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Best BCAA Practices

Ask The Ripped Dude: Best BCAA Practices?

I've written more than 100 fitness articles that have been published all over the world. My goal is to help you get in the best shape possible.
Q

I've seen a lot of hype about BCAAs. What's the story? Do I really need this supplement or do I get enough with regular food?

Amino acids are the essential building blocks of protein. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are amino acids that have a special branched structure, hence the name branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs are not just hype! BCAAs are important because they're metabolized in the muscles instead of the liver like other amino acids. As a result, they can then be used as energy or to make new proteins. BCAAs make up about a third of the skeletal muscle in the body.

BCAAs are three of the eight essential amino acids (EAAs). Essential means that your body can't synthesize these aminos, so you must get them from food. Red meat and dairy are particularly good sources of BCAAs, but you can also get them in chicken and turkey. Whey protein is a rich BCAA source.

Supplementing BCAAs

Free-form BCAAs are great because they're almost instantaneously digested and sent into your bloodstream. Taking a BCAA supplement before, during, and after you train is important because BCAAs can help prevent muscle breakdown. If you plan on doing hardcore endurance training, experts recommend using BCAAs to help you maintain energy and minimize protein breakdown. Replacing lost BCAAs-usually 10 grams pre- and post-workout-also helps keep your body anabolic, which is important whether you're slimming or bulking.

If you're in the habit of taking a whey protein shake before and after you train, you can forego the BCAA cocktail, or take them during your workout. If you're on a calorie-deficit program however, protein turnover increases; BCAAs are an (almost) calorie-free way to regulate your protein synthesis, so help yourself to multiple servings throughout the day.

Leucine

While we're on the subject of BCAAs, I have to do a special promotion for leucine. Leucine is one of the key igniters of protein synthesis; it may also help stimulate insulin production, and modulate blood sugar. Make sure you check the label of your BCAA supp for high leucine content.

Bottom Line

BCAAs are one of those supplement categories which lives up to the hype. No matter what, you still need to train hard and eat smart to achieve great results, but BCAAs can give you that final added edge.

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About The Author

Known as ''The World Most Ripped Fitness Model,'' he's very passionate about educating people all over the world about health and fitness.

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Joedzilla

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Joedzilla

Yup, once i add this supplement to my list my results where improved, thanks for the explanation.

Oct 19, 2012 7:45am | report
 
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Tremayn

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Tremayn

So I guess if you have around 3 servings of Whey per day that should be enough?

Oct 19, 2012 9:50am | report
 
hockeyaddict13

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hockeyaddict13

it really depends on the amount of BCAAs per serving. if your whey contains, lets say, 5 grams of BCAAs then its plenty

Nov 6, 2012 11:01am | report
cldillmann1

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cldillmann1

a diverse diet will provide all the BCAA's you need to provide for muscle growth. This is of course when bulking. The only time i find a BCAA supplement necessary is when i am in a severe defecit and was not getting the required amount per the food i was eating. Now i do not need them even on a cut as i cut around 3k Cals. though, if you are one of those people that cannot burn as many cals you may need them to supplement if you are in a defecit eating around 1500 Cals. Though if you are hitting your protein macros BCAA supplement would be pointless no matter what calories you cut at.

Oct 19, 2012 1:40pm | report
 
obadike1

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obadike1

You are right cldillmann1 that a diverse diet can encompass your BCAA daily supplementation.It's in many of the protein whole food sources.

Oct 19, 2012 3:00pm | report
 
prk93

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prk93

which is the best BCAA to take up in my supplement rack??

Apr 22, 2013 3:52am | report
obadike1

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obadike1

Tremayn one to two scoops of Whey protein per day should be plenty enough!

Oct 19, 2012 3:11pm | report
 
89rino

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89rino

They gave a great advantage to me

Oct 19, 2012 3:46pm | report
 
Escalade003

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Escalade003

Can you suggest a good brand of BCAA that I could simply mix in with my post Whey shake? I've tried BSN before but they suggest waiting 30 mins before eating or having a shake after consumption. I'd rather just get it all in at once.

