Nutrition is a pillar of good health. It fuels our bodies, amplifies our performance, and allows us to push boundaries we never thought possible. When it comes to optimising exercise outcomes, three nutrients stand out as game-changers: BCAAs, hydrolysed collagen, and protein.
These three key components form the foundation of peak health and vitality for the everyday athlete. With their remarkable benefits, they have become the go-to allies in achieving fitness goals and unlocking potential. Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the secrets behind this power trio and embark on a path towards optimal performance.
Table of Contents
Understanding BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein and play an important role in our bodies’ overall functioning. Comprising three essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – BCAAs are not naturally produced by the body, which means we need to get them from dietary sources like whole foods or supplements .
BCAAs shine as a powerful tool for muscle growth and recovery. These amino acids promote protein synthesis, stimulating muscle development and repair while minimising muscle breakdown during intense workouts [raby]. Optimal levels of BCAAs have been linked to improved endurance, reduced fatigue, and enhanced exercise performance .
While BCAAs can be found in various foods, such as lean meats, eggs, and dairy products, nutritional supplements like ProKick Protein Drink provide a convenient, efficient way to meet the recommended dosage.
When Should You Consume BCAAs?
It’s unclear whether there’s an optimal time to consume BCAAs. While various studies have looked at taking BCAAs before, during and immediately after exercise, the results have been mixed.
The idea of the ‘anabolic window’ – that you have to consume protein and other nutrients within 30 minutes of a workout to maximise hypertrophy and recovery – doesn’t seem to matter for BCAAs. In fact, one study found that taking BCAAs before training was better for both muscle soreness and muscle damage .
Other studies have found that, for both amino acid and general protein consumption, the quantity mattered more than the exact timing . Keep in mind that this doesn’t apply to training fasted or partially fasted – if that’s you, make sure you consume your BCAAs immediately post-workout .
What Is Hydrolysed Collagen?
Collagen is the most common protein in humans, making up around a third of the total protein in your body . It’s found in everything from your bones and muscles to your cells and hair, although its main roles involve maintaining skin elasticity, supporting connective tissue health, and helping your tendons stay strong . There are 28 identified forms of collagen .
Like all proteins, collagen is made up of amino acids – specifically, glycine, proline and hydroxyproline . The three weave together in protein chains to form a triple-helix structure, which is what makes collagen such a strong protein (and why many of its roles in the body relate to tissue flexibility and durability) .
While collagen can be obtained from dietary sources like meat, fish, and poultry, supplements like ProKick that contain hydrolysed collagen offer an effective, convenient way to get the right intake without feeling bloated or heavy .
Health Benefits of Dietary Collagen
Supplementing with collagen can deliver impressive health benefits – especially for casual and competitive athletes.
As a key nutrient in your bones and joints, it can help regulate tendon and bone turnover, and even has applications for managing conditions like osteoarthritis [8, 9, 10]. Those traits also translate into reducing the risk of tendon-related injuries in exercise . For people with long-term joint injuries, recovery-focused exercise protocols combined with collagen could lead to improvements in overall joint health .
Collagen isn’t just important for sporting performance, either. It also supports skin moisture retention, smoothness, and elasticity, as well as hair strength and thickness [12, 13].
Hydrolysed Collagen vs. Other Collagen Forms
Hydrolysed collagen is the most common form of supplementary collagen. It’s made by hydrolysing collagen from cows, pigs, poultry, or marine life – that is, breaking down native collagen proteins into a shorter, more bioavailable form (known as collagen peptides) using water or acid and certain enzymes . Different hydrolysis methods and collagen sources can affect the nutritional properties of hydrolysed collagen .
So, why is hydrolysed collagen so popular as a dietary supplement?
The main reason: it’s easier than other collagen forms (like gelatin) for our bodies to use. The peptides (strings of amino acids) in hydrolysed collagen are shorter, which makes them faster to digest . Hydrolysed collagen is also water-soluble at room temperature, which means it can be used in jellies and drinks .
While non-hydrolysed forms like gelatin definitely aren’t bad for you, they might not have the same health benefits as hydrolysed collagen.
Effect of Consuming Collagen With Vitamin C
Many nutrients work better when they’re consumed with other nutrients – often because they increase bioavailability or, in the case of vitamin C and collagen, improve synthesis.
Collagen synthesis occurs when your body uses the amino acids from dietary collagen to create native collagen for your skin, hair, muscles, teeth, and so on. That process involves fibroblasts – a type of cell that uses dietary nutrients like vitamin C, iron and copper as catalysts [moores]. Various studies have shown that consuming vitamin C and collagen together before exercise can improve collagen synthesis, which leads to faster tissue repairs and a lower risk of injury [15, 16, 17].
