No, you can’t just take BCAAs (or any supplement, really) and put on immediate muscle. While there are tons of companies that will claim this, the real process of building muscle actually involves work. Work in two areas – exercise and nutrition
High-intensity training and weightlifting demands certain qualities out of our muscles. Working out damages the muscle to an extent, and our bodies adapt to these demands (see: SAID principle). The more we ask of them through exercise, the more they grow.
Therefore, hypertrophy depends on activity-induced stress. Heavier loads tend to stimulate more muscle growth, as they recruit larger muscle contractions and stimulate anabolic hormones.
But again – exercise is just the starting point. Our muscles actually have to adapt to these demands, and they can only do so if they’ve got the right tools to rebuild. That’s where your nutrition comes in.
Many studies demonstrate that being in a caloric surplus is required for muscle growth. At the very least, you have to eat enough to keep your metabolism from slowing down.
During exercise, and usually at rest as well, our muscles are breaking down faster than protein synthesis can occur. Yet strength training triggers protein turnover – which means it primes your body to build more proteins for muscle tissue.
One caveat – there are some amino acids you can’t create yourself, and you have to get them through food. The three main ones involved in protein synthesis are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. AKA the BCAAs.
Why building muscle is different for vegans
Different protein sources have varying levels of amino acid profiles. The “gold standard” for measuring the protein quality of a food is the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). It takes a protein and determines the essential amino acid that’s least prevalent in the food.
Sorry, vegetarians and vegans, but animal proteins rank the highest on the PDCAAS scale. Meats, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, eggs, and more all have a strong amino acid profile. Meaning vegans have to go searching elsewhere for their amino acids.
Does that mean it’s impossible? No, you can definitely get all amino acids as a vegan from whole foods. But, taking vegan BCAAs can and will help you build muscle. And here’s why.
How BCAAs can help build muscle
After a meal, the blood concentration of amino acids goes up, which makes sense as you just gave your body external protein sources. When proteins go to the liver to be broken down, a large portion of amino acids go directly into the bloodstream, while the others hang out in the liver for synthesis of enzymes, forming ketones, and more. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are absorbed faster and make up an amino acid pool in your bloodstream.
How does this translate to lifting? The three BCAA’s, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, make up most of muscle protein. Tissues (aka muscle) can take available BCAAs from the pool to create more muscle. And in order to build muscle, protein synthesis needs to happen faster than protein breakdown. Basically, keeping that pool of amino acids full helps us train harder and put on muscle faster.
The Best Vegan BCAA for building muscle
Finally! The reason you all came here. If we had to pick the best vegan BCAA for building muscle, it would hands-down be Performance Lab’s take on BCAAs.
They’ve not only made a third-party tested, top-quality supplement, but their BCAAs are generated to mimic the same amino acids that occur naturally in food. Their labs use a patented form of Biogenesis, creating new amino acids in single celled organisms and purifying them to yield their trademarked BCAAs.
Not only do they generate a fully bioavailable BCAA profile, but their specific formula focuses on leucine, the main amino acid that triggers protein synthesis. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve learned that protein synthesis is the start of any muscle building process. The other two BCAAs, valine and isoleucine, help protein synthesis as well, but they also improve energy levels during your workout and increase recovery. Taking Performance Lab BCAAs around your workout can help you train harder, recover faster, and build muscle more quickly.
Where can I find the best vegan BCAA for building muscle?
Just visit Performance Lab’s website to get their blend of BCAAs. One bottle of 30 capsules runs for just $25. Even better, by purchasing more, you get a larger percentage discount. And you know you’ll need them at each workout, once you discover how well they work for yourself.
Do you want to build muscle? Are you a vegan? Are you not a vegan but still want a great, healthy, and effective way to get big?
Step one: train hard. Lift big with high intensity
Step two: Eat enough! Nutrients are key for muscle building
And finally, get yourself a high-quality BCAA to supplement your workouts. The science backs it up – taking BCAAs stimulates muscle growth and exercise recovery. And our pick for the best vegan BCAA for building muscle is Performance Lab BCAA. So what are you waiting for?