T Nation

BCAAs for Teens?


#1

My daughter plays hockey. A LOT of hockey. She's on the ice 5-7 days a week and many nights she plays 2-3 games back to back.

I'm wondering if BCAAs might be beneficial to her, in terms of muscle recovery and endurance. I know for me personally, I'm not nearly as sore when I have BCAAs on board, but I'm not sure about giving them to my 13 year old. I figured I would ask here, with folks who have far more experience with supplements than I do.


#2

Bcaa are not peds, simply concentrated amino acids you get from food sources, which help people on low calorie diets, dont see prob with but, i took amino acids in high school turned out ok, i might consider a meal replacement shakes to get in all nutrients also, I've had a few people tell me glucosamine supplements work for joint health.


#3

Yeah its fine, and actually better than sugar laden powerade type drinks


#4

Yeah thankfully she doesn't drink those often. She mostly does water and coconut water. Her trainer encourages her to drink pickle juice on the days she's playing more than 4 games. She has yet to take his advice. Lol


#5

Pickle juice? I wouldn't take that advice either :grin: I'm assuming it's to replenish sodium that's lost with all the sweating. BCAA's are fine, they're naturally occurring in foods she's already eating anyway like chicken, steak, fish, etc. Some BCAA mixes also have added electrolytes to help with rehydration.


#6

He said it's a better electrolyte replenisher than any other liquid. We just keep her well hydrated.


#7

He's wrong.

There's some merit to pickle juice helping when you're already suffering muscle cramps, but it's believed to have more to do with the body's response to the acidity than the actual electrolytes in it. Coconut water beats pickle juice, in terms of electrolytes and real rehydration, no question.

With the volume of activity she has (which sounds just a little crazy. Just sayin'), I'd say skip the BCAAs and get her some protein and carbs. With all that playing time, it's not only electrolytes she needs, it's basic calories. Finibars were designed to be eaten during competitions while being super-easy to digest and light on the stomach. I'd go with those between periods and/or between games, along with plenty of water.

Coconut water is great, but it's very easy to overdo potassium because it's such a concentrated source, and potassium in high doses can have a laxative effect. That's, um, not something an athlete needs to deal with in the middle of a game.


#8

Yeah, she's never done the pickle juice and likely won't. She's pretty intuitive. Protein shakes and bars are a staple in our home. Mainly because it's the only way I can get nutrition in her between games (many times she plays back to back games....so only 5 minute rest Inbetween). And YES, I completely agree with you, it's not crazy....it's freaking INSANITY. But she loves it and begs to play more. Between inline and ice, she's at a rink every day except weds.....weds she meets with her personal trainer. We have to leave town to get her to take a rest day.


#9

Yeah the liquid amino acids today are way better then, the liquid amino acids we had tasted horrible, ice skating probably burns mega calories food sources are a must, i don't know crap about hockey let alone girls hockey do they have goons also. Their was a basketball player from iowa state , played pro until heart probs who is now bulls head coach he said he drank pickle juice every day, if you want the potassium try baked potato with skins three times potassium as banana plus alot of energy starch have her try it with fat free greek yogurt(protein probiotic ) not fat like sour cream, i would go with drinks for the extra bcaa. those huge horse pills are hard to absorb. I am not saying drink pickle juice, it is bro science plus thats a lof of sodium. Make sure she getting the calories, i just watched Olympics those gymnastics girls, growth is stunted how do you workout 6 hours a day and eat 800 calories a day, Simone would probably be 4,11 instead of 4 8 if she ate normal. But your daughter is in contact sport speed and power rule over, being tiny. Good luck.


#10

She plays with the boys, so yes, goons. She's a goalie, so she probably gets beat up on more than everyone else, but she's a honey badger and handles her business.

She loves baked potatos but no go on the yogurt or sour cream. She doesn't do dairy. She will occasionally eat some coconut milk yogurt, but definitely not with a potato. Since I'm a food nazi, she eats a really clean diet and I keep an eye on her protein input given all her activity, and make her supplement with bars and shakes when she's not getting enough.


#11

Hockey goalie here, and I gotta agree with @Chris_Colucci.

I absolutely love to use Surge Workout Fuel during my games. I keep two water bottles on the back of the net; one filled with water, and the other with Surge Workout Fuel. This type of setup may not be feasible for her games, so refueling with it between periods (in the locker room if there is an ice cut, or quickly at the bench if not) might be the best approach.

The only caveat with Surge Workout Fuel is that I would recommend some source of quick-digesting protein to help her recover after her games. You could also check out Plazma, which would simplify everything considering it is an incredible source of both carbs and protein. I've experimented with Plazma during my games, and it works extremely well. I just prefer to reserve it for my weight training sessions, while using Surge Workout Fuel on the ice.

I also do eat a Finibar about an hour before a game, as well. If trying to juggle in mixing up a new drink into what I can imagine is already a hectic hockey schedule, then something like a Finibar (or multiple) is a very simple, yet effective solution.

Hope this helps!


#12

I've never seen the surge. Is it flavored? I can't find any flavorings in their ingredients. I don't know if they aren't showing all the ingredients or if it's a null issue. The finibars are out. She doesn't do artificial sweeteners or dairy (she also can't have gluten or food dyes). We've struggled to find protein supplements that fit the criteria but I have been lucky to find a few vegan products that she can tolerate.

Anything that can give her some adequate muscle support and hydrate I think is optimal. Silly question, because I'm just not familiar with these products.... Do they amp you up? I definitely don't want that for her. She's hypersensitive to stimulants (a chai tea makes her jittery) and she plays games till 9pm on school nights. So she needs to be able to come home, shower and get into bed.