes during and after workouts. You’re constantly losing fluids and electrolytes through sweat when exercising. If you’re not properly hydrated, you can be left feeling dizzy, weak and experience muscle cramps. Hydrating with coconut water during exercise can help you feel more energetic and increase your athletic performance.
Electrolytes - When exercising or playing sports, anyone who knows nutrition will tell you that you need to support your body before, during, and after an athletic performance. Electrolytes are essential minerals that your body needs to stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise. But they do more than that. Electrolytes also support our body's vital functions, such as muscle contraction (including the heart), blood pressure, nerve signaling, and much more. Electrolytes must be present in proper concentrations to maintain fluid balance, muscle contraction and neural activity, all of which are essential to high performance and basic daily functions. Electrolytes also help your body retain fluid during heavy exercise when you’re sweating, so they can also keep joints lubricated and maintain your energy, avoiding dehydration related fatigue.
- Muscle contraction: Bodies move via muscle contraction. Electrolytes (specifically calcium and magnesium) help trigger the muscle contraction process. Without them, your muscles wouldn’t contract or allow you to move. And, this process includes contraction of the heart muscle and its ability to beat.
- Fluid balance: Your body is made of mostly water. It is used in the respiratory process when you breathe, to digest your food, to regulate your temperature, and many other body functions. Your organs, tissues, and cells need appropriate fluid balance to function properly. The number of electrolytes in your blood can trigger your kidneys to excrete less water (during dehydration) so more water stays in the blood.
- Conducting nerve impulses: Your brain is Your control center and is constantly sending messages to different parts of the body. When electrons move across the membrane of the cell, they act like a little light switch that triggers a chain reaction of nerve impulses.
Typically, the most important factor in regard to electrolyte loss during exercise is the amount of sweat lost. The body is constantly working to regulate itself. As you sweat during exercise, not only do you lose some of the fluid in your body, but you also lose many of the electrolytes working to keep the body hydrated and balanced. So, usually, the more a person sweats during exercise, the more electrolytes they tend to lose. Replenishing those lost electrolytes is vital to keep you balanced to feel and perform your best.
- L-Carnitine 500mg
As I mentioned earlier, L-Carnitine is a powerful amino acid derivative and is responsible for a plethora of functions in our bodies, along with delivering a multitude of incredible benefits to not only athletes and lifters, but to anyone looking to get in shape, lose weight, or increase their overall wellness. L-Carnitine is also easily one of the most overlooked supplements on the market!
L-Carnitine is the perfect supplement to add to your arsenal whether you're bulking up or cutting and aids in both! For those bulking up, L-Carnitine will help limit fat gains while you add on lean muscle mass, making for the perfect "lean bulk" supplement. For those cutting weight, L-Carnitine helps transport the fat you have into your cellular furnaces to get burned as energy. What??? Burn fat as fuel? That's 100% right! Other incredible benefits of L-Carnitine include increased cognitive abilities such as mental clarity and focus, fatigue resistance, improved muscular recovery, decreased muscular soreness, better blood flow and increased pumps for better muscular endurance, oxygen utilization, and nutrient delivery for more natural energy and recovery.
That's it guys, the full breakdown on this muscle building, repairing, and sparing BCAA powerhouse. Oh, and let's also not forget about one other important aspect when it comes to BCAAs and any other supplement... taste! The flavors in Iron BCAA are absolutely delicious and bursting with flavor! With flavors like Icy Grape, Just Peachy, Icy Mango, Icy Cherry, and Southern Tang, these flavors will have your taste buds tingling while you crush that workout!