5 Proven Benefits of BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

5 Proven Benefits of BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

There are 20 different amino acids that make up the thousands of different proteins in the human body.

Nine of the 20 are considered essential amino acids, meaning they cannot be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet.

Of the nine essential amino acids, three are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

“Branched-chain” refers to the chemical structure of BCAAs, which are found in protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat and dairy products. They are also a popular dietary supplement sold primarily in powder form.

Here are five proven benefits of BCAAs.

1. Increase Muscle Growth

One of the most popular uses of BCAAs is to increase muscle growth.

The BCAA leucine activates a certain pathway in the body that stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is the process of making muscle.

In one study, people who consumed a drink with 5.6 grams of BCAAs after their resistance workout had a 22% greater increase in muscle protein synthesis compared to those who consumed a placebo drink.

That being said, this increase in muscle protein synthesis is approximately 50% less than what was observed in other studies where people consumed a whey protein shake containing a similar amount of BCAAs.

Whey protein contains all the essential amino acids needed to build muscle.

Therefore, while BCAAs can increase muscle protein synthesis, they can’t do so maximally without the other essential amino acids, such as those found in whey protein or other complete protein sources.

Summary BCAAs play an important
role in building muscle. However, your muscles require all the essential amino acids for the best results.

2. Decrease Muscle Soreness

Some research suggests BCAAs can help decrease muscle soreness after a workout.

It’s not uncommon to feel sore a day or two after a workout, especially if your exercise routine is new.

This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which develops 12 to 24 hours after exercise and can last up to 72 hours.

While the exact cause of DOMS is not clearly understood, researchers believe it’s the result of tiny tears in the muscles after exercise.

BCAAs have been shown to decrease muscle damage, which may help reduce the length and severity of DOMS.

Several studies show that BCAAs decrease protein breakdown during exercise and decrease levels of creatine kinase, which is an indicator of muscle damage

In one study, people who supplemented with BCAAs before a squat exercise experienced reduced DOMS and muscle fatigue compared to the placebo group.

Therefore, supplementing with BCAAs, especially before exercise, may speed up recovery time.

Summary Supplementing with BCAAs
may decrease muscle soreness by reducing damage in exercised muscles.

3. Reduce Exercise Fatigue

Just as BCAAs may help decrease muscle soreness from exercise, they may also help reduce exercise-induced fatigue.

Everyone experiences fatigue and exhaustion from exercise at some point. How quickly you tire depends on several factors, including exercise intensity and duration, environmental conditions, and your nutrition and fitness level.

Your muscles use BCAAs during exercise, causing levels in your blood to decrease. When blood levels of BCAAs decline, levels of the essential amino acid tryptophan in your brain increase.

In your brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a brain chemical that is thought to contribute to the development of fatigue during exercise.

In two studies, participants who supplemented with BCAAs improved their mental focus during exercise, which is thought to result from the fatigue-reducing effect of BCAAs.

However, this decrease in fatigue is unlikely to translate to improvements in exercise performance.

Summary BCAAs may be useful in
decreasing exercise-induced fatigue, but they are unlikely to improve exercise
performance.

4. Prevent Muscle Wasting

BCAAs can help prevent muscle wasting or breakdown.

Muscle proteins are constantly broken down and rebuilt (synthesized). The balance between muscle protein breakdown and synthesis determines the amount of protein in muscle.

Muscle wasting or breakdown occurs when protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein synthesis.

Muscle wasting is a sign of malnutrition and occurs with chronic infections, cancer, periods of fasting, and as a natural part of the aging process.

In humans, BCAAs account for 35% of the essential amino acids found in muscle proteins. They account for 40% of the total amino acids required by your body.

Therefore, it’s important that the BCAAs and other essential amino acids are replaced during times of muscle wasting to halt it or to slow its progression.

Several studies support the use of BCAA supplements for inhibiting muscle protein breakdown. This may improve health outcomes and quality of living in certain populations, such as the elderly and those with wasting diseases like cancer.

