By Dr Joe
How much BCAAs should I take pre-workout is a valid question. BCAAs are becoming very popular amongst weight loss enthusiasts and in particular body builders. A lot of people now wish to integrate BCAAs into their workout routine.
And with the rise in popularity, questions like ‘how much of the bcaas should you take before workout’ arise often. I will give you the answer for both daily and pre-workout doses shortly. Keep reading. BCAA questions answered on this page include:
How much bcaa should you take pre-workout
How much BCAAs should you take a day
How often can you take bcaa
Why is it essential to take BCAAs around workout
When to take BCAAs
Who should take BCAAs
Generally speaking, if you want to use bcaas, it is recommended that you use between 5 – 20 gm of BCAAs per day.
It is also a good idea to split the bcaa dose up. I prefer to have the BCAAs around the workout period, because that’s when you really need it.
So, my preference is to use the BCAAs just before the workout and if I am in the mood after workout as well.
So how much bcaa should I take pre-workout?
Here is your answer to how much bcaa you need pre-workout. 10 gm of BCAA is ideal before workout. You may wish to take another 5 gm of BCAA after workout if you feel like it.
If you are incorporating intermittent fasting, here is a regime that I like. You break your fast with your bcaa supplement and that would be your pre-workout bcaa. You then do your workout, usually resistance training and follow your workout with your first meal of the day. Awesome!
Using that regime will enable you see fat loss results quicker whilst preserving your muscle mass at the same time.
See suggested schedule below:
10:45 AM -11 AM 15 minutes pre-workout. Take 10 gm BCAA supplement
11 AM – 12 Noon – Your Training hour
12 Noon – After-workout meal
3 PM – 2nd meal of the day
8 PM – Last meal of the day. Fasting begins hereon
That schedule is based on 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol. This means you fast for 16 hours and compress your eating window during the day into just 8 hours.
As you can see from that schedule, you will have 3 meals in those 8 hours. If you want to have only 2 meals, that is also fine. What’s important is that you have a good 16 hours of food-free period in a 24-hour day.
This allows your body to rest and reduces your circulating insulin levels. Low insulin levels promote fat loss.
When you then take your pre-workout bcaa, followed by your moderate intensity workout, you will be accelerating your fat loss but more importantly preserving your muscle mass.
How much BCAAs should you take a day?
Wondering how much bcaa can you take a day? Most people who use bcaas will require about 5 – 20 gm of bcaa a day.The dose of daily bcaa is highly dependent on the type of exercise routine you engage in.
Obviously the more intense your workout is, the higher the dose of bcaa you need per day.
If you doing workouts where you solicit sustained muscle contractions like push-ups, pull-ups, weight lifting especially heavier weights and other forms of resistance training, your daily bcaa requirement will be in the 20 gms a day range. The more intense the workout, the higher the dose of bcaa. See pros and cons of BCAAs.
If you are not working out intensely or your exercise regimen is mainly aerobics, then you won’t need more than 10 gm of bcaa a day.
You can access that BCAA above from Amazon.com here
You can access that BCAA from Amazon.co.uk here
How often can you take bcaa?
How to dose bcaa can be an issue for some people but it needn’t be. It really doesn’t matter how often you take your bcaa. Your bcaa will still work regardless.
But generally speaking, I will advise you take your bcaa once or twice a day. You do not need to split up the dose any further than twice a day. Why would you?
It also makes sense that when you are trying to dose up your bcaa, you should be looking to have your bcaa around the time of your workout. I prefer a bcaa dosing around the workout period on a pre-workout and after-workout basis.
Why is this?
Because the workout event is when you really need those essential amino acids in your bcaa supplements to provide you with those muscle protection, muscle repairing and exercise endurance benefits.
Why is it essential to take BCAAs around workout?
BCAA (branched chain amino acids) are essential amino acids that must be provided by you because your body is incapable of making them.
You have to make them available to your body usually via nutrition, otherwise your body will be starved of those BCAAs.
I should add at this point that you don’t have to take BCAA supplements if you are getting adequate protein in your diet. A high protein diet will usually source those 3 amino acids that constitute BCAA i.e isoleucine, leucine and valine, for you.
However, if you choose to have more amino acids by using bcaa supplements, you will be doing your body a huge favour as the amino acids in bcaa supplements avoid the 1st-pass metabolism that takes place in the liver after absorption from the stomach.
The amino acids in the BCAA head straight for the target tissues where they are needed.
For someone who is looking to lose fat, one problem is that weight loss does result in muscle loss too. This is one downside of weight loss as muscle is one of the most metabolically active tissue in the body. You need muscle. Plenty of it!
You want to lose the fat but you also don’t want to lose the muscle you already have. BCAA supplement will help ensure this loss of muscle tissue does not happen.
The amino acids in BCAA supplements are essential to protein metabolism. I should repeat myself again, it is the 3 amino acids (valine, leucine and isoleucine) that are needed for the protein metabolism. It doesn’t matter how you source them – from food or from supplements. Just so long as you provide your body with these essential amino acids, they will do the job.
Taking bcaas does have some other benefits apart from protecting you from losing your muscle mass. I talk more about why you should use bcaas here.
- Additional benefits of using bcaa supplements include:Reducing muscle soreness after exercise
- Stops muscle damage
- Promotes muscle repair
- Promotes protein synthesis
- Increases exercise endurance
- Indirectly promotes muscle gain
When to take BCAAs?
If you are wondering when you should take BCAA powder or bcaa pill, this research does throw some light on when to use bcaa.
Indeed, you can take your BCAA supplement any time you wish but as you can see from that research, if protein synthesis is something that you are after, then the best time to take your bcaa powder or bcaa pill is before your workout.
Net muscle protein synthesis is greater when bcaa pill or powder is taken before workout than after workout.
If you want to be clever, you can split the dose up. Take 10 gm of bcaa before workout and may be take another 5 gm after workout. That way you may just have replenished all of the bcaa you took before workout if all or most of the pre-workout BCAA got catabolised during moderate to intense workout sessions.
Who should take BCAAs?
I get asked often; who really should take bcaas? And my answer usually is; anyone can take bcaas, but I wouldn’t want to suggest bcaa supplements should be abused by all and sundry. Not at all.
There are people for whom taking bcaa supplements would be a good thing, given their peculiar circumstances and I have crystallized some of the categories of people needing bcaas as finely as possible below.
The people in the categories listed below may or can use bcaas:
- Anyone who wants to shed fat
- Anyone doing any form of calorie-restriction dieting
- Anyone involved in resistance training
- Anyone involved in weight training
- Anyone who wants to preserve muscle
- Anyone who wants to build muscle
- Anyone whose diet is deficient in protein
- Survivalists who embark on long sojourns into the wild
- Anyone who wishes to augment their dietary protein intake
- Anyone preparing for a bodybuilding contest
- Anyone involved in serious sports and exercise routine both competitively and non-competitively
That list is not exhaustive. The only thing to bear in mind is bcaa supplements are amino acids in a pill format or amino acids in a powder form.
Taking them is one way of boosting your protein intake. It is not the only way. Protein supply through diet is always best, but it doesn’t hurt you to use them.
Suggested further reading:
Why YOU can’t seem to Get Your IDEAL Body