Can you really use BCAAs for recovery?
Let’s take a look at the science and how you can use them to boost your results.
The branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine are famously used as an intra-workout supplement, helping to boost energy and performance while alleviating fatigue.
The benefits of BCAAs continue as you walk out of the weight room as studies have found the supplement to be ideal for recovery.
In this article we’re going to look at:
3 Benefits of BCAAs for Recovery
BCAAs are the building blocks of muscle tissue, making them an ideal nutrient source for recovery after a tough workout or athletic event.
1: Protein Synthesis
BCAAs are renowned in the fitness supplement world as a proven way to promote protein synthesis  or the creation of muscle protein, a necessary component for lean tissue growth.
Taken before bed, BCAAs might support the release of growth hormone, an essential hormone for muscle recovery.
2: More Growth, Less Breakdown
Through elevated levels of protein synthesis, BCAAs can encourage growth while minimizing the risk for protein breakdown.
Studies show that BCAA supplementation, especially leucine, can elevate levels of protein synthesis, which contribute to muscle growth .
On the flip side, BCAA supplements have been shown to protect muscle tissue from breakdown .
Due to natural aging or disease, muscle tissue begins to breakdown.
BCAA supplements can prevent this breakdown, especially when combined with a resistance training program.
3: Reduce Muscle Soreness
One of the most common reasons that people skip the gym is muscle soreness.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness occurs a day or two after your workout and depending on the severity, it can limit your range of motion and ability to exercise.
BCAAs have been found to alleviate muscle soreness  helping you to get back in the gym faster.
When to Take BCAAs for Recovery
If you want to eliminate muscle soreness and boost results, here are the best times to take BCAAs for recovery.
1: Before Your Workout
Most pre-workout supplements will contain a 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs because they have been shown to reduce exercise fatigue.
Taking BCAAs before your workout improves your workout performance while helping you get a head start on your recovery.
2: During Your Workout
Drinking a BCAA-loaded shake during your workout can reduce the risk for protein breakdown, especially if you’re training in a fasted state.
The reason I don’t recommend taking a BCAA supplement after your workout is because whey protein has been found to be much more effective at supporting recovery post-workout.
3: Before Bed
The last serving of your BCAA supplement should be used just before you get some shut eye.
BCAAs are a low-calorie option – ideal when you want to build muscle and burn fat at the same time – that can help to support protein synthesis and growth hormone production as you sleep.
With that said, BCAAs for recovery before bed is not for everyone.
Some users report that one of the side effects of BCAAs is an impact on sleep.
While the lack of sleep could be from a number of things such as caffeine or artificial ingredients inside of that particular brand of BCAAs, I’d recommend taking half a serving before bed to see how your body reacts.
Taking BCAAs for recovery is helpful for maximizing results; however, be sure not to exceed 20 grams per day of supplemental BCAAs.