What You Need to Know About BCAA & Pre-Workout Supplements
Whether you are are a fitness enthusiast or a hardcore athlete, chances are you already heard about BCAA and Pre Workout Supplements. You probably already heard about the wonders that they can do to your body, especially when combined with your workout routine.
What makes them a cut from the rest?
What Are BCAAs?
BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids are supplements that are usually taken by highly trained athletes as well as your average fitness enthusiast. They are composed of the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are called “essential” because the body needs them, and yet the body cannot manufacture them by itself, unlike the other “non-essential” amino acids.
Let’s get to know each one more.
Leucine. Considered as the “main” amino acid among the three BCAAs, leucine plays a crucial role in protein synthesis. It is useful in promoting muscle gains for people who take it regularly, whether from supplements or food.
Isoleucine. This one also helps with muscle protein synthesis, but not as strong as leucine. However, this BCAA is known effective in regulating glucose cell uptake and in supplying energy that is used during exercise.
Valine. This BCAA plays a role in stimulating the central nervous system and helps in regulating proper mental function. It also aids in preventing the breakdown of muscles and plays a role in removing the potentially toxic excess nitrogen from the liver.
Benefits of Taking BCAA
Collectively, taking BCAA supplements provide the following benefits:
Build more muscles and prevent muscle tearing while exercising.
BCAAs’ vital role in muscle protein synthesis and suppressing muscle breakdown make it beneficial in muscle building. It also alleviates muscle soreness caused by inflammation and strain during exercise.
Provide energy source and reduce fatigue, providing the stamina and endurance for extended exercise.
When glucose is already low in your body, BCAA can serve as the alternative energy source to keep you going. It also minimizes the entry of tryptophan into the brain. Tryptophan plays a role in making serotonin, thus causing fatigue during exercise.
Boost your immunity.
Strenuous activities such as prolonged exercising can lead to reduced body resistance to disease. This is due to the reduced level of amino acid glutamine in the body, the amino acid that fuels immune cells. Good thing, BCAAs can be converted into glutamine that improves immunity.
Recommended Dosage of BCAAs
These supplements are available in capsule form or in powder that you can mix with liquid drinks. The usual ratio of the three branched-chain amino acids is 2:1:1 with leucine being double in content compared to the other two amino acids.
To ensure the effectiveness of this supplement, you will need to take at least 200mg of BCAA per kg of body weight daily, including those days when you don’t exercise. If your body weight is 75kg, for example, you will need 15,000mg or 1,500g of BCAA.
As for the best time to take it, studies show that its effectiveness remains the same whether you take it before or after exercise. Some athletes also take it during endurance activities such as running and cycling as it helps in combating mental fatigue.
Pre Workout Supplements
These supplements are usually a combination of different ingredients which make you perform at your best during exercise. Often you will find caffeine, Creatine, L-Theanine, and other amino acids among its components.
– Caffeine acts as a stimulant to boost energy levels.
– Creatine, on the other hand, provides muscle stamina and power.
– L-Theanine works hand in hand with caffeine by bringing a calm and focused state to help level off the stimulant effect of coffee.
– Amino acids, such as arginine and alanine, are known to combat neuromuscular fatigue and enhance athletic effectiveness.
Why Should You Take Pre Workout Supplements?
Altogether, their components will boost your exercise or training sessions by raising your energy levels, increasing your focus and extending stamina and power. It provides you with a level of motivation that is especially useful on some days when you need extra effort to get going.
Pre Workout Supplements are available in capsule, tablet, or powder form that you may mix with your regular drinks. They are usually already formulated with dosage varying from supplement to supplement.
You have to be cautious when it comes to caffeine. Generally, you should not take more than 400mg of the stimulant content per day, and the ideal dose is only 200mg per day. Too much caffeine can cause energy crash and jitters, which will ruin your exercise.
As for Creatine, you may take 5g daily. For better results, some suggest to take it for only 5-7 days, followed by a 7-day break before the next round of 5-7 days intake.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Should take BCAA or Pre Workout Supplements?
The answer lies with your goal.
If you want to boost your workout, then Pre Workout Supplements will be your best bet. But if you are already achieving your desired output in the gym, go for BCAA to preserve and build more muscles.
If you wish to take both, then you may do so, as this is the most recommended.
BCAAs and Pre Workout supplements complement each other. In some cases, BCAAs are one of the components in Pre Workout Supplements, combined with other ingredients that helps improve your physical and mental experience during a workout.
Together, these help you stay focused and energized during exercise and, at the same time, fuel your body to maintain and build more muscles.
Different supplements are available on the market, which can help you achieve your gym goals. Read more about recommended mass gainers and educate yourself about different products and their features. Check out supplement facts and highlights for an informed purchase.
It is also recommended that you talk to your doctor or nutritionist before making any changes in your diet and taking dietary supplements.
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Article written by Isaac Robertson. Co-Founder and Head Coach at Total Shape.