Summary Taking BCAA supplements
can prevent the breakdown of protein in certain populations with muscle
wasting.

5. Benefit People With Liver Disease

BCAAs may improve health in people with cirrhosis, a chronic disease in which the liver does not function properly.

It’s estimated that 50% of people with cirrhosis will develop hepatic encephalopathy, which is the loss of brain function that occurs when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood.

While certain sugars and antibiotics are the mainstays of treatment for hepatic encephalopathy, BCAAs may also benefit people suffering from the disease .

One review of 16 studies including 827 people with hepatic encephalopathy found that taking BCAA supplements had a beneficial effect on the symptoms and signs of the disease, but had no effect on mortality.

Liver cirrhosis is also a major risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer, for which BCAA supplements may also be useful.

Several studies have shown that taking BCAA supplements may offer protection against liver cancer in people with liver cirrhosis.

As such, scientific authorities recommend these supplements as a nutritional intervention for liver disease to prevent complications.

Summary BCAA supplements may
improve the health outcomes of people with liver disease, while also possibly protecting against liver cancer.

Foods High In BCAAs

BCAAs are found in foods and whole protein supplements.

Getting BCAAs from complete protein sources is more beneficial, as they contain all the essential amino acids.

Consuming protein-rich foods will also provide you with other important nutrients that BCAA supplements lack.

The best food sources of BCAAs include

FoodServing SizeBCAAs
Beef, round3.5 ounces (100 grams)6.8 grams
Chicken breast3.5 ounces (100 grams)5.88 grams
Whey protein powder1 scoop5.5 grams
Soy protein powder1 scoop5.5 grams
Canned tuna3.5 ounces (100 grams)5.2 grams
Salmon3.5 ounces (100 grams)4.9 grams
Turkey breast3.5 ounces (100 grams)4.6 grams
Eggs2 eggs3.28 grams
Parmesan cheese1/2 cup (50 grams)4.5 grams
1% milk1 cup (235 ml)2.2 grams
Greek yogurt1/2 cup (140 grams)2 grams

The Bottom Line

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

They are essential, meaning they can’t be produced by your body and must be obtained from food.

BCAA supplements have been shown to build muscle, decrease muscle fatigue and alleviate muscle soreness.

They have also successfully been used in a hospital setting to prevent or slow muscle loss and to improve symptoms of liver disease.

Breakfast: Is It the Most Important Meal?

Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day. It also gives you the energy you need to get things done and helps you focus at work or at school. Those are just a few reasons why it’s the most important meal of the day.

Many studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight.

It’s hard to know, though, if breakfast causes these healthy habits or if people who eat it have healthier lifestyles.

But this much is clear: Skipping the morning meal can throw off your body’s rhythm of fasting and eating. When you wake up, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work their best is usually low. Breakfast helps replenish it.

If your body doesn’t get that fuel from food, you may feel zapped of energy — and you’ll be more likely to overeat later in the day.

Breakfast also gives you a chance to get in some vitamins and nutrients from healthy foods like dairy, grains, and fruits. If you don’t eat it, you aren’t likely to get all of the nutrients your body needs.

Many people skip the a.m. meal because they’re rushing to get out the door. That’s a mistake. You need food in your system long before lunchtime. If you don’t eat first thing, you may get so hungry later on that you snack on high-fat, high-sugar foods.

For more questions on basic nutrition we would be happy to help Dynamic Results

3 Plyometric Exercises for Beginners

We recently dove into—or, should we say, “jumped” into—plyometrics training on our blog. This form of workout is a calorie-blaster, can be suited to fit your fitness level, and is pretty fun if you ask us. (Go ahead, ask us!) Today we wanted to equip you with three plyometric drills for beginners that you can try today! 

1| Squat Jumps

If you’ve been around here for any time now, you know we love squats. Add a jump to them, and you got a workout winner! This plyometric movement is excellent for beginners who have their squat form down (core engaged, straight back, etc.). If that sounds like you, then you might be ready to add on the jump for a dynamic movement!

