The most popular way for losing weight is following a "cut diet", which basically is a process of restricting calories and carbohydrates during hard physical training periods. The caveat here is that this kind of procedure also poses a high risk for lean tissues, which in consequence will eventually lead to performance limitation.
What people don't realize is that they will put extra effort on the hard workout to compensate the limitations and they are still loosing lean mass along with fat. And the risk of injuries is real and increased.
Besides that, the lean mass will help the metabolism to burn extra fat, so you really don't want to lose any lean mass at all! You worked for it, so you wanna keep it!
BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are one of the most researched and popular strength training supplements for muscle recovery. Studies on BCAAs have been evidenced its properties on helping exercise-induced muscle damage and stimulating muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth).
This is why BCAAs can especially benefit the body during caloric restriction in combination with heavy resistance training.
WHAT ARE BCAAs COMPOSE OF?
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are defined by a group of 3 essential amino-acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Essential means that the body doesn’t produce them naturally and they must be ingested through daily nutrition.
You can do this by eating lean meats, protein rich vegetables (especially if you are vegan) or drinking whey protein which is packed of BCAAs. A large percentage of branched-chain amino acids are found in our skeletal muscle and studies have shown that leucine is responsible for the muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth). That's why BCAAs are “the most widely used supplements among bodybuilders.”
BCAA AND WORKOUT
Heavy workouts can cause a process in your body called "Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD)" resulting in a temporary decrease in muscle force production, a rise in passive tension and increased muscle soreness, which is basically tearing down of the lean tissue.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reported that when BCAAs are taking right before, during and after resistance training, the muscle recovery process is accelerated and the muscle function is improved (1)
Another study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, shows as conclusion that Whey Protein supplementation helps to improve all parameters in terms of lean mass gain over a period of 10 weeks. (2)
BCAA and WEIGHT LOSS DIETS
The caloric restriction combined with intense workout is definitively the most popular way of losing weight among athletes and common people. The difference is that, athletes know about the process of muscle loss during the process and they supplement their nutrition with protein and BCAA to prevent it.
Calories and essential nutrients restriction can also lead to decreased athletic performance and increased chances of illness (your body resistance drops) and training injuries. If the protein intake is not enough or compatible with your body needs, muscles will be wasted rather than grown.
So, beware when trying to get fit fast by only working hard. Sometimes working smarter is better than harder!