Science Agrees: BCAAs Are Awesome

FO_BCAAsport_WatermelonAs experts in the supplement industry, we are intimately familiar with concerns and questions customers and the paying public may have about products.

Do they work? (To wildly varying degrees, yes – buy the good ones.) Are they safe? (Buy from reputable vendors like Nutrishop, and they couldn’t be safer – we don’t hesitate to yank inferior products off our shelves.) What exactly do they do?

We like to turn to science and study when it comes to answering all of those questions. ln recent years, what’s come to light specifically about one certain supplement is extremely encouraging. Not only do BCAAs stand up as an excellent product for fat loss and muscle gain in non-biased, scientific review, but they routinely make regular customers’ shopping lists each time they visit us. A lot of products will come and go – only the best ones stick around when the hype wears off and results are all that’s left. And at the end of the day, BCAAs are always left standing.

What makes Branched Chain Amino Acids such an effective supplement? For starters, BCAAs are incredibly versatile.  Typically, supplements can reasonably claim to address one or two goals – strength, muscle mass, fat loss, or athletic performance. BCAAs can help with all of them. 

A randomized, double-blind study, published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, was performed to “evaluate the efficacy of consuming a supplement containing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) during an eight-week resistance-training program.”  The conclusion:

Ingestion of a supplement containing BCAAs while following an 8-week resistance training program resulted in a greater decrease in percent body fat, an increase in lean mass, and 10-RM strength gains on the bench press and squat vs. ingestion of a whey supplement or a sports drink. In addition, the ingestion of a whey protein supplement resulted in greater lean mass gains than ingestion of a sports drink.

What does that mean? In short: Regular use of BCAAs as a supplement to your diet and training program make you leaner and stronger. Less fat, more muscle, more strength.

Benefits don’t stop there. In 2006, The Journal of Nutrition published a study that found BCAAs to play a role in reducing exercise fatigue – meaning that if you took BCAAs before and/or during your workouts, you could go more intensely, or longer, to get more out of your exercise. The same study found that “Branched-chain amino acids also positively influence the metabolic response of muscle to exercise.”

Translation: BCAAs slow your metabolism’s feast on your muscle tissue when you’re working out.

Even when you’re not training, though, BCAAs have the same effect. So if you’re taking a break, trying out anabolic fasting diets, going on vacation or suffering an injury that keeps you out of the gym, knocking back BCAAs regularly will help slow the muscle catabolism (your body using muscle for energy) or atrophy that would otherwise occur. That phenomenon was proven out in a study published in Nutrition Research in 2012.

It’s not snake oil, folks.

For years, the most-researched and trusted supplements in this industry were whey protein and creatine. Doubters cropped up all over the place at first, but as the scientific method consistently proved them wrong, these products clearly developed staying power. Well, it’s time to add BCAAs to that list. Study after study is showing that amino acids are not only just an emerging powerhouse supplement, but a must-have for all ranges of athletic ability – from elite athletes to first-day beginners.

The NUTRISHOP Lean Gains Plan for Men

When we hear people set fitness goals, we usually here one or the other of these: to gain muscle mass, or to lose fat.

We’re asking — why not both? While it is more difficult to achieve both goals at the same time, it is possible, and it’s not as hard as some may think. Building lean, strong muscle mass while losing body fat is the holy grail of fitness goals outside of athletic performance, and it requires a dedicated adherence to a smart diet plan and goal-focused training plan.

That’s why we’ve put together this week-long workout you can repeat up to six weeks straight: The NUTRISHOP Lean Gains Plan for men.

For a .PDF version of this file you can print out and take to the gym with you, click here!

With five days a week of weight training (three lower-body, two upper-body), followed by a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session, the focus will be on short-but-effective workouts that limit rest periods. Keep them to no longer than 60 seconds between sets; if a superset is listed, you take no rest between exercises within the superset and rest only after the superset is complete. Each day has varying levels of intensity, with Days 2 and 3 sure to be your most grueling workouts.

After every workout, perform 15 minutes of HIIT, using a 45-15 method — that is, go 45 seconds at 70-75 percent effort, followed by 15 seconds of all-out effort. Then ramp it back down and repeat.

We’ve included recommended supplements to take as well, and the timing of them, to maximize your results.