How To Do A Squat Jump

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart
  • Point your toes slightly outward
  • Bend your knees to 90-degrees while engaging your core and keeping your back straight
  • Jump up from the squat position as high as you can, keeping your core engaged
  • Land softly back into starting position with your knees bent

Things to Remember

  • Avoid bending your knee over your toes
  • Do not hunch your back
  • Do not lock your knees when you land

A Little More Info

If you haven’t quite worked your way up to a jump squat yet, you can try standing up instead of jumping. This adds a dynamic movement without an impact on your joints. For some of us with a previous injury, this just won’t be a move that we can do, which is A-okay. There are tons of squat variations—we even made a video a few years ago to show them off. You can find the jump squat starting at 10 seconds.

2 | Long Jumps 

Long jumps are another tremendous plyometric workout for beginners because the movement is familiar. Many of us had to at least attempt long jumps in High School during gym class, and whether or not you fell in love with them then, they can be quite fun to do as an adult. Instead of jumping upward as you would in the squat jump, this movement asks you to propel yourself forward, utilizing different muscles that will help with endurance exercises as you continue to practice.

How To Do A Long Jump

  • Standing with the feet a little wider than hip-distance apart, bend your knees and get into your squat position
  • Use all of your muscle strength to jump as far forward as possible
  • Bend your knees as you land to absorb the shock
  • Land on both feet at once
  • Jog backward to starting position and repeat

Things To Remember

  • Do not lock your knees as you land
  • Be sure to keep your muscles engaged as you begin to jump
  • Do not allow your knee to go over your toes as you squat down

A Little More Info

While this is not the same as a long jump on a track where you might run and jump forward to exert all of your energy, benefits remain. This is a great way to get used to jumping and even work your way up to more advanced exercises like the frog jump, tuck jump, and more!

3 | Burpees 

Along with squats, we really love burpees. They may just be one of the most effective full-body movements you can possibly do, and they have a pretty cool history. One of the reasons we love burpees for beginners is because you can do variations of this exercise to match your skill level—allowing you to start with some assistance and work your way up to advanced variations as you get stronger.

How To Do A Burpee

  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart
  • Quickly drop into a push-up position by placing your hands on the ground and shooting your feet out as quickly as possible 
  • Do a push-up and use the energy of the second half of that push-up to move your feet back toward your hands, landing you in a low squat 
  • Jump into the air as high as you can and repeat

Things To Remember

  • Form matters! (Keep that in mind for all of these plyometric workouts.) If you start to feel yourself arching your back, locking your knees, or any other no-no, take a break or stop for the day
  • Do not hold your breath
  • Do not force yourself to do an advanced version when you are not ready—you gotta start somewhere

A Little More Info

For other variations we love, you can simply drop into the pushup position and then walk your way up and repeat. Drop into the pushup position and jump back up. Or do the full movement. 

If you are ready to add plyometric exercises to your workout, you can do so at any of our locations.  Experience the our Dynamic Difference. Hop we will see ya soon!

INTRODUCING OPENPATH DOOR SYSTEM

 

We are happy to announce the implementation of the OpenPath system as a part of our evolution.  With OpenPath you will be able to use your membership any time!  You can work out during our staffed hours with your Dynamic Fitness barcode or early morning and overnight hours with OpenPath. Work out on YOUR schedule as we will now be 24 hours 7 days a week! DOWNLOAD OPENPATH!
Register and activate your OpenPath access via the email delivered to you. Download Openpath AppOnce registered an OpenPath Tile can be found through our Dynamic Fitness AppOpen the doors bypassing your cell phone by the reader or set up the wave to enter using your Bluetooth. 

  • Register and activate your OpenPath access via the email delivered to you. 
  • Download Openpath App
  • Once registered an OpenPath Tile can be found through our Dynamic Fitness App
  • Open the doors by passing your cell phone by the reader or set up the wave to enter using your Bluetooth. 

Sugar Land- Now Available!

Pearland- Coming Soon!

Katy/Barker Cypress- Coming Soon!

