You may feel an extra burst of motivation to hit the gym and start working on your fitness. You may also be inclined to check your eating habits and work healthier foods into your diet. These resolutions are incredible, but what happens when you hit a plateau with your fitness? When your gains stall, it can be tough to stay motivated at the gym, and your health and fitness may both suffer.
One of the most effective ways of surmounting a plateau and moving forward with your lean muscle gains is to incorporate supplements into your daily fitness routine. But just as there are innumerable fitness routines and workout classes to try, the market is saturated with what can feel like an overwhelming number of options for supplements.
If working out or taking supplements is a new endeavor for you, it can be tough to determine which supplement is right for your routine.
One of the most effective tools to properly fuel your body — both pre-workout and post-workout — are branched-chain amino acids, also known as BCAA. BCAA supplements not only assist your body in absorbing protein, but they also provide you more sustained energy, help with muscle fatigue, and promote fat loss.
We at Supplement Superstore have compiled a list of our top ten favourite BCAA supplements:
In this blog, we will give you a breakdown of each of our favourite supplements, along with more information about BCAA supplements, how they work, and why protein, especially whey, is essential to helping you reach your fitness goals.
Before we dive into explanations of our favourite BCAA supplements, you’ll need some necessary background information on branched-chain amino acids. What are they, and why are they so effective when taken as fitness supplements?
Let’s start with amino acids. You may remember learning about amino acids in your high school chemistry class, but it’s likely you haven’t considered their role in muscle gains and achieving fitness goals.
Amino acids are organic compounds that work together to form proteins within the body. Together, amino acids and proteins are the foundational elements of life. The human body uses amino acids for several processes, including breaking down food and repairing and regrowing muscle tissues. They also function as energy sources, especially during endurance workouts.
There are many amino acids out there, but the most important by far are known as essential amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids, but the only three that you will need to learn more about when considering supplements are branched-chain amino acids. The three amino acids that are considered BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Leucine helps to boost your overall muscle mass during strength training and can help you maintain your muscle mass while dieting. Leucine directly stimulates protein synthesis.
Isoleucine is the amino acid that boosts your overall endurance during a grueling workout. It also helps to regulate your blood sugar both during and after a workout so that you don’t experience an energy dip in the middle or at the end of your session.
Finally, valine is essential for your body’s ability to repair torn muscle tissue and helps to increase your stamina for long workouts. It also acts as an appetite suppressant, helping you to stay on track with your healthy eating goals.
When looking for an amino acid supplement, you’ll want to choose one that combines all three BCAAs. The combination of the three will provide you the stamina you need to push through your toughest training sessions and the muscle repair and growth support you need to see real gains.
When considering adding a BCAA supplement into your routine, you’ll need to keep timing in mind. Believe it or not, when you take your supplement has a significant effect on whether you maximize lean muscle growth and muscle repair.
The best time to take a BCAA supplement is in the 45 minutes following your workout. This timeframe, known as the anabolic window, allows your body to absorb the BCAAs and protein needed to replace and rebuild muscle. You can also take a BCAA supplement during your workout to help mitigate muscle soreness and provide you with more mental focus and energy during your lift session.
The majority of BCAA supplements come in the form of shakes, making them quick and easy to consume when you get to the gym or while you cool down post-workout.
We hope that was a helpful quick refresher on what amino acids are and, more importantly, what BCAAs can do for your overall fitness goals. Now it’s time to dive into Supplement Superstore’s top ten suggestions for BCAA and protein supplements to take your gains to the next level.
If ever there was a perfect muscle-building supplement packed with plenty of BCAAs, this is it! 7.2 grams of BCAAs per serving means you’ll be able to train harder than ever before. While it may have taken you a few days to recover before trying Quench, you’ll now see how much faster you’re able to bounce back and hit the gym for another grueling session.
Quench also promotes hydration, which is crucial to your continued success in the gym! With electrolytes and trace minerals from pink Himalayan salt, you’ll hydrate naturally. Try the Sour Gummy or Peach Mango flavours for a boost of guilt-free energy!
2. Mammoth BCAA
There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you’re making progress at the gym but seeing no visible results. This supplement is perfect for those looking to gain and maintain their muscle mass. The high dose of all three BCAAs you’ll get with Mammoth BCAA ensures that all amino acids broken down during your workout are replaced, and then some. You’ll experience accelerated muscle recovery, improved muscle gains, and minimal latent muscle soreness.
We suggest trying out the White Grape flavour, a refreshing burst of taste for you to enjoy as you refuel your body with 10.2 grams of amino acids per serving.
AMRAP stands for “as many reps as possible,” which will be appealing to those who love to go big and go hard at the gym. This zero-carb BCAA endurance formula offers you your vital amino acids in a 4:1:1 ratio, meaning this supplement packs a leucine punch. By taking Beyond Yourself AMRAP, you’ll be stimulating your fat loss process, increasing your lean muscle growth, and decreasing your muscle soreness.