Pre-Workout Supplementation:

45 minutes before workout – 4 ARABOL, 3 N’FUZE, 3 N’RAGE

10-15 minutes before workout: Pre-Workout (NO-XP3, HEMOVEX, N’SANE, VASOCOR, STANCE, ERRATIC, BLUEPRINT)

Intra-Workout Supplementation:

1/2 to 1 scoop of KARBOLYN XR3, 1 SCOOP BCAA

Post-Workout Supplementation:

1.5 scoops PRO7/FORZAPRO, 3 N’FUZE, 3 N’RAGE

1.5 Hours After Workout:

Post-Workout Meal – lean protein, small slow-burning carb (half a sweet potato or 1/4 C of oatmeal, for example), small piece of fruit

DAY 1 LOWER BODYopener-squat-supercharged-ss

Squats: 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 (increase weight)
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts: 14, 12, 10, 8 (increase weight)
Power Cleans: 6, 6, 4, 4, 3
Jump Squats: 4 sets to failure

15 mins HIIT

DAY 2 UPPER BODY

3 Supersets: 12 DB Bench Press/12 Bent-Over DB Rows. Use the exact same dumbbells for both movements, never setting them down.

3 Supersets: 12 Incline BB Bench Press/12 Wide-Grip Pull-Ups. If you can’t do 12 pull-ups, either use an assisted pull-up machine or (if you can’t do even 6-8) go to failure.

3 Supersets: 10 Plyometric Push-Ups/12 Medicine Ball Slams. If you don’t have access to medicine balls (or the gym doesn’t like you slamming them into the ground), you can sub in Wide-Grip Standing Cable Pushdowns.

3 Supersets: 10 DB Flys/10 Inverted Rows. Perform your inverted rows on a Smith machine by lowering the bar, then simply pull yourself up, belly up and body parallel to the ground.

15 mins HIIT

DAY 3 LOWER BODY/CORE

5 Supersets: 5 deadlifts (heavy)/12 narrow-stance squats (light)

4 Supersets: 5 Bent Kettlebell Presses/Plank for 45 seconds (30 if you cannot do 45)

5 Supersets: 3 Power Clean-to-Front Squat/3 per leg – Alternating Box Step-Ups, holding a plate overhead

3×12: Hanging Leg Raises

4×5 per arm: Cable Chop

4×5 per arm: Cable Lift

15 mins HIIT

DAY 4 – REST DAY (HIIT OPTIONAL)

DAY 5 UPPER BODY

3 Supersets: Alternating One-Arm DB Bench Press (8 per arm)/Alternating One-Arm DB Rows (8 per arm) — on the bench press, hold two dumbbells, with the off-hand stabilizing one just above your chest, not resting on it, while the other works.

3 Tri-Sets: 8 DB Standing Press/8 Flat-Bar Triceps Cable Pushdowns/8 Reverse-Grip Pull-Ups

15 mins HIIT

DAY 6 LOWER BODY

4 Supersets: 5 Squats/12 Leg Extensions (heavy on squats, light on extensions)

4 Supersets: 5 Deadlifts/12 Hamstring Curls (heavy on DLs, light on curls)

3 Supersets: 8 Alternating Forward Lunges (per leg)/8 Seated Calf Raises

15 mins HIIT

DAY 7 – REST DAY

The NUTRISHOP Tight-and-Toned Women’s Training Plan

If a strong-but-slim body is what you’re after and you’re tired of finding only workouts that resemble either a women’s bodybuilding plan or the training regimen of an elite athlete, look no further. We get it — you want to tighten and tone, finding a nice middle ground for your figure that includes not only burning fat, but building the muscle that comes with a sleek, lean look. That’s why we’ve put together this workout plan: The NUTRISHOP Tight-and Toned Training Plan for women.

For a .PDF version of this file you can print out and take to the gym with you, click here!

With five days a week of weight training (three lower-body, two upper-body), followed by a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session, the focus will be on short-but-effective workouts that limit rest periods. Keep them to no longer than 60 seconds between sets; if a superset is listed, you take no rest between exercises within the superset and rest only after the superset is complete.

You want "tight and toned?" We've got you covered.

You want “tight and toned?” We’ve got you covered.

After every workout, perform 15 minutes of HIIT, using a 45-15 method — that is, go 45 seconds at 70-75 percent effort, followed by 15 seconds of all-out effort. Then ramp it back down and repeat.

We’ve included recommended supplements to take as well, and the timing of them, to maximize your results.

