Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physical Fitness Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm seeing conflicting information on using BCAAs before a workout. One resource says to take them before a workout with carbs to help get the BCAAs into the muscles due to the insulin boost. Another resource says to avoid carbs at least 2 hours before working out (doesnt say why).

If the goal for BCAA supplimenting is for additional fat loss and lean muscle gain, which is the correct answer? Does it differ for low intensity vs high intensity workouts?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Whether one staggers carbohydrate consumption when supplementing with BCAAs (or any other amino acids for that matter) or not is probably of negligible significance. Amino acids are zwitterionic and act as pseudo-buffers, and consequently their digestion shouldn't be affected significantly by stomach pH (which would presumably be increased slightly by carbohydrate consumption). Furthermore, if I remember correctly, proteins and amino acids are digested by a largely separate set of enzymes than carbohydrates, so they won't be competing as substrates for enzymes' active sites. Also, carbohydrates are generally metabolized much more rapidly than proteins and amino acids in any case, so even if you ingest them simultaneously, you will metabolize the carbohydrates completely before you finish metabolizing the proteins or amino acids. Finally, I suspect there's probably little benefit to BCAA supplementation to begin with, but even if there is, the process of digestion is so complex and variable, and so dependent on a wide array of factors (e.g., circadian rhythms, genetic variation, medication usage, etc.), that investing time and energy into trying to micro-optimize supplementation timing is going to yield marginal returns, if any.

share|improve this answer

Bcaas are good before, during, or after. Depending if you are having intense training a little carb meal ie 6-7 oz of sweet potatoe preworkout works exceptional. Gatorade powder and maltodextrin powder (or waxymaize) intraworkout while keep strength and performance higher do to streamline energy source, preferrably on longer workouts. Bcaas are good during workouts, if you want to get most optimal use would be 10-15 grams 10-15 minutes before your postworkout to act as a primer for protein synthesis (since priming protein synthesis is the main benefit of bcaas). You can add more to your postworkout drink if the protein powder doesnt have enough and definitely have more carbs than protein (gatorade powder alone or also with one of the others i mentioned). Optimal bcaas preworkout sip on 10 grams sometime before your 60-90 minute preworkout meal (assuming you eat with proper timing) if you actually want to notice a difference, taking them right before your workout with any sort of preworkout your not going to see or feel any difference. So optimally if you get enough through postworkout drink already would be nearing the end of your workout and priming the preworking meal protein.

On the no carb hours before workout, thats those anticarb people that love to feel shitty during their workouts. Bcaas lower insulin (based on studies) which would increase insulin sensitivity which training also does so dont fear carbs when building muscle optimally. Fyi I've seen a pro bodybuilder say not to do carbs preworkout and he does 50-60 grams of carbs from gatorade and another 50 grams of maltodextrin intraworkout, I'm just going to go on a limb and assume thats one of his follwers, which NEVER have the whole story, you never know what drugs they are taking and therefore why they avoid things at certain times. I do full preps for bodybuilders for shows (that means nutrition included) and they all stick loosely to what i wrote out. Keep in mind that you always want to tweak things when the benefits dimish.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.