What's That You're Drinking?
07/06/2016 08:25AM ● Published by Crystal Tingle
What’s that you’re drinking?
If you ever see me running around town On the Coast then no doubt you will see me with gym leggings and a tank top on or donning a tennis skirt. And, of course, following close behind me is a cloud of stinkiness, post-workout…true, and a most unfortunate byproduct of my active lifestyle that those in the near vicinity of me will most certainly have to endure. I believe in going hard or going home! And whoever coined the phrase “women don’t sweat, they glisten” did not live in the South! But… occasionally you will NOT recognize me because I will have cleaned up, dressed up and fumigated myself. It’s okay to laugh! That’s funny! I do, I stay stinky like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown most of the time. What can I say? I love to be active! But regardless of my attire or activity, one thing is a constant. You will ALWAYS see me toting a 1-liter bottle with some rather murky-looking water in it. It’s so habitual now that I often forget and bring it into restaurants, stores, you name it…it goes with me. And I get asked a lot, “What’s that you’re drinking?” This is probably because I don’t care for cold water and thus don’t use fancy “keep it cold all day” containers. I just keep refilling whatever 33-oz. water bottle I have recently bought and add my “murk” powder into it, which I guess makes people curious about the color. But the bottom line is that most of you already know how important it is to drink enough water each day. In fact, my personal goal is four liters a day, five during the hotter months. But as important as water is to my daily “healthy” routine, I also have another. At least two of these liters that I drink are infused with my “murk” or a powder called BCAAs. Ample water is paramount for a healthier, hydrated you, but whether you exercise extensively or just favor a brisk afternoon walk, BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids, can be an added benefit for any weight loss or health goals you may have. I generally never go one day without them, whether I get to the gym or not.So let me break down why BCAAs are so beneficial for you the best I can. It’s important to understand without getting too scientific that our bodies thrive on and consist mainly of protein. Muscles, organs, nails, and hair, to name a few, are examples of what proteins constitute, and amino acids are their building blocks. In fact, let me say it this way. Second to water, our body is made up of mostly protein and these proteins are made up of roughly 20 amino acids. Some of these our body produces naturally (non-essential) while others (essential) have to come from our diet. BCAAs make up three of the nine that are among the essentials, the ones that the body cannot make itself. These include leucine, valine, and isoleucine and are considered the three most beneficial for, coincidentally, three important reasons:
- BCAAs help to prevent DOMS. DOMS sounds like a bad word and should be considered a bad word! It stands for SORE! Like “hard to go to the potty because you just worked legs for the first time in three years” kind of sore! I know you can relate! But in all seriousness, it’s an acronym for “delayed onset of muscle soreness” and pretty self-explanatory. But good news! While I can’t guarantee you won’t be sore (especially if it really has been three years), BCAAs taken as a pre-workout drink or during your workout or other activity have shown to help speed recovery and ease muscle fatigue.
- BCAAs aid in preventing lean muscle loss.
- BCAAs aid in fat loss and help to curb appetite. In much the same way that BCAAs help preserve lean muscle, these aminos have shown to aid in fat loss as well. They actually go hand in hand. Our bodies, even in a resting state, are using and burning energy (calories) throughout the day. But when we break it down and weigh it, muscle burns more calories than fat does. This is important and why you should reread #2. In weight loss goals, all of your efforts to preserve and build lean muscle will allow your body to burn more calories, thereby reducing fat. And the added bonus is this: leucine, one of the three, activates certain molecules in the brain that regulate hunger and cravings, causing us to feel more satiated. So not only could BCAAs help you burn more fat but they also help to make you less hungry as well. I like that one!
This is a big one! Muscle is what holds our skin up and wraps our bones to protect them. Saggy skin comes from the loss of collagen or elasticity as we age but also decreased muscle mass as we age. Now settle down, ladies, just for the record, I am not referring to bodybuilder kind of muscle. I am just referring to maintaining the lean muscle you already have. You want to preserve this commodity at all costs and since studies show that consistent use of BCAA supplementation during periods of recovery (no exercise) in athletes prevents them from moving into a negative nitrogen balance, which would cause lean muscle loss, then it holds true for you and me as well regardless of our various activity levels.
- With so many positive aspects, why not give BCAAs a try this summer season? Many people tell me it’s hard for them to consume 2-4 liters of water a day, especially if they are used to consuming more sugary teas or sodas. If this is you, adding the light flavor of these aminos to your water just may do the trick to up your intake. I use a flavored BCAA that is naturally sweetened with stevia as opposed to an artificial sweetener, but you can buy unflavored BCAA powder as well. Many local health and vitamin shops in our area carry them. Choose one that tastes best to you. But regardless of your taste buds, BCAAs are easy to implement in a daily routine and have too many benefits to ignore. So, bottom’s up!