Exercise can help your immune system fight off infections

Many types of exercise can improve your immune response to bacteria and viruses. 
  • Regular exercise can boost your immune system and help fight off infections. 
  • Exercise allows immune cells to perform effectively — it increases blood flow, reduces stress and inflammation, and can strengthen antibodies.
  • Here's how you can exercise safely to boost immunity during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Exercise has many proven health benefits, from reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease to improving your mood — and even a stronger immune system.

There are many theories as to how exercise boosts the immune system, and it's likely that this happens in a few different ways. Here's what you need to know, and how you can exercise safely during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Exercise boosts immunity and can help fight off infections 

Exercise benefits your immune system in many ways. It can increase blood flow, help clear bacteria out of your airways, cause a brief elevation in body temperature that may be protective, strengthen antibodies to help fight infection, and reduce stress hormones.

Exercise also causes immune cells to be more effective.

Regular exercise reduces inflammation, allowing the immune system to perform better. While acute inflammation in response to an injury is part of a healthy immune system, chronic inflammation can slow down the immune system. 

A 2019 scientific review found that moderate-intensity exercise is linked to lower rates of upper respiratory tract infections, which includes viruses like the flu and the common cold. For example, a 2018 study of 1413 people in China found that those who reported exercising at least three times a week reduced their likelihood of getting a cold by 26%.  

Another 2018 study of 390 people found that those who were trained with an eight-week regimen of moderate exercise reduced their risk of acute respiratory illness by 14%, and their number of sick days by 23%, compared with people who did not receive the exercise training. 

How to exercise safely during the coronavirus pandemic

According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthy adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week — which can include activities like walking, yoga, or gardening. 

But even small amounts of exercise can help strengthen your immune system. As little as an additional 10 minutes of walking a day or 1,000 steps can have a huge impact.

Top 5 lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol

Top 5 lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol

Lifestyle changes can help improve your cholesterol — and boost the cholesterol-lowering power of medications.

High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Medications can help improve your cholesterol. But if you’d rather first make lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol, try these five healthy changes.

If you already take medications, these changes can improve their cholesterol-lowering effect.

 

1. Eat heart-healthy foods

A few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health:

  • Reduce saturated fats. Saturated fats, found primarily in red meat and full-fat dairy products, raise your total cholesterol. Decreasing your consumption of saturated fats can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol.
  • Eliminate trans fats. Trans fats, sometimes listed on food labels as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” are often used in margarine and store-bought cookies, crackers, and cakes. Trans fats raise overall cholesterol levels. The Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils by Jan. 1, 2021.
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids don’t affect LDL cholesterol. But they have other heart-healthy benefits, including reducing blood pressure. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
  • Increase soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soluble fiber is found in such foods as oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.
  • Add whey protein. Whey protein, which is found in dairy products, may account for many of the health benefits attributed to dairy. Studies have shown that whey protein given as a supplement lowers both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol as well as blood pressure.
 

2. Exercise on most days of the week and increase your physical activity

 

Exercise can improve cholesterol. Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week.

 

Adding physical activity, even in short intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight. Consider:

  • Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour
  • Riding your bike to work
  • Playing a favorite sport

To stay motivated, consider finding an exercise buddy or joining an exercise group.

3. Quit smoking

 

Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. The benefits occur quickly:

  • Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike
  • Within three months of quitting, your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve
  • Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker
 

4. Lose weight

 

Carrying even a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol. Small changes add up. If you drink sugary beverages, switch to tap water. Snack on air-popped popcorn or pretzels — but keep track of the calories. If you crave something sweet, try sherbet or candies with little or no fat, such as jelly beans.

 

Look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking farther from your office. Take walks during breaks at work. Try to increase standing activities, such as cooking or doing yard work.

5. Drink alcohol only in moderation

 

The moderate use of alcohol has been linked with higher levels of HDL cholesterol — but the benefits aren’t strong enough to recommend alcohol for anyone who doesn’t already drink.

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

 Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure, and strokes.