Pre-Workouts: THERMOVEX, 1 serving of BCAA SPORT

DAY 1 UPPER BODY

5 Supersets: 12 Stiff-Legged Romanian Deadlifts/12 Alternating Forward Lunges (per leg)

5 Supersets: 12 Wide-Stance Goblet Squats/12 Alternating Backward Lunges (per leg)

3×12 Jump Squats

3×12 Hamstring Curls

*Take 5 minutes to stretch quads and hamstrings, and have 1 serving of BCAA SPORT*

15 mins HIIT

Post-Workout: PRO7, HYDROPRO, or FORZAPRO

DAY 2 UPPER BODY

Pushups-for-training-the-upper-bodyPre-Workouts: THERMOVEX, 1 serving of BCAA SPORT

5 Supersets: 12 DB Incline Bench Press/12 Pull-Ups (or assisted pull-ups)

5 Supersets: 12 Bent-Over BB Rows/12 Push-Ups (or modified push-ups)

3×12 Overhead DB Press

3 Supersets: 8 DB Curls/12 Triceps Rope Pushdowns

*Take 5 minutes to stretch pectorals and lats, and have 1 serving of BCAA SPORT*

15 mins HIIT

Post-Workout: PRO7HYDROPRO, or FORZAPRO

DAY 3 LOWER BODY/CORE
bbell-front-squat-b-female

Pre-Workouts: THERMOVEX, 1 serving of BCAA SPORT

4 Supersets: 8 Front Squats/8 Lying Hamstring Curls

5×5 One-Legged Romanian Deadlifts (per leg)

4×6 Lateral Lunges (per leg)

4x :30, Planks

4×8, Hanging Leg Raises

*Take 5 minutes to stretch quads, calves and hamstrings, and have 1 serving of BCAA SPORT*

15 mins HIIT

Post-Workout: PRO7HYDROPRO, or FORZAPRO

DAY 4 – REST DAY (HIIT OPTIONAL)

DAY 5 UPPER BODY

Pre-Workouts: THERMOVEX, 1 serving of BCAA SPORT

3 Supersets: Alternating One-Arm DB Bench Press (8 per arm)/Alternating One-Arm DB Rows (8 per arm) — on the bench press, hold two dumbbells, with the off-hand stabilizing one just above your chest, not resting on it, while the other works.

3 Tri-Sets: 8 DB Standing Press/8 Flat-Bar Triceps Cable Pushdowns/8 Reverse-Grip Pull-Ups (use the assisted pull-up machine if necessary)

*Take 5 minutes to stretch pectorals and lats, and have 1 serving of BCAA SPORT*

15 mins HIIT

Post-Workout: PRO7HYDROPRO, or FORZAPRO

DAY 6 LOWER BODY

Pre-Workouts: THERMOVEX, 1 serving of BCAA SPORT
4 Supersets: 5 Squats/12 Leg Extensions (heavy on squats, light on extensions)

4 Supersets: 5 Deadlifts/12 Hamstring Curls (heavy on DLs, light on curls)

3 Supersets: 8 Alternating Forward Lunges (per leg)/8 Seated Calf Raises

*Take 5 minutes to stretch quads, calves and hamstrings, and have 1 serving of BCAA SPORT*

15 mins HIIT

Post-Workout: PRO7HYDROPRO, or FORZAPRO

DAY 7 – REST DAY

The NUTRISHOP Weight Loss Challenge Winners!

The winners have been announced for the NUTRISHOP CDA Weight Loss/Muscle Gain Challenge! Great job by everyone who participated, especially our winners!

Zack Jones was the overall winner of the NUTRISHOP Transformation Challenge!

Zack Jones was the overall winner of the NUTRISHOP Transformation Challenge!

ZACK JONES, 28, is our overall contest winner and wins FREE PROTEIN FOR A YEAR! Zack gained 2.33 pounds of muscle and lost 12.24 pounds of fat, for a 14.57-pound swing!

“I’ve always lifted and to be honest,” Zack says, “I just always wanted a six-pack. I was more motivated to go for that and just needed some structure to follow basically.”

Joining the Transformation Challenge certainly helped him do that. Already a NUTRISHOP client by the time to challenge came around, Zack thought he may as well try — he had been lifting with no goals in mind, and he knew it would give him something to shoot for and push himself harder.

His training stayed virtually the same — in fact, many of his workouts were the ones we post all the time —and he just hit it consistently, about an hour or so, five to six days a week, hitting legs twice.

“I’d been shooting from the hip as far as workouts go, but then I started following NUTRISHOP’s workouts,” he explains. “I’ll go heavy on my chest and leg days, and back is really more of a pull-up, higher-reps-and-endurance style. And I do a lot of supersets after the heavy core lifts.”

As with most people who lost a lot of body fat, the dietary changes for Zack were the most important. The timing and intake of his carbohydrates, for instance, was something he wasn’t familiar with until NUTRISHOP set him up with an individualized meal plan, which was “by far the most valuable thing for me to follow,” he says. “And it was easier to stick to than I thought it would be.”

