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When to take BCAAs?

When to take BCAAs?


In the world of fitness, something called BCAAs are gaining huge popularity. This supplement may be right for you, but it is best to discover what they are and how they can help you first. This article will cover the basics of BCAAs so you know more about how to use them. 

What are BCAAs?

BCAA stands for branched chain amino acid, and there are three types that your body relies on during workouts. Those three types are leucine, valine, and isoleucine. These act as a sort of fuel for your body when your typical energy stores are low.

This is specifically the case during workouts that are longer in duration or higher in intensity level. While BCAAs have a long list of benefits for your body, it is important to note that your body does not produce them on its own. They are only available in a supplement form or from your diet.

What are the Benefits of Taking BCAAs

BCAAs can help increase your endurance for a workout. They work after your other energy stores are depleted, so instead of heading home from the gym at that point, you can continue to power through your workout.

The fact that these supplements can help you get to the end of your workout means that they can also help you burn through more fat.

BCAAs can also help encourage muscles growing and repairing themselves after your workout, and it's possible that you may experience a decrease in soreness.

Lastly, the leucine contained in BCAAs interacts with leptin, which is a hunger hormone. BCAAs can potentially help suppress your appetite through this mechanism.

Should you take BCAAs
Before or After Workouts?

Benefits of Taking BCAAs Before a Workout

BCAAs are made of amino acids, which are the building blocks of the macronutrient protein. This means that eating them before your workout will decrease your hunger and provide your body with a fuel source to use for your workout.

You can get them from food sources like chicken breast, tuna, eggs, and greek yogurt, and it's important to consume either one of these food sources or a BCAA supplement about thirty minutes to an hour before your workout. Unless you are using a liquid supplement, the pills or food will need time to be absorbed into your body.

During your workout, you can expect things like increased energy, enhance endurance, and a higher caloric burn. These things are great especially if you are trying to cut fat or are looking for general weight loss. The leucine in your BCAA is also going to help balance your blood sugar level which can help you with feeling better overall and can help prevent any additional weight gain due to fat. 

Axis Labs has some more great background info about what BCAA's are and how they work. The graphics are a bit old school but the information is right on point:

Benefits of Taking BCAAs After a Workout

Taking a BCAA supplement or eating a BCAA rich food after your workout is primarily done in order to see larger muscle gains. During strength training workouts, and even sometimes during intense cardio sessions, your muscles tear. This may sound scary but it's actually very normal.

After your workout, these damaged muscles repair themselves and are left in bigger shape each time. The BCAAs have an impact during this process because they are able to help the healing process of those torn muscles go by quicker. You are also able to have decreased muscle soreness during this time.

In order to get your BCAAs in, you can opt for a supplement of some sort, or you can prepare yourself another meal of foods high in BCAAs. This should be consumed as early after your workout as possible in order for the BCAAs to get into your system and start working effectively.

Benefits of Taking BCAAs at Any Time

BCAAs can be taken before and after your workout, but they can also be taken during other time periods as well. For example, you can take them during your workout times. This may help if your workout is particularly long or if you are a bodybuilder working on cutting.

In addition, you can take a dose of BCAAs at bedtime. This is when your body naturally works to recover from the day, and the additional supplement can help make that process stronger.

Taking your BCAAs at other times of the day, besides when you are working out, can help you with weight loss and improve your energy levels. They can also help control your appetite and keep you on track with losing weight and getting in shape.

An additional note is that if you want to stick with food sources, don't think you have to chow down on just chicken and tuna all the time. There are plenty of non-animal sources of BCAAs, like quinoa, chickpeas, and nuts. These can easily be incorporated into a meal prep and allow you to feel the benefits of BCAAs.

Joe from has some more great info on when is the best time to take BCAAs:


As you can see, there is much more to BCAAs than meets the eye. They are a group of essential amino acids that your body can only get through the foods you eat or the supplements you take.

They can help fuel your workouts, promote fat loss, and increase your muscle building. You can have more endurance and less muscle soreness impeding your workout routines. They are ideally taken about an hour before your workout or about an hour after your workout in order to achieve great benefits. You can also take them during your workout if you feel you need a boost.

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