How to Supplement With BCAAs

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

Supplement dosage and timing of BCAAs is very important for effectiveness. BCAAs are short for branched chained amino acids and is composed of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine. Usually in the 2:1:1 ratio or 3:1:1 ratio. The biggest buzz about this supplement is that it is required for muscle growth under the mTOR pathway (leucine specifically)- a major pathway essential to signally muscle growth. If you don't have enough leucine- muscle growth is hard to come by! The first area to cover is the amount of BCAAs needed for best results. A general rule of thumb is to consume 5-10 grams of BCAAAs during each dosage. This amount has been shown 1)effective 2) economical to take 3) absorbed correctly. The last thing you want is to take 20 grams of BCAAs during a workout and not properly assimilate the amino acids- leaving unwanting distress in the G.I track.

Step 2

The first time to take BCAAs is right when you wake up- this turns the body from being catabolic to being anti-catabolic. BCAAs don't take long to digest. Unlike intact dairy proteins such as whey, the body doesn't have to digest these prior to assimilating them. For this reason, it absorbs quickly and is utilized by the muscles directly to help control catabolic hormones and promote anabolic ones. More info on this in the later steps- but for now make sure to take BCAAS right upon waking up. The Dosage- 5-7 grams

Step 3

The next time to take these is around weight training workouts. I recommend 5 grams 30 min. before, 5 min. during weight training sessions, and 5 grams postworkout (0-30 min. post). The reasoning behind this is it 1) keeps the body primed with muscle growth inducing amino acids 2) keeps the body's chief catabolic hormone cortisol at bay 3) provides a quick absorbing substance for your muscles to use for both muscle performance during the workout and recovery afterward and 4) It will help you burn more fat. From personal experience, I burn more fat, keep more muscle and have abundant energy when I supplement in this manner. Don't limit this supplementation to weight training workouts only. I remember I used to supplement with these during my baseball games a couple years back and I noticed a large increase in my agility, speed and energy.

Step 4

In step 3 I mentioned about taking BCAAs during weight training workouts. However, they can also be very effective when taken before cardio sessions to maintain muscle mass and burn more fat. The reason is BCAAS are metabolized in the muscle directly- thereby encouraging a favorable environment for fat burning and preventing the body from using it's own muscle tissue to supply energy in times of stressful cardio sessions. (which makes the supplement VERY effective when dieting). I often take these right before my sprint workouts and notice my speed improve along with a nice lift in energy. If you do your cardio after your weight workout- simply take a little higher dosage of bcaas (7-10 g) and sip on it while you workout as well as before you do your cardio session.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

Make sure to mix the BCAAs according the direction on the label- when in doubt- a little more water is always better to mix with- as water will ensure proper absorption in the muscle cell. Give these dosages and timings a try and I guarantee you will like the results.

Stuff You'll Need

Brand Product Price
Amino1 $15.19
Xtend $55.99

Suggested Further Reading

Author Title Price
New Rules of Lifting $12.82

This Student Author

This Student Author's Background

Funny or interesting story about this topic...

BCAAs have had ups and downs in popularity over the last 20 years- They were typically consumed back in the 80's & 90's as part of amino acid pills or supplements (think desiccated liver tabs). It wasn't until the research came out mainly in the mid 2000's of how important BCAAs were for not only signaling one of the essential muscle growth pathways but also as an excellent anti-catabolic supplement. So, as the research poured out on the metabolism of BCAAs in the body- the evidence was clear BCAAs are an essential component of building and maintaining muscle mass. Clearly, even a supplement as "basic" as BCAAs can be one of the most essential supplements in a fitness enthusiast arsenal. This safe, proven supplement has been a mainstay in my supplement lineup for years because of the effectiveness and direct correlation to maintaining and building muscle mass.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I've been well established with BCAAs for a number of years. I even had the chance to help develop one of the United States leading BCAA product.

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