That’s why many high-quality nutritional supplements – including ProKick Protein Drink Lemon Lime and Mango Passionfruit use a citrus base. It’s not just about taste. Vitamin C and collagen work synergistically together to produce better recovery outcomes than either ingredient on their own. If you aren’t taking a supplement that combines both nutrients, aim to take a vitamin C tablet with your chosen form of collagen.
The Importance of Protein
For the everyday athlete, protein is a crucial ally in muscle building and recovery. It provides the necessary amino acids to repair and rebuild muscles after strenuous workouts, optimising performance and reducing the risk of injury.
Protein can be derived from various sources, including animal and plant-based options. Animal sources, such as lean meats, poultry, and dairy, provide complete proteins containing all essential amino acids . On the other hand, plant-based sources like legumes, tofu, and quinoa offer incomplete proteins that can be combined to form a complete amino acid profile . The simplest way to get a substantial dose of protein is through drinks, but for those with intolerances to dairy, high-protein drinks like ProKick Protein Drink can help you easily meet intake targets.
So, how much protein should you take? A quick Google pulls up everything from 0.8 grams to 3.3 grams per kilogram of body weight, but the science is more specific.
For casual, health-focused athletes trying to maximise hypertrophy and recovery, 1.6 grams of protein per kilo of body weight, split across at least four meals, is a good target . That means an 80-kilogram man would need to consume 128 grams of protein per day. However, elite athletes or bodybuilders might need more – if that’s you, aim for a daily upper limit of 2.2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight .
There’s a reason we say ‘daily upper limit’. Despite the widespread idea that more protein equals more hypertrophy, there is an upper anabolic limit (a point where protein stops helping you build muscle). If you consume more than 20 grams of protein per meal, your body oxides most of the extra amino acids, which means they won’t be used for tissue repair .
Most protein powders and supplements contain around 20 grams of protein per scoop for this exact reason; any additional protein probably isn’t supporting hypertrophy . ProKick Protein Drink, for example, contains exactly 20 grams per serve – the perfect amount for muscle growth.
Note: the protein intake figures we’ve talked about here are general in nature and designed for the everyday athlete based on various peer-reviewed studies. They’re not the right fit for every person – for example, if you’re doing very light training, if you’re undertaking intermittent fasting, or if you have a chronic health condition. Always make sure you talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian about the best diet for your body.
Incorporating BCAAs, Hydrolysed Collagen, and Protein into Your Daily Routine
To harness the full potential of the power trio – BCAAs, hydrolysed collagen, and protein – it’s essential to integrate these supplements into your daily routine.
Start by designating specific times for supplementation. As we’ve discussed, you don’t need to obsess over exact timings – the most important thing is consuming the right amounts of nutrients an hour or so to either side of your workout. The exception is if you’re training partially or fully fasted, in which case you should load up as soon as possible post-workout.
Consider adding BCAAs to your water bottle during workouts, mixing hydrolysed collagen into your morning smoothie, and including protein-rich foods or shakes in your post-workout meals. To make good nutrition even easier, try supplements like ProKick Protein Drink that include all three nutrients.
To maximise the benefits of supplementation, keep your daily intake consistent and in line with the recommended dosages. Make sure you’re also following a balanced diet with a variety of whole foods. The most important thing: listen to your body’s needs, stay hydrated, and prioritise quality sleep to enhance the recovery process.
If you’re someone who works out at the gym, engages in endurance exercise like running, or participates in sports like soccer or boxing, getting the right nutrition is key. And a big part of ‘right nutrition’ involves protein, BCAAs, and collagen – the power trio that can help build muscle and prevent injury.
Most people know that protein is essential for repairing and building muscle, but the big takeaway from this article is that you don’t need to eat huge amounts of protein in a single sitting. Twenty grams before or after exercise is ideal for hypertrophy. For the rest of your daily protein intake, aim for at least 1.6 grams per kilo of body weight and split it over at least four meals.
BCAAs and hydrolysed collagen should also have a place in your pre- or post-exercise meal/drink. Adding BCAAs may help complement the BCAAs found natively in protein, and hydrolysed collagen has been shown to have important implications for tissue repair and injury prevention (especially when taken with vitamin C).
You can get the power trio by following a balanced diet – and the majority of what you do eat should be whole foods. But, when you’re busy, on the go, or want an easy-to-digest source of nutrients, nutritional supplements like ProKick can be a great part of your daily routine.
The most important thing to remember: be consistent in your nutrient intake. Physical performance improves when you take the right actions – diet, exercise, sleep, mental wellbeing – day in, day out.
Medical information on Flavour Creations is merely informational and is not the advice of a medical practitioner. This information is general in nature and was accurate at the time of publication. For more information about nutrition and your individual needs, see a GP or an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
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