With zero carbs and zero calories, you can enjoy flavours like pomegranate blueberry, lemon-lime, and strawberry kiwi with zero guilt. Try it during your next workout to not only quench your thirst, but to also elevate your performance.
Another BCAA-packed supplement, Mutant BCAA 9.7 delivers your three branched-chain amino acids in a slightly different ratio than the AMRAP supplement listed above. Instead of a 4:1:1 ratio, which is heavy on the amino acid leucine, Mutant offers a 2:1:1 ratio, which is much more balanced. Not only do you get 9.7 grams of BCAA, but you’ll also get eight grams of electrolytes for hydration. Plus, this amino stack contains magnesium, which helps facilitate protein synthesis.
A quick note about BCAAs and protein - they are often combined in workout supplements, and for a good reason! After a tough workout, a supplement containing protein, especially whey protein, can significantly improve your overall muscle mass. Whey protein and amino acids work together to build muscle. Since whey protein is high in the BCAA leucine, the combination of the two allows for higher protein synthesis and muscle stacking so that you can achieve and maintain your muscle gains!
When creating Aminocore, Allmax took cutting-edge research by the Nobel prize-winning Karolinska Institute to heart. The Karolinska Institute discovered that high doses of BCAAs signal your muscles to grow. Allmax delivers your BCAAs in a 45:30:25 ratio to stimulate pure protein synthesis on a truly epic scale.
Aminocore’s 8,180 milligrams of BCAA means you’re getting over 89 grams of BCAAs per serving. To see visible muscle gains, you must reverse your body’s tendency to break down muscle, known as catabolism. The number of BCAAs in Aminocore signals the body to build muscle and increase your body’s anabolic effect.
Aminocore also features Instaclear, solubility technology that flash freeze-dries the Aminocore powder to ensure the powder is easily mixable and absorbs entirely when in liquid form.
We all know the feeling when we’ve maxed out during a workout. When you push yourself through an intense workout, your muscles fill with lactic acid. This causes your pH levels to drop, preventing further muscle damage from occurring.
Along with all required BCAAs, All Day You May provides you with Copmax and Beta-Alanine. Both Copmax and Beta-Alanine help your muscles push through fatigue by buffering lactic acids and keeping your pH level stable. Using this supplement will push you (and your gains) to the next level.
While All Day You May allows you to go beyond your standard output in the gym, HydroBCAA is perfect for your much-needed muscle recovery process. The combination of BCCA with Glutamine and Citrulline allows you to bounce back more quickly between gym sessions. It also prevents further breakdown as you progress in your workout regimen.
While getting your protein during meals is vital to properly fuel your body and stay satiated, taking free-form amino acids is key to optimizing your performance in the gym. PEScience believes there is no such thing as too many amino acids in your pre or post-workout supplements. The five grams of leucine packed into Amino IV puts protein synthesis into hyperdrive, meaning you’ll be stacking more muscle than you thought possible!
PEScience also takes pride in the way they produce their supplements. To provide consumers the highest-quality supplements possible, PEScience tests all their raw materials for pesticides, microbials, and other contaminants before putting them on the market. They are also continually innovating their formulas, meaning you’ll always be taking the best of the best they offer!
If you are vegan, this BCAA supplement has your name on it! Featuring only vegan, non-GMO BCAAs, you’ll be able to enjoy flavours like Intense Watermelon Candy and Intense Peach Ring Candy guilt-free! This formula is extra-soluble, so you’ll skip tasting any bitter or unpleasant aftertastes that can come along with free-form BCAAs.
Last but certainly not least, PVL’s 100% Pure BCAA supplement is vegetarian, micronized for quicker absorption, and tested for safety, purity, and efficacy at USP pharmaceutical standards. The leucine, isoleucine, and valine present in Pure BCAA will provide your body muscle-building support and prevent your muscles from turning into fuel post-workout. This supplement is suitable for pre- or post-workout consumption!
You now have an exhaustive list of all of our favourite BCAA supplements to try out during your next workout session. But BCAA supplements aren’t the only ones out there!
You may be new to working out and not sure where to start or a gym lifer who is pushing for more endurance, wishing to see more physical progress, or wanting to lose some excess weight. Depending on your health and fitness goals, you may want to incorporate other types of supplements into your daily routine.
We at Supplement Superstore know that no two athletes are alike. As such, we provide the widest variety of supplements for you to choose from. Our Featured Products page is a great place to start! Please take a look through our featured options to find your perfect match and check out our blog for tips and tricks on maximizing your time in the gym.
At Supplement Superstore, supplements are everything to us. While we recognize supplements work best when used to "supplement" a balanced diet consisting of mostly whole foods, we also know that supplements can change everything when used correctly.
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