Month: September 2015


I began taking a BCAA supplement just under 6 months ago and I did it at the time to help with muscle recovery and endurance since I teach so many classes each week. Recently though, I decided to give intermittent fasting a try and BCAAs are suggested for fasted cardio workouts. Enter a lot of reading to find out just what some of the MOST IMPORTANT BENEFITS are and I thought I would share my findings with you.

You’re probably thinking, “Just what the heck are BCAAs?”, right? Well, BCAA is short for branched-chain amino acids. The three amino acids in this category are leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAs are unique partially because of their composition, but also because these amino acids are highly prominent in muscle tissue and are the building blocks of proteins. BCAAs are metabolized differently than other amino acids and can be oxidized in the muscles during exercise for energy. They’re important to muscle function in more ways than one though. Most people ingest BCAAs as a recovery aid and to reduce muscle soreness, like I started out doing. However, taking them before you exercise can slow down the rate at which your muscles fatigue and provide workout intensity.

BCAAs in supplement form (you know, the powder in a container) are free-form, require no digestion and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Additionally, since BCAAs bypass the liver and gut and go directly into your blood stream, they can be used as an immediate energy source during your workouts.

I found multiple articles from various sources and they all agree on at least the following 3 benefits, in addition to those I talk about above:

1) BCAAs lower cortisol (stress hormone)
2) BCAAs balance brain chemistry
3) BCAAs help control hunger & cravings

Cortisol is a stress hormone and can increase when you get into an argument, go on a diet, don’t get enough sleep and even when you workout for long periods of time. The main functions of cortisol are to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system and aid in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. When cortisol is released with low levels of HGH and/or high levels of insulin, it causes muscle burning and fat storing and no one wants that! BCAAs have been shown to lower cortisol, balance blood sugar and have the ability to suppress stress induced cravings and blunt hunger.

Taking a BCAA supplement post-workout or between meals can help control your appetite so you experience less cravings so that you don’t binge between meals and will help keep your blood sugar steady. Eating foods that cause rapid increases and then drops in your blood sugar levels can trigger cravings (hello! Let’s stay away from these foods!). Your blood sugar levels can also swing up and down dramatically when you are adjusting to a low carb or Paleo diet and cutting out sugar. These swings can often lead to cravings for sugary foods like cookies and sweets. Taking a BCAA supplement on an empty stomach between meals when you are adapting to these types of diets can keep your blood sugar steady and cravings under control.

So, I believe I’ll stick with taking BCAAs for a while! =)

Check out the photo to see which is my favorite. It tastes like a green apple jolly rancher! =D

BSN Amino X Green Apple

BSN Amino X Green Apple

Quick and Easy Recipes

iEncourage Fitness ebook

Guess what?! I’ve decided to do a flash sale on my ecookbook, 25 Quick and Easy Recipes for Singles and Small Families. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, now’s the perfect time! You get 5 super easy breakfast recipes, 5 snack recipes and 15 lunch/dinner recipes.

CLICK HERE to get your eCookbook download now!

Here’s the crazy thing… anybody who’s known me for years will tell you that they NEVER imagined me spending time in the kitchen much less creating an ecookbook. Here’s the thing though – I DON’T like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen so when I find things I can make really quick AND that are on the healthier side, I’m all over it. I tweak them to my taste and voila! I created this ecookbook to share with others how easy it can be to eat better than you may currently be and you’ll find that it won’t break the bank either.

If you already have a copy of my ecookbook, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and what your favorite recipes are. Be sure to leave me a comment below.

Cheers to healthier eating!!!



Hey! Have you heard about the new app called Periscope? You should check it out! It’s live streaming video where you get to interact with the person that you’re watching. They can answer your questions or chat with you while they’re talking. It’s really cool!

If you’d like to check out what I chit-chat about, you can follow me at @encouragefitnss. I cook, whip up quick recipes, talk about challenges and plenty of random things and answer questions at the same time. =D

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