Most people take BCAAs (short for Branched-Chain Amino Acids) before working out. If this works for you, that's great. However, there are also benefits to taking them later.
Read on to learn more about BCAAs and find out why you should consider taking them right after your workout.
What Are BCAAs?
There are 20 amino acids, which are necessary for protein formation. Out of these 20 amino acids, 9 are considered essential, which means the body can't make them by itself.
Within the 9 Essential Amino Acids (EAAs), there are 3 Branched-Chain Amino Acids:
These 3 amino acids get their name because of their molecular structure, which features an extra branch that extends from the side. They aren't alike just because of the way they look, though. BCAAs also offer similar benefits when it comes to building muscle and helping you achieve your fitness goals.
Types of BCAA Supplements
Most BCAA supplements just contain the 3 Branched-Chain Amino Acids and no other nutrients.
There’s nothing wrong with this, necessarily. However, there are also other options on the market that provide more per serving.
Here are 3 other types of BCAA supplements you might want to think about using:
BCAAs + EAAs
Most experts agree that Branched-Chain Amino Acids are the most beneficial for muscle-building and achieving your health and fitness goals. However, Essential Amino Acids are important, too.
If you’re worried about your overall amino acid intake, perhaps because you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, products like ProSupps HydroBCAA + Essentials are a great choice.
In addition to providing you with a healthy dose of BCAAs and EAAs, this supplement also contains electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that support optimal hydration, which is particularly crucial during high-intensity workouts and long training sessions.
BCAAs + Caffeine
For those who like taking BCAAs before a workout, a product like ProSupps HydroBCAA + Energy is an effective option. This supplement provides BCAAs and electrolytes, but it also contains 125mg (or 0.004 ounces) of caffeine to help you feel energized and ready to conquer your workouts.
Pre-Workout with BCAAs
If you’re mainly focused on increasing energy and want the added benefit of some extra BCAAs, you may also want to consider a pre-workout that contains BCAAs.
Most pre-workouts contain fewer BCAAs than a traditional BCAA supplement. However they are still a good option for those who want to maximize their energy while also supporting their bodies’ muscle-building processes.
Why Should I Take BCAA Supplements?
“Why should I take BCAA supplements?” is one of the most common questions people ask when they’re thinking about using this product. If you’ve been wondering the same thing, here are a few benefits to keep in mind:
Avoid Nutrient Deficiencies
If you’re not getting enough BCAAs (or other Essential Amino Acids), you may be prone to issues like fatigue and muscle weakness.
Those who eat plant-based diets and don’t consume a lot of complete protein sources (such as meat, dairy products, poultry, eggs, etc.) are more likely to under-consume BCAAs. If this is the case for you, adding in a supplement can make a big difference.
Increase Muscle Mass
BCAAs are best-known for their muscle-building benefits. Leucine, in particular, is needed because it stimulates the pathway responsible for muscle protein synthesis.
If you’re looking to maximize muscle growth, you need to make sure you’re getting enough of this amino acid. That’s why most BCAA supplements contain it in a 2:1:1 ratio (twice as much Leucine as Isoleucine and Valine).
Reduce Muscle Soreness
Many people find that they’re less sore and can recover faster when they include BCAA supplements in their post-workout routine.
Because BCAAs (especially Leucine) support muscle protein synthesis, they help to minimize muscle damage while you’re exercising. This, in turn, can reduce post-workout muscle soreness, especially for those who do high-intensity workouts or do multiple workouts per day.
Maintain Muscle While Dieting
BCAA supplements can also help you to maintain your muscle mass and avoid muscle protein breakdown.
If you’re dieting and eating fewer calories than usual, you may be more prone to muscle loss. However, supplementing with BCAAs and increasing your overall amino acid intake can help you to avoid this issue while you’re working on getting lean and achieving your fat loss goals.
How Many Grams of BCAAs Do You Need a Day?
In addition to asking why they ought to take BCAAs, a lot of people also ask questions like, “how many grams of BCAAs do you need a day?”
Most experts recommend a minimum of 9g (or 0.31 ounces) of BCAAs per day for women and a minimum of 12g (or 0.42 ounces) of BCAAs per day for men.
The average BCAA supplement contains about 7g (or 0.24 ounces) of BCAAs per scoop. With this in mind, it makes sense that most people do just fine taking one scoop of BCAAs per day. This is especially true if they get BCAAs from other foods or supplements throughout the day.
Why Should You Take BCAAs Right After Your Workout?
Now that you know more about the benefits of BCAAs and how much you should aim to consume per day, let’s address your most pressing question: Why should you take BCAAs right after your workout?
If your main goal is building muscle and supporting faster muscle recovery, taking BCCAs after training will likely help you to see the best results. BCAA supplements will help you to replenish your muscles and provide them with the nutrients they need to heal so you can get back into the gym sooner.
Using BCAAs as part of your post-workout ritual can be especially beneficial if you train multiple times per day, or if you do hard workouts on consecutive days. If you’re in either of these situations, you need to be diligent about your amino acid intake to avoid potential deficiencies.
How Long After Your Workout Do You Take BCAA Supplements?
If you’re focused on building muscle and recovery as quickly as possible, how long after your workout do you want to take BCAA supplements?
The good news is that you don’t have to obsess over getting your amino acids (or any other supplements) in within a 45-60-minute window. The myth of the “anabolic window” has been largely debunked.
As long as you’re hitting your amino acid and protein goal for the day, it doesn’t seem to matter much when you take them. In other words, take them as soon as you can, but don’t stress too much over the timing.
The only exception to this rule is if you’re working out while fasting. If you don’t have any food in your stomach, you may be more prone to muscle breakdown after exercise. In this case, taking BCAAs shortly after training can help you to avoid running into this issue.
Add BCAAs to Your Post-Workout Stack Today
Are you ready to add a BCAA supplement to your post-workout supplement routine? If so, make sure you’re using the best BCAAs on the market.
ProSupps BCAA supplements are made of high-quality ingredients and are Informed-Choice Certified. Head to our shop to check out our selection and place your order today!