BCAAs or branched chain amino acids ar the building blocked of protein. They are essential for our body’s function and we get most of them through the food we eat. BCAAs are made up of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are great for maintaining muscle mass and really helpful when you workout on an empty stomach. BCAAs do this by stimulating muscle protein synthesis (MPS). You fuel your muscles almost instantly with BCAAs (since you don’t have to digest them like normal proteins you eat). I feel I can workout harder and longer with BCAAs. I wrote a long article on BCAAs here.
*** I am not affiliated with any of these links, I just included them to show you the full product page. I always suggest shopping around to find the best deal! Amazon is a great place to find some of these supplements as well. ***
Coach Wayne’s Favorite BCAAs
XtendMy favorite (and the ones I use the most) are Xtend from Scivation. You get a 7g dose of BCAAs with 3.5g of leucine. Leucine is the BCAA that is most important for getting muscle protein synthesis going. And 3.5g is a full dose! I also love that Xtend has an electrolyte blend and some glutamine. It is a really well-rounded supplement. Finally (and still important) it mixes really well and tastes great! I tend to mix some in my PWO if I am using it for that day and then put some in a water bottle to sip during my workout. I know other guys that use a scoop post workout for their recovery drink as well.
ON Amino EnergyThis is a little different since it’s not just BCAAs but essential aminos as well. It has 5g of amino acids from a wider source. They are in a proprietary blend, so it is hard to know how much leucine you get. So for strictly MPS, I would stick to pure BCAAs. But it really does work well. ON Amino Energy also has about 160g of caffeine, so it is a great replacement for a cup of coffee or an energy drink. You will definitely be getting more benefit than a Monster LOL It mixes great and has really good flavors too.
Muscle Feast BULK BCAAsMuscle Feast is a company I have mentioned before. Great, pure, and clean supplements. You can buy their BCAAs flavored or unflavored. I only have experience with the unflavored. MF’s blend is a 4:1:1 ratio. So 4 parts leucine to 1 of isoleucine and valine. This would mean in a 6g scoop, 4g would be leucine! These BCAAs are instantized too and mix well. If you don’t use some water bottle flavor pack, these taste super bland LOL but they are a bulk supplement. Mixed with some MIO or a little flavor pack, and they taste great! I mention these cause they are a great bulk option! (I would assume their flavored are good, I just haven’t had them).
Should You Use BCAAs?
That is dependent on your goals and budget. If BCAAs aren’t in the budget, I would pass. If you are eating at maintenance of a surplus, you could pass as well. I feel BCAAs strength lies in when you workout on an empty stomach and when you are on a calorie deficit. They will keep your muscles fueled and can kick start muscle protein synthesis fast post workout!
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