Have you ever tried a cutting phase in your workout plan? If you have then you will know just how challenging it can be, it’s no walk in the park!
Cutting is becoming more and more popular each year as the fitness industry continues to grow. There are now countless gurus and fitness professionals that publicly document their cutting phases and show the results for the whole world to see.
In its essence, a cutting phase is a weight loss diet with the intention of keeping hold of as much muscle as possible. Synonymous with bodybuilders, cutting is most commonly done a couple of months before an event to make sure they are as lean as possible.
Why Take BCAAs
Before we get into how BCAA’s can affect your muscles and your cutting phase, we should first look at why somebody would take BCAA’s in the first place.
BCAAs are essential amino acids, meaning that your body cannot create them and synthesize them by itself. In other words, you must obtain these amino acids from your diet.
BCAA’s are comprised of three essential amino acids; these are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Unfortunately for vegans and vegetarians, the highest quantity of these amino acids are found in animal products, such as meat and dairy. However, they can be obtained from other sources.
One such source is a workout supplement, which is what we are discussing here in this article.
How BCAA Affects Your Muscles
BCAAs can provide a wide range of benefits for your body and muscles. Over the past few years, there has been an increasing number of studies that have highlighted its benefits when taken as part of a workout supplementation, both pre and post-workout.
Some benefits that can be found with BCAA supplementation include:
- Increased performance in exercise
- Reduced fatigue during workouts
- Reduction in muscle soreness post-workout
- Increased production in lean muscle
- Improved liver function
- Improved sleep and cognitive function
The primary function that bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts will be interested in is how BCAAs affect our muscles. It is claimed that they can stimulate specific processes of our protein synthesis and can increase production.
This protein synthesis is excellent for helping us to build more muscle. These amino acids are the building blocks for the muscle-building process.
One other way that BCAAs can help with training is to reduce muscle soreness and an increase in muscular endurance. It does this by reducing protein breakdown during intense workouts and can help to decrease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) for the days after training.
How Much BCAAs Should I Take During Cutting Phase
BCAAs are one of the preferred supplements for people to use during cutting phases in their workout regimes. One of the problems that people often face is the dosage. Is it okay to take a regular recommended dose? Should I take more or less? Let’s dive deeper into this.
Most people suggest calculating intake based on body weight. The basis is usually this, 1g of BCAAs per 10kg of bodyweight.
However, it is not just as simple as taking this amount of BCAA’s and be done with it. We must give significant consideration to the ratios of amino acids that we are taking.
Understanding Different Ratios for Cutting
As mentioned earlier, BCAAs are made up of three essential amino acids. These are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Out of the three, leucine is the one that gives us the most significant boost in muscle production.
When we are taking BCAAs, it is essential to consider what ratio we take each of these amino acids in. The most common ratio being 2:1:1. An example of this would be, 2 grams of leucine, 1 gram of isoleucine, and 1 gram of valine.
This is the ratio that is most often recommended by the experts.
For somebody in a cutting phase, we would recommend going for the 2:1:1 ratio and to go for around 4 grams of leucine, and 2 grams of both isoleucine and valine.
Some people increase their ratios to 5:1:1, 8:1:1, and even mix it around with rations like 2:1:2.
The best advice is to keep it simple and opt for the 2:1:1 with leucine being your most significant intake. This will give the best results during cutting.
Best Time to Take BCAAs When Cutting
There have been numerous studies done on BCAAs and their effect on performance during heavily restricted diets. One of the main focal points of the research is based on when the best time to take them is fr the maximal benefit?
In this instance, it is best for people who are cutting to take the BCAAs supplement both before and after training. The closer to the training period, the better.
The reason for this is the effect it has on protein synthesis in our muscles. It helps to repair our damaged muscles and also helps to build new lean muscle tissue too.
The time you will need the extra muscle endurance is during your workout, so supplement before the exercise for the best results in this area.
The time you need the boost in recovery and reduced muscle soreness is during the recovery, so take it immediately after training for the best results here.
The Science Behind BCAA When Cutting
BCAAs are an excellent supplement for cutting because of how they help the body preserve lean muscle mass. One of the biggest problems during a cutting period is people losing their muscles along with their fat.
This is usually unavoidable as a cutting phase involves doing high-intensity workouts while on a heavily restricted-calorie diet. The energy must come from somewhere.
You will inevitably see people lose both fat and muscle at the same time. The crucial part is trying to keep the amount of muscle loss to a minimum while keeping fat loss high.
The BCAA aid heavily in our muscle recovery during the workout and post-workout. This allows us to train at higher intensities for longer.
These extra reps and increased power output will go a long way in aiding muscle growth or slowing down muscle loss, which is of massive benefit to people who are cutting on a highly restricted-calorie diet.
No matter what, engaging in a cutting phase and entering into a large calorie deficit is going to be extremely difficult, no matter what. You will lose muscle. Unfortunately, there is no way around it.
It is essential to keep your nutritional intake as high as possible while maintaining your low-calorie input. This is why supplementing the correct nutrients is crucial.
BCAAs can offer people who are undergoing a cutting phase many benefits, such as increased muscle endurance and reduced muscle soreness.
These are both extremely helpful to people undergoing their cutting as the lower-calorie diets will make them feel weak and unable to lift as much as they would previously.
BCAAs go some way towards mitigating these losses and achieving the best results from the cutting phase.