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I think the title may be a bit misleading, so let me explain.

I have been using a pre and post workout drink for the past 6 months or so with great result. I had been using BCAA before that, but the post wortkout drink seemed to provide the same result, so I dropped the BCAA pills.

Last week, for what ever reason I was out of it, exhausted, overworked at the gym, not really sure. So I bought some BCAAs again (same brand as before GNC Mega BCAA) and I've been feeling better.

So for the last week I've been taking 4 BCAA pills in the morning and 4 in the afternoon everyday and it's helping me to stay alert and energized.

Am I abusing the stuff or using it for the wrong reason and should be consuming something else?

I'm 42 years old and work out heavily 2-3 times a week, but dance lessons twice a week.

The BCAA pills contain - per four pills:

  • L-leucine: 1600 mg
  • L-isoleucine 800 mg
  • L-valine 800 mg
  • D-pinitol 60mg
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

10g of BCAAs is perfectly normal and fine to use regularly.

For those that don't know what BCAAs are and why they may be beneficial, BCAAs are Branched Chain Amino Acids. Because they are straight amino acids that are used by the muscle systems, the body doesn't need to work hard to break them out of a full protein chain.

When you lift heavy things, and in general exert your muscles to exhaustion, BCAAs help repair the muscles quicker than by consuming protein. Indirectly this improves your energy because the body spends less of the energy repairing itself.

They are not a replacement for protein, however. Our bodies have 11 essential and another 11 non-essential amino acids which it gets from protein. The non-essential proteins can be manufactured--of course it takes some energy to do that.

Most BCAAs (powder or pill form) include the three main essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Some have a fourth. The D-pinitol is a form of Vitamin B which also mimics an insulin response. Insulin is an anabolic hormone which has the responsibility to channel energy into your muscles and organs. That helps replenish the glycogen stores more quickly (assuming you have the carbohydrate reserve for that).

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BCAA is mainly about recovery.

On the other hand "staying alert" is about stimulants. The most popular source is caffeine. I'd say yohimbine is another common one.

Depending on your caffeine tolerance you may have a double espresso, americano 30 minutes before your workout.

Little bit more advanced stuff is pre-workout supplements. They contain higher amounts of caffeine, usually 200 mg per scoop or serving. That's why usually recommended use part says 1-3 scoops/servings.

Again depending on your tolerance your body will get use to it, so it's a good idea to cut stimulants for 1-2 week(s).

Personally i do not recommend carbonated rtd energy drinks since they will make you burp through your workout.

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