One of the most common questions clients ask me is about supplementation, or products that I take or recommend to enhance fat loss.
And while there are absolutely NO short-cuts when it comes to losing fat (and more importantly keeping it off), there are a few supplements that I think *most* women may benefit from adding to their diets, assuming of course, that they are already following a solid nutrition and exercise plan. Nothing I recommend can erase poor nutrition and lack of moving your body. So as long as you got that going for you, I want to fill you in on the one of my favorite supplements that I take and highly recommend to my clients.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (or BCAAs for short).
We’ve talked about this before, but if FAT loss is a goal, you need to maintain a caloric deficit. There are just no two ways about it. If you’re not in a deficit, you won’t lose fat, period. Supplementing with BCAAs can help you hold on to your precious metabolically active muscle tissue while you’re in that deficit which is super important because the more muscle we have, the more calories we burn.
Precision Nutrition says, “Adequate consumption of BCAAs may help manage body fat, spare muscle mass, and regulate glucose/insulin balance.”
If you downloaded my updated “kit”, you are well aware of how important managing our blood sugar level becomes when fat loss is a goal…and if you haven’t downloaded it yet,, click here! By doing so, you’ll get my hormonal fat loss email series sent directly to your inbox with tons of useful and practical tips to help you to get leaner and stronger!
Ok, back to BCAAs….
Dr. Stacy Sims, author of the book, ROAR – How to match your food and fitness to your female physiology for optimum performance, great health, and a strong, lean body for life, says that BCAAs are really important for women, especially those in peri-menopause and menopause. She states that:
“Estrogen turns down the anabolic or growing capacity of the muscle and progesterone turns up the catabolism or breakdown of muscle tissue, which makes it more difficult to access amino acids. As a result, you have higher rates of muscle breakdown during hard efforts. It’s simply harder for us to make and maintain muscle when those hormones are high. That’s why it’s particularly important for women to take in protein that’s high in leucine or BCAAs”.
In addition, Metabolic Effect states that: “The branched chain amino acids (BCAA) may have special utilization in weight loss programs combining exercise with diet. BCAA supplementation has been shown to increase muscle mass, decrease hunger, regulate blood sugar, attenuate the stress hormone response of exercise, and may increase exercise capacity, and fat-burning directly.
I don’t know about you, but that all sounds good to me!
Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different brands. Some taste horrible, some made my skin tingle, and others were just too damn expensive.
THIS brand is my absolute favorite because it doesn’t have a yucky aftertaste, it’s all natural, it tastes great, one scoop is the recommended dose (makes life easier to not have to figure that out) and it’s very reasonably priced.
I typically put 1 scoop in my 32 oz Nalgene bottle and drink that before, during and after my workout. I don’t stress about it, I just fill it in the am and sip it all day…but most of it is consumed around my workout. I tend to drink it on off days as well. It helps me to drink more water because I like the taste and it also helps in recovery and decreasing muscle soreness.
If you are looking to maintain your muscle mass, decrease hunger, cravings and fatigue (especially during PMS), and increase your mood, I’d definitely give BCAA supplementation a try….but like I said in the beginning – they’re not magic.