If you’re following the workout guidelines within the 4 Hour Body—or really any intense workout routine (including bodyweight workouts), supplements will help you get your muscle growth, strength, and recovery optimized.
And one of the most important supplements for muscle growth and recovery is BCAA—and the only one I’ve found to be worth spending my money on is Isopure Aminos.
Before we get into the powerful benefits of Amino Acids, let’s start with a basic primer…
What are Branch Chain Amino Acids?
Amino acids or branch chain amino acids (aka BCAA’s) are vital to your health. They are part of the building blocks of protein—and of the 20 amino acids, about half are “essential” meaning your body can only get them from external sources (i.e., food or supplements). The great thing about supplemental BCAAs is they appear to bypass the liver and are made available directly to the muscles for repair/rebuilding and as fuel.
So how can using a BCAA supplement such as Isopure Aminos benefit your 4 Hour Body diet? Here’s 5 ways:
Muscle Recovery and Repair/Growth
If you’re following the standard workout protocol from the 4HB or really any protocol that deals with heavy bodyweight workouts or exercise to failure, then you know the level of soreness that comes from these workouts. These short, intense workouts cause serious (but good) damage to your muscle fibers. By supplementing with a quality amino acid powder you’ll give your muscles the ingredients needed to make repairs and add more material to the building blocks of protein.
Studies have shown that supplementing with BCAAs before and after intense workouts improve recovery, reduce exercise induced muscle breakdown, and speeds up protein synthesis.
How to get the benefits: 30 minutes to 1 hour before your workout take 3 to 5 grams of BCAA—I use 1 scoop of Isopure Aminos in cool water. You can also take an additional 3 to 5 grams after your workout.
Can Speed Up Fat Loss
One of the problems with dieting, even on a slow carb/4HB style diet, is that people tend to lose muscle along with fat. This is really not ideal—especially if you’re working out to try to maintain or gain muscle while losing fat.
Supplementing with BCAAs though gives your body the opportunity to continue building new muscle even while you’re in the dieting/fat loss phase of weight loss. As you add muscle (even micro amounts) your body has to expend more energy to maintain the muscle—and since 4HB diets are primed for using fat for energy (along with Keto and fruit-free paleo diets), your fat loss will be improved further.
How to get the benefits: on non-workout days try to aim for 10 g of BCAA (either at once in the morning or split throughout the day) from supplemental sources—if you’re following a low carb diet, you’re probably getting a good amount from your diet but you may not be getting the full spectrum of BCAAs. A great way to get some of your supplemental amount is to start your day with an Isopure protein shake with 1 scoop of Aminos added in.
Could Reduce Cravings
This is huge for people fairly new to lower carb (or virtually no carb) diets. Cravings early on can be intense. And although we recommend a cheat day every 7 days—that isn’t always enough to stop you from obsessing over carbs and sugary foods.
BCAAs can help you with cravings through a few methods: they activate signaling messages (specifically serotonin levels) in the brain that can reduce hunger, they aid insulin sensitivity to keep blood sugar levels steady, and they can reduce cortisol levels (stress has a big effect on cortisol and makes it difficult to make good food choices). Combined these benefits will help you reduce cravings and limit cheats only to our specified cheat days.
How to get the benefits: If you’re supplementing with aminos on a daily basis, you may have met your needs. But if you aren’t regularly supplementing or you take only 5g or less per day, then adding 2-3g a few times per day (especially before your regular meals) is a great way to get the added BCAA supplements. Early in a low carb diet it might help to take 12-15g of amino acids.
What is the best Amino Acid Supplement around?
Alright, now that we’ve covered the benefits of amino acid supplementation…
The next question should be “What’s the best supplement available?”
I can unequivocally give you my opinion:
Here’s the thing, I’ve used other brands and there is not one I’ve had that I could tolerate. What I look for in a BCAA supplement (especially powder) is:
- they fully dissolve
- they don’t taste horrendous
- has a great reputation for quality
In the past, I’ve been stuck singing that great Meatloaf song…you know: “2 out of three ain’t bad!”
Take your pick of 2 out of three of those and you’ll see it won’t be an enjoyable experience.
Either you get grainy but quality BCAAs (but horrible tasting). Or, dissolved and taste okay, but not sure about the quality. Maybe worst of all is good tasting, decent quality, but doesn’t dissolve.
I do not have this problem with Isopure Aminos.
Simply mixed with water and fully dissolved? CHECK—there is no particulate at the bottom of my glass
Tastes great? CHECK (especially the cranberry/grape)
Reputation? CHECK—I know Nature’s Best is a quality, reputable company
So here’s how I use it: I wake up and chug some ice water. Then I take my glass and fill it with 12 oz of cool water and add 1 scoop of Aminos—this gets me 5g of BCAA first thing in the morning.
Normally I fast til noon, so I’m not getting the recommended 30g of protein in 30 minutes—so later in the day, either at lunchtime or before bed I add a second 5g of BCAAs.
Now, if I’m back to trying to get my 30g of protein first thing in the morning, what I prefer to do is add my 1 scoop of aminos to an Isopure protein shake and kill two birds with one stone!
Would you like more information about Isopure Aminos? Visit the Isopure site to find out more about their different flavors and other products!
This blog post is sponsored by Isopure and product and compensation was provided—but all opinions and reviews are strictly my own opinion.