What are BCAAs? How do They Assist Performance? (And How Much Should I Take?)

If you want to train longer and harder, consider adding some branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) to your daily supplement stack.

There are three types of amino acids in a BCAA supplement — leucine, isoleucine and valine — but you don’t have to memorize those names. All you have to remember are two very important points:

  1. BCAAs make up an incredible 35% of your muscle mass. (1)

  1. Your body can’t make its own BCAAs, meaning the only way to get these essential nutrients is through food and supplements.

Because BCAAs make up such a big portion of your muscle size, and since you can’t make your own BCAAs, many people see significant results when they start supplementing with BCAAs.

Top 6 Reasons to Try BCAAs

  1. BCAAs help your muscles generate energy (2), meaning they can help you exercise longer and harder before becoming fatigued. One study (3) found that BCAA supplements reduced exercise fatigue by 15%.

  1. BCAAs improve how your body processes protein and specifically helps your body turn protein into muscle. (4)

  1. BCAAs help build muscle mass, with studies finding people who take these supplements grow bigger muscles faster. (5)

  1. BCAAs help stabilize your blood sugar, and encourages your body to burn sugar instead of muscle for energy when you’re exercising. (6)

  1. BCAAs can boost your weight loss and reduce your risks of becoming overweight by 30%. They can also specifically help you to burn body fat. (7)

  1. BCAAs improve your post-gym recovery and can even reduce muscle soreness by nearly 33%. (8)

How Much Should You Take?

Most studies done on BCAAs used supplement doses of 10-20 grams of the amino acids every day.

In general, men should take at least 12 grams of BCAAs daily, while women should aim for a minimum threshold of 9 grams a day.

To maximize your fitness results, take your BCAA supplements either immediately before or immediately after you hit the gym to ensure your body is pumped full of BCAAs when your muscles need them most.

For more information as to when to take other supplements such as protein, omega-3, creatine, and more visit The Best Time to Supplement.

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