EHPlabs athlete & registered dietician Mark Robinson shares why he considers Beyond BCAA+EAA intra-workout to be his essential training partner.
Read on to learn why Mark always incorporates Beyond BCAA+EAA into his workout routine - and how it helps him stay shredded all year round!
What are BCAAs & EAAs?
Most of us would somewhat be aware of the role Branch Chain Amino Acid powder plays in muscle growth and tone. However, the not so talked about impact they have on performance by means of buffering lactic acid is something that especially excites me!
BCAA’s are the building blocks of protein and are the individual components that make up the vital macronutrient that is protein. There are twenty amino acids; out of which nine are considered to be essential, as the body cannot make them itself. This means that we must obtain these from diet; through a variety of animal and plant based sources and supplementation. The other eleven amino acids can therefore be synthesised by the body, making them non-essential.
Within the nine essential amino acids (EAA’s), there are three branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s): leucine, isoleucine and valine. These are different to the others as they do not require metabolising by the liver, and are therefore taken up directly by skeletal muscle. These 3 ‘aminos’ are also the most important for the manufacture, maintenance and repair of muscle tissue as they are responsible for ‘turning on’ the muscle building process, known as protein synthesis.
Why Leucine is so important?
Of the three BCAA’s, leucine has been shown to be the most effective amino at stimulating protein synthesis (the process of building muscle protein and therefore growth), yet the three work better together to provide a host of benefits and even boost energy during workouts. Beyond does in fact have an optimal two to one ratio of leucine to isoleucine and valine, aligning with the extra importance of leucine.
The many benefits of BCAA’s & EAA’s
It has been shown that BCAA supplementation can blunt the catabolic and stress hormone, cortisol, and decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
BCAA's actually make up on average one third of our muscle mass size, so that alone says a lot about the significance and importance of supplementing with amino acid powder. The remaining essential amino acids also live in muscles and play vital roles in muscle density, strength and performance. Primarily the role of all nine essential amino’s is to assist in achieving efficient muscle toning results!
This is achieved in a couple of ways; firstly the amino acids can buffer lactic acid build up during exercise. This is a unique benefit of amino acids, as lactic acid accumulation is what most often causes us increased fatigue on working muscles leading to having to cut the exercise or workout session short. Lactic acid also therefore causes longer rest time in between sets or bouts of interval training or greater recovery requirements in general, which can reduce active muscle pumps. The ability to assist in buffering this lactic acid results in being able to exercise harder and for longer and with less recovery time needed. These benefits can result in increased muscle tone and size as well as reduced muscle soreness. Secondly, as we have now learnt EAA’s are not produced by the body but muscles absorb them from diet and supplements. The greater the ‘pool’ of EAA’s available to the muscle, the greater the potential size of the muscle and potential working ability or strength of the muscle.
When should Beyond BCAA / EAA’s be consumed?
Best taken during training as an intra-workout drink as they are quickly digested into the working muscles. This then acts to efficiently buffer lactic acid when fatigue begins to set in and thus allows us to train harder and get the most out of a workout. The natural growth hormone, Insulin, is also higher than normal during training, and this is especially beneficial as it aids in the efficient absorption of amino acids directly into muscles.
Beyond is my essential ‘training partner’ because of its fast acting muscle recovery abilities and muscle toning and growth effects. It has always motivated me during my training, in between sets I sip Beyond and know I have the building blocks of protein going directly into my working muscles that are crying out for fuel to help them recover before the next set, and be able to work even harder. I know from my own personal experience of using Beyond for four years I am able to train at peak level throughout my entire workout rather than fatiguing mid way through and having to cut training sessions short. I remember the pre-Beyond days when I would fail on sets all of a sudden, feeling spent with no energy in the tank. My goals with my physique over the years have always been to stay shredded all year round. Ripped muscle separation is required for my fitness modelling and I want to be ready for a shoot any day of the year without having to feel like I’ll need weeks of notice in order to ‘shred’ first. I can confidently say Beyond is a staple ingredient in the winning formula I have found and live by in order to make this a reality that is simple, achievable, balanced and very importantly sustainable.
What is Senactiv?
Beyond has the unique ingredient Senactiv, which ensures that every box of muscle recovery and performance have been thoroughly ticked! Senactiv helps provide greater energy to our working muscles whilst they are under pressure, as it creates more of the enzyme Citrate Synthase that is responsible for energy production through the Citric Acid Cycle; the process whereby ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is produced, which acts as a shuttle to carry energy to working cells.
To help make it easier to understand; energy is stored as various forms in numerous cells of the body, including muscles. It takes on a different structure when in storage, for example a simple carbohydrate sugar like glucose may be readily available for energy usage in the bloodstream, but when it is stored in muscles to be kept for later usage, it is converted to Glycogen. When it is time to utilise these various stored energy sources they begin breaking down and enter the Citric Acid Cycle, which further simplifies and refines them to be converted into fast acting readily available energy. Importantly, to perform this Cycle, Citrate Synthase is required and Senactiv is the protein that creates Citrate Synthase.
Beyond has also included cognitive enhancers. This is super exciting as it means the potential for increased brain functions such as memory, thinking, alertness and improved mood. One specific ingredient for focus in Beyond that I find to be of interest is Huperzia Serrata. Some of the researched scientific benefits of Huperzia include alleviating memory loss, promoting circulation, counteracting fever and reducing inflammation (Howes & Houghton, 2009). Huperzine A (a component of Huperzia Serrata) has been administered to healthy volunteers and patients in numerous trials, demonstrating acceptable safety and tolerability as well as efficacy in Alzheimer's disease, benign forgetfulness, and vascular dementia. It has traditionally been used for the treatment of swelling, fever, inflammation, blood disorders and schizophrenia. Huperzine A was classified as a dietary supplement by the FDA in 1997.
Part of the brain focus and mood component of the Beyond ingredients is L-Tyrosine, which is in fact also an amino acid though a non essential one, but topping up the system is useful as it’s primary function is to play a role in the production of neurotransmitters, such as epinephrine and dopamine. These neurotransmitters function for enhancing mood. It is commonly known that a lack of Dopamine can be correlated with depression, reiterating the importance of L-Tyrosine for a positive mood.
Beyond is simply a great form of hydration and tastes delicious so supplementing with it in addition to drinking plain water will in itself be beneficial regardless of exercise levels and intensities. This is for absolutely everyone and can certainly be enjoyed throughout the day as a refreshing drink. Now make sure you try the new Grape Candy Lollipop flavor and utilise the full array of benefits from Beyond.
Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of having pure BCAA’s without any flavoring? You may have been scarred for life...but fear no more, the delicious tasting Beyond product officially goes next level with this new flavor Grape Candy Lollipop!
Masters in Nutrition & Dietetics
Read more about Mark Robinson here