Oct 19, 2012 4:26pm | report
 
cldillmann1

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cldillmann1

you shouldn't need one. Look at your protein profile you are eating. You already said you take whey. There are already plenty of BCAAs in there. Odds are you do not need a supp. If you do end up wanting one you can do the BSN intra workout 20 min prior to end of Work out. Or take some Caps like Optimum Nutrition or Muscle Pharm. If your diet is on point there should be no issue getting your BCAAs from the foods you eat though.

Oct 19, 2012 6:12pm | report
Escalade003

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Escalade003

Thanks cldillmann1! I'll be sure to check out the Whey I'm taking and see what the BCAA profile is. I'm pretty sure I have my diet on point but you know always looking for that extra edge. Thanks agian for the info. I have been using the BSN BCAA's for when I wake up in the AM and do fasted cardio. I figure it should protect the lean muscle mass. That and a scoop before bed but I've pretty much dropped the idea of taking them pre and post workout as I do a whey shake. Your info has helped ease my mind on that being an OK thing.

Oct 22, 2012 2:23pm | report
deloachrd

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deloachrd

I sip on BCAAs about 30 mins into my workouts. It makes a huge difference for me. Helps keep me a good training level longer.

Oct 20, 2012 8:57pm | report
 
1mrsteve88

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1mrsteve88

I take BCAA's in the AM after my prtein shake along with my multi-vitamin, calcium, and fish oil. BCAA's seem to help sculpt/repair, and I try to take glutamine 30 min before and after workouts along with Protein

Nov 2, 2012 10:24am | report
 
Robstar11

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Robstar11

Thanks for the article! I am confused though when you say that "BCAAs are three of the eight essential amino acids (EAAs). Essential means that your body can't synthesize these aminos, so you must get them from food"

Then you go on to say that taking a BCAA supplement is important before and after a workout. If these BCAA's can't be synthesized and can only be attained through food then why would you take a supplement?

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Nov 5, 2012 6:47pm | report
 
RPullen

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RPullen

He is saying that these have to be found in food or supplements.

Nov 7, 2012 12:10pm | report
Robstar11

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Robstar11

RPullen, I'm not trying to be a jerk but read your answer. Where else would you get it from other then food or supplements? The air we breath?

Nov 14, 2012 7:56am | report
TaoistTbird

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TaoistTbird

Essential - cannot be made by the body, if you did no tget them from food you could not get them

Non-essential - the body can make them, in other words can synthesize them from other sources. Even if they aren't in your food your body will figure out a way to manufacture them.

Hope that simple explanation helps clear things up - otherwise you might just want to wikipedia it - it is just basic biochemistry...

Jan 31, 2013 11:17am | report
hockeyaddict13

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hockeyaddict13

with my whey, preworkout, and bcaa supplement im getting about 20 grams of bcaas. normally, i have a workout and then hockey for 2 hours. Am i consuming too much?

Nov 6, 2012 11:05am | report
 
jma1

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jma1

for best results, I use one dose before training and one after training

Nov 6, 2012 2:43pm | report
 
trentlittle

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trentlittle

Great info, thanks

Nov 15, 2012 5:34am | report
 
fitnina

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fitnina

i would like to know is it normal that the BCAA 100% our unflavoured from dymatize nutrition , to have very bad smell and bitter taste ! it make me feel sick by even smell it !

Nov 20, 2012 1:35pm | report
 
garret1978

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garret1978

I don't think that's normal. I would take it back if I were you. Try this one - http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/musclemeds/amino-decanate.html

It's the best I have ever used.

Nov 30, 2012 4:07pm | report
garret1978

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garret1978

at what point during the workout would you recommend taking BCAA's?

Nov 30, 2012 4:00pm | report
 
kaseypelchy1989

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kaseypelchy1989

I am taking a BCAA supplement and it is saying that I should take 5 capsules pre workout and post. but to me that sounds like a lot. is this true? Per serving I will be putting in 5,005mg of BCAAs into my body. So 10, 010mg per day.

Jan 1, 2013 1:00pm | report
 
Gazz2013

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Gazz2013

Hi Guys' I have been using a BCAA during my workouts now and have found my energy and recovery much better given my age that really helps, cheers

Jan 2, 2013 8:15pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 39 Comments

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