When to Take BCAA Benefits, Supplements, Pre-Workout & More

When to Take BCAA

When to Take BCAA Benefits, Supplements, Pre-Workout & More

When Should I Take BCAA Supplements?

Before Workout

Studies show that BCAA levels in your blood peak 30 minutes after consumption. With this in mind, to maximize the fatigue-reducing benefits of BCAAs it would make sense to consume them slightly before the start of your workout.

When taken before a long workout, BCAAs can act as an additional energy source to muscles after your store of glucose (the primary source for muscle energy) is depleted.

After Workout

Consuming protein after a workout is important for building muscle and reducing muscle catabolism. BCAAs help with reducing muscle breakdown and reducing the dreaded delayed muscle soreness.

If you’re looking to avoid the feeling of total muscle exhaustion the day after a strenuous workout, it seems consuming BCAAs after your workout can help. BCAA supplements provide easily absorbed protein components and can give your muscles a jumpstart on repair right after a workout before your next nourishing meal rounds out your post-fitness nutrition.  

Can I Mix BCAA With Protein?

While the two can be taken together, there is no point in using them both when an adequate amount of whey protein is ingested.

It pretty much boils down to the fact that an adequate amount of whey protein already contains enough BCAAs to reap the benefits. Among BCAAs, leucine in particular is potent in stimulating muscle protein synthesis (MPS) due to its role in the mTOR pathway.

As we know from the trials, adding leucine to adequate amounts of protein does nothing more to promote MPS. However, I am not aware of any trials adding BCAAs to an adequate amount of protein, but on the other hand, there is no reason to assume that they add anything in this context.


When Should You Take BCAA Supplements?

BCAAs are effective supplements during and after training. This means that you should be consuming BCAAs during or immediately after your gym workout.

This is because BCAAs are effective in helping to build and repair muscles damaged by strenuous workouts. The effects of BCAAs peak approximately 30 to 60 minutes after consumption.

In turn, you’ll want to drink your BCAAs in this window to maximize muscle recovery and help build muscle. It will help relieve muscle pain after training.

What is HMB Good For?

1.) Protein Absorption

In short, HMB works in two ways: increasing protein synthesis while decreasing protein breakdown. This combined anti-catabolic (anti-breakdown of muscle protein) and anabolic (strengthening muscle protein) impact means you build lean mass more efficiently – so that’s more muscle and strength gains.

As you build muscle and increase strength, you will have greater power and reduced muscle breakdown after exercise through constant HMB supplementation. As your lean mass increases as you build muscle, you will increase your metabolism and be able to improve your workouts.

Studies have shown the effects of HMB supplementation to vary depending on fitness level and type of exercise, so let’s break them down one at a time.

2.) Strength

One study compared the strength performance results of sedentary overweight women before and after six weeks of HMB supplementation.

Although there was weight loss and fat loss during the study in the group that took HMB, the significant impact was the improvement in their strength performance after 6 weeks (without following a strength training routine).

This study found that HMB can increase muscle strength without exercise, even in sedentary overweight people.


Those who are new to intense training like weightlifting seem to benefit the most from HMB. Since a new high-intensity exercise routine increases the likelihood of muscle damage that needs repairing, HMB can have a hugely positive effect.

It is in this population that several studies saw increases in lean body mass and strength, but this is likely to also be due to the combination of a new training routine with supplementation.

3.) Recovery

Those who are trying to increase their strength and work their muscles towards hypertrophy (muscle growth) are probably performing strenuous activities that lead to muscle damage. This type of intense training results in muscle pain and longer recovery periods.

Experienced athletes who follow this type of training can use HMB to reduce pain, damage and shorten recovery by boosting muscle synthesis and slowing breakdown. HMB allows these types of athletes to train more often and see the benefits faster.

4.) Aerobic Endurance

A study of a small group of elite male rowers compared the impact of HMB on cardiovascular endurance training.

Twelve weeks of HMB supplementation increased athletes’ VO2 max (aerobic endurance) and decreased body fat. The study also indicated that HMB supplementation could also have a positive impact on peak anaerobic potency.

5.) Weight Control

The main benefit of HMB its ability to create a net positive balance of muscle turnover – that’s more muscle building than breakdown. For this reason, taking HMB while also cutting calories for weight loss, can help preserve lean body mass while targeting fat mass. This can be useful for people who are trying to lose weight without losing muscle.

Another promising study focused on the change of HMB levels as we age, showing that there’s a general decline in HMB as we age (correlated with losing muscle). The study also discovered that individuals with higher levels of HMB had greater muscle mass and greater strength than those with lower levels.


