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In our last blog post, the Bulldog Nutrition team discussed some basics regarding branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and what purpose they serve in the nutrition, health, and wellness world. For those of you who spend a lot of time in the gym with the goal of building or refining your muscle mass and tone, you have probably heard countless reasons for and against BCAAs. Things like when the best time is to consume them and which brand is the best for your needs come to mind. Here at Bulldog, we’re here to simply give you some advice so you can figure out what works best for you in achieving your long-term fitness and sports nutrition goals. Today, we’ll take a look at some common practices with BCAAs and the benefits you may find from consumption at different times. If and when you are ready to get your next BCAA supplement, be sure to check in with Bulldog Nutrition for the best selection in Ontario.

Quick Recap

In case you need a refresher, branched-chain amino acids are building blocks essential to protein synthesis, muscle growth, and recovery. They are essential because they are not found or made in the body, so acquiring them through food or supplements is crucial. If you are a heavy lifter or someone who continually breaks down the protein in your muscles, getting all of the BCAAs you need through food can be difficult. Because of this, opting for a supplement can help make it easily accessible and consumable for an on-the-go athlete or folks with busy careers. A BCAA supplement is mixable and can be downed over the course of the day or in a couple of minutes, meaning your body will have access to the amino acids it needs

Best Time to Take BCAAs

When it comes to supplementation, there are always differing views. Some people say pre-workout should be taken 30 minutes before exercise, while some people feel better drinking it throughout an entire workout. When it comes to BCAAs, there are plenty of differing opinions, but all of them still have one thing in common: in and around your exercise is optimal. Drinking it right before or during your workout has advantages, while post-workout can see results as well. Here’s a quick breakdown of the time windows for your BCAAs:

  • Pre-workout: If you are sore before your workout, your muscles may not be synthesizing protein for recovery as fast as you would like them to. If you are feeling a bit sore and heavy, downing some branched-chain amino acids before a workout will help reduce soreness and also prep your body for a quicker recovery afterwards.
  • Intra-workout: BCAAs are used by your body during a workout as protein breaks down. Your muscles use them for energy, which is why you may feel gassed after an intense 30 minute session but still have a ways to go. If you drink your BCAA supplement throughout your workout, you will be replenishing as you use, which means your muscles will have more fuel to utilize for the duration of your activity.
  • Post-workout: Similar to the pre-workout ideology, sipping of BCAAs after a grueling session in the gym or on the track can pay dividends for you the following day. By replenishing your BCAAs after your body has burned through them, your muscles will have a much easier time initiating the growth and recovery process, meaning that you won’t be sore when you wake up in the morning and you will see results faster. 

It is easy to see why there is a debate regarding timing of supplementing your body with BCAAs. However, the moral of the story is that you would be hard-pressed to find a negative effect, no matter when you take them. So, if you are on the fence about incorporating them into your routine, don’t worry anymore.

If you have any more questions about the world of supplements, BCAAs, health and fitness, or just want to explore new options for your exercise programs, trust the team at Bulldog Nutrition. Our six Ontario locations are staffed with some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable folks around, and our online store is sure to have what you need, so shop with us today!

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