Are you currently using a BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acid) supplement? Have you ever wondered if you’re taking that supplement at the right time?
If you want to see the best results from your BCAA supplements, keep reading. Outlined below are some key facts to keep in mind about BCAAs, especially when it comes to supplement timing for the best results.
What Are BCAAs?
Branched-Chain Amino Acids are a unique category of amino acids (which are necessary for protein formation).
BCAAs are essential amino acids, which means your body needs to get them from food or supplements. It can’t make them on its own.
There are 3 Branched-Chain Amino Acids:
- Leucine: Supports muscle and bone growth and repair, as well as blood sugar balance
- Isoleucine: Regulates energy levels and blood sugar levels
- Valine: Supports muscle growth, tissue repair, energy, and muscle coordination
Of these 3 amino acids, Leucine is typically considered the most important for muscle growth. All 3 are essential, though, which is why they’re often sold together as BCAA supplements.
Why Do BCAAs Matter?
There are lots of reasons why people choose to supplement with BCAAs. The following are some of the most common ones:
Increase Muscle Building
As you know from the information mentioned above, BCAA supplements are helpful for those who are trying to build muscle mass. This is because Leucine stimulates the process of muscle protein synthesis, which is the process the body uses to repair muscle damage, especially damage that occurs during workouts.
Reduce Muscle Soreness
In addition to helping repair muscle damage, BCAAs also minimize the damage that contributes to muscle soreness. If you train hard or train multiple times per day, BCAAs can reduce the soreness and stiffness you experience so you can perform at a high level during every training session.
Supplement Vegan and Vegetarian Diets
If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, BCAAs can be especially beneficial for you.
BCAAs and other essential amino acids are not always plentiful (at least not in sufficient quantities) in plant-based protein sources. Because of this, many plant-based proteins are considered incomplete proteins.
By supplementing with BCAAs, you can fill in gaps in your diet and ensure you’re getting enough of the amino acids you need to feel well and see results from your workouts.
Prevent Muscle Loss While Dieting
When you’re eating in a calorie deficit (i.e., eating less than your body burns), you may lose some muscle mass. This is especially likely if you’re doing intense workouts.
If you want to maintain muscle mass (or even add a bit) while also trying to get lean, BCAAs can help. They provide the amino acids you need to support muscle repair and prevent potential losses.
How Much BCAA to Take a Day?
The minimum recommendation for BCAAs is 9g (0.31 ounces) for women and 12g (0.42 ounces) for men.
Most BCAA supplements contain about 7g (0.24 ounces) of BCAAs per serving. This serving, combined with additional BCAAs that you get from food, should be enough to help most people meet or exceed these recommendations.
Depending on your personal circumstances, though, you may benefit from a larger serving of BCAAs. If you are vegan or vegetarian and don’t get enough Branched-Chain Amino Acids (or other Essential Amino Acids) from your diet, extra supplementation with BCAAs may work in your favor.
Is it possible to take too many BCAAs? Possibly.
In general, most research suggests that people can take up to 35g (1.23 ounces) of BCAAs per day safely. This is considered a cautious estimate.
How Often Should I Take BCAA Supplements?
You can safely take BCAAs on a daily basis. If you’re using a BCAA supplement to reach your goals and experience the benefits outlined above, taking them daily will likely help you to see the best results.
Your body uses BCAAs to carry out a variety of functions, including muscle repair and muscle building. Regular supplementation will help you to maintain appropriate levels and avoid potential muscle loss or amino acid deficiencies.
If you don’t want to take BCAA supplements every day, at a minimum, try to take them on days when you exercise. This is especially helpful if you’re using them for performance-related benefits, such as increased energy while training.
When Do You Take BCAA Supplements for Best Results?
Technically, you can take BCAA supplements at any time. Most people prefer to take them before a workout, though.
Taking BCAAs before training will help you to enjoy more energy and stamina while exercising. They can also help to prevent muscle breakdown during your workouts.
If you’re going to take BCAAs before your workout, aim to do so about 15-30 minutes before you start training. This gives your supplement time to kick in and help you see the best results. Add them to your pre-workout drink, or consider using a pre-workout supplement that already contains BCAAs to make the process even easier.
Before you start taking BCAAs, either before your workout or at any other time of day, be sure to check the label and see whether or not your supplement contains caffeine.
BCAAs with caffeine are great options for those who want to enjoy extra energy while training. If you take them in the afternoon or evening, though, they could cause sleep interruptions later.
Tips for Choosing BCAA Supplements
Timing is important when using BCAAs. If you want to see the best results, though, make sure you’re also using a high-quality BCAA product. Here are some tips to help you choose the best option for your needs:
Look at the Ingredient List
Of course, your BCAA supplement will contain Branched-Chain Amino Acids.
What other ingredients are included in it, though? Does it contain caffeine? What about sugar or potential allergens like gluten?
Always check the ingredients list to ensure you’re not taking in anything you don’t want to consume.
Check the Serving Size and Dosing
How many grams of BCAAs are you getting in each serving of your BCAA supplement? What constitutes a serving (one scoop, two scoops, etc.) of this particular product?
Learning the answers to these questions will help you to avoid taking in too much or too little.
Before trying any supplement, including BCAAs, it’s a good idea to read reviews.
This helps you to get a sense of what other people have experienced after taking it. You can find out if people are generally pleased with a specific product and see if they would recommend it to others.
Finally, if you’re a competitive athlete, you might want to consider choosing a BCAA supplement that is banned substance tested and Informed-Choice certified. This can give you peace of mind and help you feel confident that you’re not consuming anything that could get you disqualified.
Get Your BCAA Supplements Today
Now that you know more about BCAAs and the best time to take them, do you need to shake up your current supplement regimen?
If so, keep the information outlined above in mind. It’ll help you maximize your routine so you can see the best results from your BCAAs.
Head to our shop today, too, so you can order high-quality, effective BCAA supplements that are designed to meet your needs. Whether you need BCAAs with Essential Amino Acids or BCAAs with an extra dose of energy, we’ve got something for you.