Categories: Eats, Trainnig


Wacky wednesday today; a photoshoot for m.e.l.t. online (coming Spring 2013), m.e.l.t. meals launch party and a ton of other fun things but I wanted to take a few minutes off to answer the question of the week.

I’d like to get your opinion on BCAA’s versus essential amino acids.Are they worth it? Do they really help that much? Don’t we get enough of them in our protein drinks?And if it is of your opinion that they DO significantly help, should you take BCAA’s?…… or should you be taking essential amino acids which contain the 3 BCAA’s – leucine, isoleucine and valine?

OH, and what’s you thought on when to take them….. before, during or after a work-out?


– Michael –
East Aurora, NY

Michael, great question my man.

Branched Chain Amino Acids CAN be extremely beneficial if taken correctly.

Let’s start with Amino Acids, these are the building blocks of the protein molecule. “Branched Chain” refer to a carbon atom to more than two other atoms.

There are three; leucine, isoleucine and valine.

BCAA’s are among the essential amino acids and are proven to build protein and support energy production.

As far as the difference, BCAA’s are amino acids whose main focus is muscle growth.

Why I use BCAA’s:

  • Stored in very high concentrations within muscle tissue
  • Needed for maintenance of muscle tissue (hence “essential”) 
  • Preserve muscle glycogen stores
  • Help prevent catabolism from occurring during workouts
  • Studies have shown supplementing BCAA’s may increase the amount of nitrogen within muscles after training. Meaning, recovery can be reduced which will allow for an accelerated repair process & growth of muscle tissue.
Do you get BCAA’s in Your Protein Shakes?

I have no depends on the brand you take. But don’t confuse protein powder and amino acids. Amino acids are the broken down, ready for action version of protein powder.

When To Take Them
I like to take them before a workout to give my body an absorbable protein source for my workouts then I take a whey isolate immediately
post workout.  

As far as taking them as an amino acids supplement or separate, its up to you but I feel the more isolated, pure source of BCAA’s, the better which is why I take just BCAA’s v.s amino acids. I also eat a clean diet full of rich complete and incomplete protein sources so I am not at risk of missing out on other essential amino acids. So if you’re not getting enough of the right protein from your diet, then you might want to consider amino acids. 

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