WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE YOUR BCAA?
The short answer:
Studies show that 10-15 grams of BCAAs prior to or during your workout helps to...
- Reduce Muscle Fatigue
- Improve Muscle Recovery
- Increase Energy Levels
The long explanation:
The exact BCAA dosage is dependent on your specific health and athletic goals. While more research needs to define the optimal dosage for athletes, recent research has found that consuming a daily dose of 10-15 grams of BCAA supplements provides optimal results.
Aim for the following daily dose of BCAA supplements:
- WOMEN: Minimum of 10 grams of BCAA per day
- MEN: Minimum of 15 grams of BCAA per day.
It is important to note that maintaining your BCAA supplementation over a long period of time -- over 10 days -- needs to continue in order to see any significant benefits.
This means taking BCAAs everyday.
Experienced trainers and nutritionists, recommend that athletes who want fast results should be flexible in taking BCAA. Supplementation can occur ten to twenty minutes before working out, during workouts, and even between meals.
WHAT'S ALL THE HYPE ABOUT?
In recent years, there has been a heated debate among fitness professionals, strength coaches, and athletes about the function and efficacy of the branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation and most of them are inquisitive about the best time to take BCAA.
Moreover, bodybuilders and the fitness community have been eager to know the effects of continuous consumption of this supplement to their health and well being. Meanwhile, athletes who are knowledgeable about the advantages of the supplement in terms of increased lean muscle mass, muscle repair, muscle recovery, and improved strength also needs to know when to take BCAA.
Therefore, we developed this post to demystify the subject for casual sports lovers, fitness professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them make the right decision about the supplement. So, roll up your sleeves, relax, have a sip of coffee and read through.
WHAT ARE BCAA’S?
Branched-chain amino acids -- BCAAs -- get their name from its molecular structure.
The human body functions through biological processes. There are twenty-two standard amino acids responsible for enzyme activity and molecule synthesis. Nine out of the whole amino acids in our body are known as ‘essential' amino acids while the remaining are ‘non-essential.’
The human body cannot produce essential amino acids. So, individuals must consume them from food sources. The BCAA’s are considered to be the most important amongst the nine essential amino acids, and they are:
- Isoleucine and
These three amino acids are required for your body to function. As a matter of fact, the body can obtain BCAA’s through the consumption of protein-rich foods like red meat and fish, however here has been ongoing research about its benefits in relation to exercise and sports.
In one report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), it was proven that BCAAs could be oxidized in skeletal muscle during exercise. The research exposed how the essential amino acids depreciate faster during strenuous exercise to enhance catabolism -- the breakdown of protein.
Therefore, in addition to eating protein-rich foods, experts encourage direct consumption of BCAAs as supplements in powdery or tablet form for fitness professionals who undergo stressful exercise.
5 BENEFITS OF BCAA SUPPLEMENTATION
INCREASED MUSCLE + MUSCLE GAIN
The consumption of BCAA stimulates the build-up of muscle tissues because it does not pass through the liver or digestion process before getting access to the tissues promoting protein synthesis which leads to muscle growth.
It is time-consuming for the body to assimilate the amino acids from the consumption of protein-rich foods because they will pass through rigorous processes – from the intestine to the liver. In case the body needs more energy, the amino acids will be redirected to provide energy. Therefore, it is better to take BCAAs which work faster, in addition to preventing muscle tissue from being broken down which is a catalyst to the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis.
BCAAS IMPROVE RECOVERY TIME
As an exercise enthusiast, you know that the length of your recovery and the type of ingredients you provide your body can make or break your performance. BCAA supplementation has been studied for years and the research has shown that BCAA supplementation may decrease your recovery time and help you build muscle.
A recent 2018 article found that BCAA supplementation might be beneficial for decreasing delayed onset muscle soreness as well as exercise-induced muscle damage. Additionally, another study found that BCAA supplementation decreased exercise-induced muscle damage, and promoted muscle-protein synthesis.
AIDES IN WEIGHT LOSS
Branched-chain amino acid metabolism was found to help humans in losing body weight from research conducted by the NCBI. It was found to regulate glucose, adiposity, leptin and general body weight.
In another experiment conducted in 1997 which involved competitive wrestlers, the participants who followed a low-calorie diet in combination with BCAA experienced a decrease in body fat when compared to the wrestlers placed on a placebo. So, while dieting, BCAA can help athlete and individuals to shed some weight and grow their muscle.
BCAAS ARE A GREAT SOURCE OF ENERGY
Valine (one of the essential amino acids) has been identified to be vital in increasing energy for workouts and other strenuous activities.
BCAA’s are broken down during exercise to boost the overall energy of the body. When athletes use BCAA’s, they can train longer and reduce fatigue to build their muscle and achieve dependable results.
USERS EXPERIENCE FASTER RESULTS
The branched-chain amino acids taken in powdered or tablet form goes directly into the bloodstream without passing through the normal digestion process. Because they are rapidly absorbed, their effects can be felt by the individual when their aim is for muscle growth or fat loss.
They are preferred by athletes and fitness professionals because they act faster, and they are more effective.
When compared with whey protein and other rich protein shakes, which may take several hours to be digested or broken down; bodybuilders and athletes prefer BCAA.
SAFETY AND LEGALITY OF BCAA
From all indication, taking BCAA supplements is safe because it has not been linked with harmful side effects. Though, research pertaining the overall safety of the supplement is ongoing, different studies recommend that athletes and fitness professionals should take 15 – 20 grams per day.
However excessive use may cause certain metabolic disorders and can cause insulin resistance. So, users are encouraged to check the on-pack safety instructions and strictly adhere to the dosage and determine when to take BCAA.
The legality of taking BCAA is not questionable because our body cannot produce them so it is expected that athletes should get it through supplements and diet. For sure it is legal in the United States; also the World Anti-Doping Agency and the NCAA considers it as a legal supplement. However, every athletic organization operates differently, and athletes are encouraged to consult those that are responsible in their professional organizations.
COMMON QUESTIONS + ANSWERS
Q: HOW MANY TIMES A DAY SHOULD I DRINK BCAAs?
A: We recommend using BCAA's 1-2 times a day. It's best consumed prior to your training but can be used after your training as well.
As a female with an average workout regime, taking 3 – 6 grams per day is recommended. If you’re a female athlete, probably undergoing strenuous training, you could consume not more than 12 grams per day.
Men athletes or fitness professionals training for a competition can take up to 15 – 20 grams per day. But those that do not have a busy gym life could keep to 10 grams per day.
Q: IS IT OKAY TO TAKE BCAA BEFORE BED?
A: Since BCAA's have been shown to decrease cortisol levels and increase growth hormone levels, it can be beneficial to take BCAA's before bed. Both Cortisol and Growth Hormone play important rules during sleep.