All of his results and the process has made Zack not only a Transformation Challenge winner, but a NUTRISHOP loyalist.

“The place is fantastic, by far my favorite shop that I’ve ever been to,” Zack says. “Once I met the guys there and got to know them, I haven’t bought supplements anywhere else. I can stop in after work with questions and they’ll just talk with me for a half-hour.

“Everything was easily laid out for me and the knowledge they had was awesome,” Zack continues. “Once they gave me a structure to follow, it was just a matter of doing it.”

Congratulations, Zack — and enjoy the protein!

Before Mike McConnell decided to change his life for the better, he was suffering back pain from a military injury and had gained 100 pounds in six months.

Before Mike McConnell decided to change his life for the better, he was suffering back pain from a military injury and had gained 100 pounds in six months.

MIKE MCCONNELL, 34, is a former Marine who saw his health slipping when he returned home from the service. He gained 100 pounds six months after getting out of the military, having hurt his back in service, and decided it was time to make a change.

“I just want to be healthy,” Mike says. “It’s been dragging me down and I decided this is something I need to do. I want to be healthy for my kids. When I sit on the couch and I’m in pain, my back’s bothering me, I know I’ve got to be more active.”

A couple years ago, Mike moved to Coeur D’Alene and he and his wife decided to choose a healthier lifestyle, making a fresh start in a new area. One of his first stops was NUTRISHOP, where he saw experienced nutrition and fitness experts not only giving advice, but practicing what they preached.

“A lot of people can feed you the diet stuff they read from a book,” Mike says, “but the guys at NUTRISHOP had experienced it and done it themselves.”

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Mike has lost almost 60 pounds since October, when he began working with NUTRISHOP's help.

Mike has lost almost 60 pounds since October, when he began working with NUTRISHOP’s help.

Since October, when Mike first started getting involved with NUTRISHOP, he has lost 60 pounds and won $75 in store credit with muscle gain and fat loss that netted him a 7.72-pound swing in body mass. He won his category in the NUTRISHOP Weight Loss Challenge with a ferocious approach to training, a personalized diet plan and some of his favorite supplements including glutamine, BCAAs and ERRATIC for his pre-workouts.

He was training seven days a week, twice a day, with heavy sessions in the morning and volume-based training later on. He did fasted cardio early in the day, with BCAAs to help prevent muscle breakdown, and high-intensity interval training after his weight sessions.

Such an intense regimen had him close to a plateau, he says — and then the Weight Loss Challenge breathed new life into it.

“I was doing that routine four months before I started the contest, and I felt like I was maybe peaking,” Mike says. “The contest just kept me going.

“I need to show up at that gym parking lot every day,” he continues. “As long as I walk in and do something, at least I’m not going backward. And that’s important to me.”

Great job, Mike!

LAURIE LITTMAN, 55, won her category and $75 in credit with a 2.4-pound swing. She had been building good fitness momentum beforehand, and saw the Weight Loss/Muscle Gain Challenge as a way to up her results.

“I’ve been working toward all this anyway, so it was nothing really new to me,” Laurie says. “I’ve done the Biggest Loser at the gym, and came in second on that in my category, and I’ve just been working on it ever since. Exercising and eating right has become a big goal of mine.”

Laurie has always been into exercise, but had never concentrated on building muscle and suddenly found herself with 15 pounds of fat she wanted to lose. She knew that implementing a lifestyle of clean eating would be the first step, and that she could accelerate her progress with weight training.

“I logged all my food and that helped quite a bit — realizing what I was eating and what was in everything I was eating,” she says. “At first it was a little strange — I wasn’t used to eating that much protein. I didn’t use to measure things. Now I am much better about knowing exactly what I’m eating and how much.”

Laurie’s goals and motivations throughout were simple enough: trying to stay in shape and feel healthy, keeping up with her grandkids and, of course, looking good. But most of all it was all about simply feeling good.

NUTRISHOP helped get her on track with her eating and showed her which supplements would be best for her. Laurie still uses FORZA PRO, PRO7, N’FUZE, GLUTAMIC and BCAAs. And of course, on top of the products, Laurie says she could always rely on NUTRISHOP for encouragement and expertise.

“They’re always very encouraging and knowledgeable with what they have there. That was very helpful,” Laurie says. “They’re all just very positive. I could ask anything and they’d spend time telling me. I like a store that knows what they’re doing.”

Way to go, Laurie!