Get Stronger With Branched-Chain Amino Acids | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Get Stronger With Branched-Chain Amino Acids

October 1, 2012 | Jim White | Featured in the Fall 2012 Issue

Must See Nutrition Videos

What They Are

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)—leucine, isoleucine and valine—are the most chemically complete type. The body does not make them naturally, so the only way to take them in is through food and/or supplements.

Benefits for Athletes

BCAAs prevent the body from using muscle aminos for energy, and they help muscles repair themselves faster after workouts. They also appear to diminish delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which means athletes won’t be as sore after workouts and can get back to the gym sooner. Other benefits include building more lean muscle and shedding body fat. But the keys are to fuel activity and enhance recovery.

How to Get BCAAs

Good sources include meat (grass-fed beef), fish (trout, salmon), dairy (milk, cottage cheese) and legumes (black beans). BCAAs are also available in pill form.

How Much You Need

The right dosage depends on the athlete. There is no magic number, but it seems that taking between three and 12 grams before and after a workout is a fair estimate of what a young athlete needs to get results. The bigger the athlete, the more BCAAs he or she should take before and after workouts.

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements

Creatine Supplements: Benefits, Concerns, Types and Dosage

3 Supplements to Boost On-Ice Performance

Should You Be Taking BCAAs?

This Just In: Boost Your Workout With Peppermint

Powder Hour: Is It Time to Add Protein Powder to Your Diet?

Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet

4 Best Supplements for Football Players

The 5 Essential Sports Supplements

Demystifying Popular Smoothie Boosters

The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

"Real" Fat-Burner Supplements

The Positive Side Effects of Creatine (Besides Building Muscle)

Can Baking Soda Improve Your Training Gains?

Use Sodium Bicarbonate to Get More Out of Creatine

Iodine: An Overlooked Essential Mineral for Female Athletes

The Truth About Muscle-Enhancing Supplements

Fuel for Thought: Gels, Bloks and Beans

Why You Can't Ignore Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

HGH Use Among Teens on the Rise, According to Survey

7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss

Why Creatine Is the Best Sports Supplement

The Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric

The One Thing You Need to Do to Build Muscle

4 Muscle-Building Supplements That Don't Work

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Calcium

3 Reasons Why You Should Take a Fish Oil Supplement

The Best Time to Consume Creatine

L.A. Galaxy's Safe Supplementation for Soccer Players

7 Sketchy Marketing Phrases Used By Supplement Companies

Soy vs. Whey Protein

Should I Take Creatine?

Blueberry Supplements: Better Than Actual Blueberries?

6 Supplements That Power Quality Workouts

What's Missing From the Female Athlete's Diet, Part 2: Iron

Ask the Experts: Is Caffeine Safe for Athletes?

7 Rules That Would End PED Use in Baseball Immediately

Workout Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

4 Creatine Myths Exposed

2 Safe Pre-Workout Supplements

3 Tips on Choosing the Best Post-Workout Creatine

ZMA: Is This Mysterious Supplement Right for You?

Do Athletes Need Zinc Supplements?

DHEA Supplements: Should You Take Them?

Are Pre-Workout Supplements Right For You?

How to Select a Healthy Protein Bar

5 Rules You Must Know Before Taking a Fish Oil Supplement