BCAA for Cyclists (Branched Chain Amino Acids)
If you are a cyclist, particularly one who competes at some level, and you are looking for a competitive edge, you have probably already explored the world of supplements. With so many different options out there, it can be tough to choose the right one. There are some wild claims made regarding the veracity of different supplements, not all of which can be confirmed by actual research, but there are some that are tested and true. If you have not yet considered branched chain amino acids (BCAA), then it’s time you learned a little more about how they can improve your cycling performance.
The first thing that you need to know is that these amino acids do not occur naturally in the body, which is why they need to be taken in supplement form. We all know that protein is an essential element when exercising regularly, as it helps with energy production and muscle recovery. This is why so many people take protein shakes before and after an exercise session. With an adequate amount of BCAA, you can create the building blocks that lead to the production of protein in the body, thus helping you with your performance levels.
It is improved performance that causes many people to think about BCAA for cyclists, especially since speed and endurance are critical factors in cycling. There have been different studies performed to see how effective BCAA is for cyclists, and the results have been positive. A study performed in 1998 tested endurance, with cyclists taking BCAA able to ride for an average of just over 153 minutes, which eclipsed the 137-minute average of the placebo group. Another study out of Japan showed that blood oxygen levels increased when taking BCAA for 1 month. Both of these results would suggest that BCAA for cyclists will help with endurance.
The best results, though, have been found in the area of muscle breakdown, which can be a real issue for anyone who exercises on a regular basis. Even if you are in great physical shape, your muscles take a beating any time you put them under stress. This is why it is essential to have rest days included in your cycling or exercise schedule. Repairing the muscles as quickly as possible reduces pain, and gets you back in the saddle that much quicker. Research has shown that branched chain amino acids help with this process, which is why BCAA is becoming so common among competitive cyclists.
It is possible to get the BCAA you need from the foods you eat, which means maintaining a balanced diet that contains meat, dairy products, and legumes. Generally speaking, you should be looking at about 2 grams of BCAA per kilogram of body weight to be in the optimum zone. If you are not getting that from the food that you eat, then look for a BCAA supplement from a legitimate source. Very few side effects have been reported, but it is recommended that you only use the supplements for 6 months at a time.
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