Everything You Need To Know About BCAAS
Post at 17:39 - 10/04/2018

Do they really spur muscle growth? Here are the facts on the bulking supplement


“You’re not taking your BCAAs?”

Maybe you’ve heard some variation of this phrase tossed around the weight room. Heck, maybe you’ve even popped a BCAAs supplement without really knowing the ABCs of BCAAs. 

So let's break it down for you.

First off, BCAAs stands for “Branched Chain Amino Acids.” Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are nine essential amino acids in total, but there’s a key trio that helps you maintain muscle: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

Of these three, leucine is the muscle-building powerhouse. To unlock the full effects of leucine, the latest research suggests consuming two to three grams a sitting, at least three times during the day.

You’ll find that sweet spot of two to three grams leucine in one scoop of whey protein (of which about 25% is from BCAAs), one cup of cottage cheese, or three ounces of chicken breast.

In fact, any animal protein has the leucine, isoleucine, and valine you need – in doses that are actually doable. Basically, if you’re eating real food, you don’t have to shell out for expensive BCAA supplements.


“Bottom line: if you’re taking in adequate protein, then BCAAs are a complete waste of money,” says protein researcher, Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., of McMaster University.

It’s not that taking more will hurt you, it’s just that those added aminos may not help you build any more muscle. In fact, one study in the journal Amino Acids (yes, there’s actually a research journal named that) stated that the additional supplementation of leucine, one of the BCAAs, taken before and during anaerobic running, did not improve exercise performance.

On the flip, one study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that individuals were able to maintain lean body mass when supplementing with BCAAs during a calorie-restricted diet.

So, these study participants weren’t eating the recommended two to three grams of BCAAs per sitting in their low-calorie diet, but when they took BCAA supplements, it helped them retain muscle. And that’s hard to do when you’re trying to drastically slim down.

The final verdict? It’s not that BCAA supplements have no merit. You should take them if you’re not getting enough in your daily diet. But when you eat two to three grams of leucine from food sources at least three times a day, you don’t need them.

50 Ways to Get Stronger Now

Getting strong doesn’t mean loading on the plates as much as possible with every single workout. There are far smarter ways to build muscle faster and work up a ...

How to Get the V-shape, Fast

To sculpt your body into the coveted V-shape, the first step is to create the illusion that your waist is smaller. How? By making your upper body ...

How to Build a Bigger Chest in 28 Days

Aimless repping no longer cuts it. If you want a bigger chest you need to get scientific with your gym time. Alternate between our two lab-tested ...

How Running Makes You Happy

74% of runners say pavement-pounding has improved their mental health. Here’s how it works

Do This Exercise to Get Thick, Powerful Arms

Most guys who want bigger arms—which is to say, most guys—take an annoyingly binary approach to building bigger arms. In this view, there’s triceps training, and then ...

Build Shoulder Size Like The Rock

Employ this workout on your next shoulders day to add serious mass to your delts

How To Get A Six-Pack In Four Weeks

This workout can get you the body you want in under a month

7 Weightloss Strategies That Actually Worked For Real People

Losing weight is hard. Sometimes, the best form of inspiration is hearing what actually worked for other people with the same goal.
View more View more