What is the best time to take BCAA?
BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids. This is a very popular and widely used supplementation in the fitness and professional athletic industry. BCAA is normally consumed as a pre-workout supplement but it can also be used on other times of the day. Its usage is highly dependent on the need of the individual who is consuming it.
Everything worth knowing about BCAA
The primary purpose for which the BCAA have been designed is to build body mass (as much as possible). This supplement is also considered to be a wonderful option for people who are looking for ways to burn fat whilst keeping the body muscle intact. There is a lot that is said and done regarding the BCAA supplementation. We think it is best to have ample knowledge about the drug beforehand so that you do not regret using it later onwards.
Also it is very important that we talk about many other things in relevance to BCAA – such as what it is, uses, side effects, limitations and of course, what is the best way and best time to take BCAA? Let’s find out all about branched chain amino acids in this blog ahead.
An insight into Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
There are a total of 9 amino acids out of which 3 are branched in molecular structure. These 3 interconnect amino acids are known as the branched chain amino acids and are named; valine, isoleucine and leucine respectively. The human muscle is made of a combination of amino acids and the BCAA make up more than thirty five percent of the muscle fiber.
Branched chain amino acids are consumed by the body from the muscles as a primary source of energy when the body is put into a physically exhausting state. Hence, athletes or fitness enthusiasts burn a lot of BCAAs when they engage in vigorous physical workouts. This can result in muscle loss because the BCAA are being consumed from the muscle and your muscle cannot sustain on its own without it. This is when the intake of an external source of BCAA can be hugely helpful because the muscle mass will be protected by such a supplementation usage. Out of the three branched chain amino acids, leucine is best known for promoting protein build up. Click here to view BCAA products.
Preventing the body to enter a catabolic state
As we all known already so far, BCAA are branched chain amino acids that help the body to retain and build up body muscle. Losing weight or the process of weight loss pushes the body into a catabolic condition where your body begins to lose fat tissues as well as muscle tissues as well. You can’t control what kind of tissue your body burns when it is in a particular state.
Why does the body become catabolic?
The primary reason for this to happen is that when you put your body in a state where it is supposed to burn fat (as a result of restricted calorie intake) you greatly restrict the amount of fat your consume. Therefore, during the process of weight loss your body begins to rely on muscle as primary source of energy. In such a case, you have to rely on some outer drug or supplement that will help your body to reach an anabolic condition where you burn fat tissue after restricting calorie intake but no harm is brought to your body muscle.
Protect muscle damage and loss during fat burning process
During the process of weight loss, it is important that you push your body in a state where you begin to gain or at least retain muscle instead of losing it. This is a time when fat loss happens simultaneously with protein synthesis i.e. muscle buildup rather than muscle loss. If this is the case, your body will continue to lose weight at the same rate but the body mass will remain intact or will build up. However, all of this is achievable through the aid of a synthetic supplement and this is basically the job of BCAA.
Primary role of BCAA
- The primary role of BCAA is to felicitate muscle growth in the body. It aims to do so simultaneously with your body in the mode of fat burning.
- Another pivotal role that BCAA plays is to fuel the body and therefore, helps greatly in fighting physical exertion. It acts as a great source of energy.
- BCAA are often tagged as the ‘amazing wonder amino’ because they build muscle, burn fat and keep you feeling energized through it all as well!
Can everybody use BCAA supplement?
A huge question that can prevail regarding BCAA consumption is whether it is suitable for everyone to consume it or not? There are many factors that could possible hinder its consumption such as gender and age. Also, it is important to explore whether you can build body muscle whilst you are trying to lose fat weight. You cannot be struggling for weight loss while taking a BCAA supplement only to find out later that it restricts the rate at which your body fat burns.
BCAA works for professionals and non-professionals alike
You do not need to be a professional athlete or fitness enthusiast in order to consume the BCAA supplement. Anyone who workouts in the gym and aims to get into shape or build body muscle needs to aid the process too. BCAA works for everyone alike; professionals and non-professionals. There is no discrimination in its efficiency for its users.
Its primary role stays unified
It basically helps in incorporating higher levels of energy to your workout regime. With daily use of the BCAA supplement, you build muscle and feel energized whilst burning body fat at the same time.
The one thing that needs to be widely known and understood about BCAA usage is that there is no age restriction when it comes to its consumption. In fact, several studies reveal that people who actually begin to age and most particularly individuals aged 35 years and above benefit maximum from BCAA supplement. This does not rule out its benefits for the younger athletes and fitness enthusiasts. BCAAs work with equal efficacy for the younger people in retaining and building muscle as for the older group of people.
Timing is crucial for BCAA efficacy
When we talk about consumption of BCAA, it is pivotal to remember that its efficacy is definitely determined by the timing. The type of diet plan the person is following will also have a significant impact on how BCAA consumption works for people. In most cases, BCAA works best for people who use it as a pre-workout supplement. It is known to better fuel your muscles and provide ample energy during the workout.
Why is timing so important for BCAA consumption?
It is often wondered why BCAA intake’s timing is held to be so crucial and it cannot be used at just any hour of the day like other supplements. With other supplements, the main idea is to just put in into your system and the hour rarely matters. However, this is strictly NOT the case for branched chain amino acids because its efficiency depends on timing.
