When To Take BCAAs – The 5 Best Times To Use BCAAs

Branched-chain amino acids are one of the best muscle-building and sports-recovery supplements. These building blocks of lean muscle tissue are a great way to support a variety of fitness goals. Given all of the benefits of BCAAs you might be wondering when is the best time to take BCAAs? Let’s take a look at the 5 best times of the day to take BCAAs and why:
  1. Pre-Workout
  2. During Your Workout
  3. Post-Workout
  4. Mid-Day
  5. Before Bed

#1 BCAAs Pre-Workout

Branched-chain amino acid supplements have been shown to be effective at supporting your energy levels and delaying muscle fatigue (1). Naturally, this makes them an ideal choice as a pre-workout supplement, especially when paired with stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine. BCAAs should be taken 30 minutes before an intense workout to help promote energy and prepare the muscles for the workload to follow.

#2 BCAAs During Your Workout

The average resistance training workout lasts longer than an hour, and if you’re like most people, you’ll notice a dip in energy levels at the halfway point. To keep those energy levels high and to prevent muscle catabolism (2) you’ll want to take BCAAs during your workout. Using BCAAs as an intra-workout supplement is especially important for those people who have an intense workout routine such as;
  • CrossFit
  • Olympic weight lifting
  • Intense weight training
  • Or high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are great examples.
BCAAs can help to prevent protein breakdown and overtraining during these tough workouts. What’s more, if you train in a fasted state where you eat nothing before a workout then BCAAs are going to be a huge help. Yes, they’ll boost your energy levels but they can also ensure your body doesn’t start breaking down muscle and using it as fuel for your workout. So BCAAs helpt to protect your muscles during intense training.

#3 BCAAs Post-Workout

After your workout is when eating or supplementing with the right nutrients is essential. Resistance training causes microtears in the muscle, and given the proper nutrition, these tears will heal and result in a stronger and leaner muscle. BCAAs are the very building blocks of muscle tissue, making them an ideal post-workout supplement. BCAAs have been shown to increase protein synthesis (3) which helps with recovery muscle growth. Be sure to take one serving of BCAAs within 60 minutes of finishing your workout.

#4 BCAAs Mid-Day

Regardless of your day job, we all hit that midday slump right after lunch. Naturally, you’ll want to reach for a cup of coffee, but next time you feel fatigued at work, try BCAAs. BCAAs help to increase energy levels and they’re an easy way to hydrate yourself if you’re not a fan of plain water. Most people feel tired in the afternoon because they haven’t been drinking water all morning. BCAAs are a great low-calorie way to boost yourself out of midday fatigue.

#5 BCAAs Before Bed

Since BCAAs promote protein synthesis, a key component for recovery, they make a great supplement to take before bed. During sleep is when your body releases the largest amounts of growth hormone which is necessary for muscle growth, fat burning, and overall recovery. Higher levels of protein synthesis (the production of muscle protein) – is going to complement the release of growth hormone. Also, if you want to burn more fat, BCAAs are a low-calorie option you can take before bed to support your goals. One thing to note: Taking branched-chain amino acids before bed may have a different effect on you compared to others. Some report falling asleep faster and sleeping better while other people claim it keeps them awake. I’d recommend assessing your tolerance with a half serving of BCAAs before bed. If it helps you sleep or doesn’t negatively impact your sleep pattern, then upgrade to a full serving.

When Is Your Favorite Time To Use BCAAs?

What benefits have you noticed? What is the best time to take BCAAs for you? Do you take them in the morning, after a workout, before bed, or all of the above? Let us know in the comments below!
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