Overall, the beneficial effects of HMB appear to be related to the intensity of the training and the level of the athlete following it. The groups that seem to derive the greatest benefit from taking HMB are trained athletes who perform intense and challenging workouts that would otherwise be more damaging to the muscles.

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While there is some evidence of increased strength in groups that are new to resistance training, it may be less effective for casual practitioners or for someone who does not perform very hard workouts. difficult.

What Does HMB Stand For?

HMB stands for Hydroxymethylbutyrate. Hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB) is a chemical that is produced when the body breaks down leucine. Leucine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. People use HMB to make medicine. HMB is most commonly used for building muscle or preventing muscle loss.

HMB vs Leucine

Best HMB supplementation tends to be in the range of 1 to 3g per day with the aim of reducing muscle loss over time (anti-catabolic). As HMB is said to be 20 times more potent than leucine for this purpose, it is considered equivalent to 20-60g of leucine supplementation.

For the purpose of muscle protein synthesis, HMB and leucine are fairly equivalent otherwise the latter (leucine) being more potent on a gram basis. HMB is not recommended for inducing muscle protein synthesis because leucine is probably more effective and cheaper.

HMB supplementation before a workout would require the use of an HMB-free acid rather than a calcium salt, and the above dosage range still applies. For this specific purpose, HMB should be taken 30 to 45 minutes before a workout.


BCAA Benefis

Branched-chain amino acids are essential amino acids because the body must outsource these externally within food in our diets, such as meat, fish, and eggs – or by taking BCAA supplements.

Usually supplemented when your body is following a calorie-deficit diet, BCAAs help to support your workouts. Here we look at some of the main benefits:

  • During exercise, your body requires high energy levels – BCAAs are a rapid supplement that is metabolized primarily in skeletal muscle, meaning they skip your liver and directly enter your bloodstream to provide your body with these essential amino acids.
  • BCAAs are the building blocks of protein, your body requires protein for an energy source.
  • Protein synthesis must exceed protein breakdown for muscle growth.


HMB, also known as beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl-butyrate, is a by-product of a portion of the essential amino acid, leucine. It is produced naturally when leucine is present in the body.

Whilst it can be produced in the body, some gym-goers opt to use HMB supplements to support their workout – here we look at some of the reasons why:

  • Supplementing HMB takes away your body’s reliance on leucine for production meaning HMB levels aren’t limited.
  • Leucine levels must be high for HMB to be produced, and your body requires protein for muscles to repair, and for energy.

Can I Take BCAA and Creatine At The Same Time?

You probably already have an idea of the similarities between BCAAs and creatine, but can you mix them up?

The answer is yes. Various studies have shown that there is no adverse effect on your health from mixing the two supplements, and many professional athletes and personal trainers recommend combining them. In fact, many supplements, especially pre-workout supplements, which we’ll get to next, combine BCAAs and creatine.


By taking each as an individual supplement, as opposed to part of a pre-measured blend, you can take control of the ratio (with medical advice) and avoid any other added supplements that typically come in blends such as caffeine and added carbohydrates.

When to Take BCAA
When to Take BCAA

BCAA And Pre-Workout Together

A lot of people like to combine branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) with their pre-workout, but why?

Along with their muscle-building and recovery benefits, research shows that BCAAs can improve performance as well. Taking them before your workout allows your body to use the supplement for fuel and repair during exercise, which helps increase strength and endurance.

For example, a 2005 study found that protein enriched with leucine increased strength gains by 30% over eight weeks. BCAA Benefits

Another Air Force study showed that participants taking a BCAA supplement had increased strength and lean muscle mass compared to those taking a placebo. Finally, the results of a Japanese study showed that BCAA supplementation before strenuous exercise increased endurance.

This research clearly shows that BCAAs play an important role in improving performance. Mix them with your pre-workout or sip them for up to 30 minutes in your workout for the best results.

BCAA Benefits

When should I take BCAA for best results?

Taking BCAAs before or after exercise may be equally effective in providing muscle protection. Also, you may not need to time them precisely to support muscle building. Getting an adequate dose based on your body weight is essential, as well as continuing to take them in the long term, including on nonexercise days.

Should I take BCAA every day?

Research has shown supplemental BCAA intake to be safe for healthy adults in doses of 4-20 g per day, with prolonged intake one week or more showing greater benefits than acute (short term) intake. Aim for 2-3 g leucine between meals, before, during, or after workouts to maximize muscle protein synthesis.

How often should you drink BCAAs?

BCAAs are generally supplemented 2-4 times daily; around the time of your workout is beneficial, but you can also take a BCAA drink before bed on an evening, or first thing on a morning when you wake up to make sure your body has enough essential amino acids.

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