BCAA is an amino acid that is naturally found in the human muscle as well. So it has to work in coordination with other nutrients and elements in your body. Therefore, stress upon the timing is repeatedly laid because this is the only way your body will be able to create a a positive nitrogen balance inside. However, the timing does not always have to be one specific hour out of the entire day and if you miss it, you are doomed. The timing can vary according to the aim you are striving to achieve. Using it as a pre-workout, for instance, will help you prevent burning up muscle during workout as a primary source of energy. Similarly, when taken post-workout, it will give your muscle the support it needs for recovery and muscle growth through activating the muscle protein synthesis system.
Best times to take BCAA may vary
The maximum efficiency of branched chain amino acids highly depends on the time of the day that you consume it. So yes, there is definitely a ‘best time’ to use this supplement. Even though you have heard that it is best when used as a pre-workout supplement, this does not rule out other times of the day when it will be highly effective too. If we break it down further, there are actually three times in a day that can be considered ideal for using the BCAA supplement.
Time 1: Early morning (right after your wakeup)
So right after when you wake up, this is a time when your body is naturally shoved into a state where you are losing muscle. As tragic as it might sound, it is true. The moment you wake up, your body begins to break down muscle but it eventually begins to cease throughout the rest of the day; basically starting from the time you take your first meal in the morning. Why is it so? Your body is in a state of fasting throughout the night (speaking for an average sleep cycle of 8 hours). Individuals who are trying to build muscle can benefit from this time the best. Taking BCAA on an empty stomach from the moment you wake up will help you greatly in bulking up.
- There are several long-term benefits that are associated with consuming BCAA on an empty stomach the first thing in the morning.
- It promotes muscle growth and mass building in the body. So yes, the first notable benefit is muscle growth which BCAA successfully aids at a high rate when consumed on an empty stomach.
- Another notable benefit of taking BCAA on an empty stomach is that it suppresses your appetite. You feel less hungry throughout the day when you take it before your very first meal of the day in the early morning.
Lesser known long-term benefit of BCAA consumption on an empty stomach is improved mental health. Several studies suggest that taking BCAA in the morning will help to enhance your mental cognitive functions.
Now it is very important to note here that even though taking BCAA in the morning is all good things, you always need to watch the dosage. The ideal dose of BCAA in the morning is 5 to 10 grams. So let’s just say, any amount between minimally 5 to maximum 10 grams will work.
Time 2: Pre-workout
One of the most gruesome times that your body can go through is during the workout. Hence, you need to prepare your body to deal with the trauma of vigorous physical workout before you put it through the torture. It is important to give your body the proper nutrition to ensure that you can perform efficiently as well. How many times have you heard that BCAA is best used as a pre-workout? We are sure many. Using BCAA supplement before workout is widely categorized as the ultimate ‘best’ time of doing so. Click here to view pre workouts.
The purpose of using BCAA supplement before your workout is to ensure that the body muscle is not consumed as energy during workout. When you exercise, your body needs an added source of fuel in addition to fat that will aid it. The muscle is hence, broken down during this time to provide energy to the body. This can result in serious muscle loss and when you are aiming to build muscle, this is not ideal. Hence, using BCAA as a pre-workout supplement will work best because it protects the muscle from being harmed as it aids the body throughout the exercise process as an energy source.
The ideal dosage is again minimally 5 grams and maximum10 grams. However, depending on the amount of time you are going to exercise, type of exercise you will engage in and your body type as well. If needed, the dosage can be increased to 15 or even 18 grams but only under strict expert supervision.
Time 3: Post-workout
Just like pre-workout support, your body needs a lot of post-workout support as well. Your body needs to give the muscles time to recover from the stress and trauma after working out or else this would harm the muscle and also lessen recovery time. Hence this is regarded as another wonderful time to take BCAA which has a great effect on activating muscle protein synthesis which in turn results in muscle growth and repair at a faster rate.
The purpose of taking BCAA post-workout is to make sure you provide help to your muscles to recover from the trauma and stress of physical exertion.
You are aiming to take BCAA supplement to help your body muscle repair and recover from damage. Hence, 5-10 grams of BCAA supplement is ideal. This limit should not be exceeded in ideal case.
Can you take BCAA three times a day?
As we saw above, there are basically three times in a day that are considered to be ideal to take BCAA supplement; early morning, right before the work out and right after the work out. You have the liberty to choose the time as per your convenience. But this can also make you wonder whether you can take BCAA supplement multiple times in a day? Since there are three times that are suitable, may be you can take it three times in a day. Sadly, this is not the case.
Your body has many other nutrients and compounds doing their job as well. BCAA are also only three of the 9 amino acids. So the remaining 6 are definitely inside your body, doing their own thing. Hence, you need to introduce only limited amounts of BCAA to your body to ensure maximum results with good health. So it is best if you stick to using BCAA only one time in a day. It depends on you at what time you choose to consume it.
Ideal daily dosage
The ideal dosage is 5 to 10 grams. It is repeatedly stressed that you should stay within this limit when you are using it. Exceeding this dosage can have adverse effects. If you really want to push the envelope so far, you should always ask for an expert guidance in such a case.
Can you take BCAA on rest days?
Rest days are an essential part of your weekly workout regime, without them your muscles do not have to grow and repair. Taking BCAA on rest days is a great way to help speed up that muscle growth and recovery and preventing the body from going in to a state of catabolism. The dosage on rest days can be smaller than the usual recommend as the muscles aren’t actively working, we would recommend 3-5g twice a day.