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  • BCAA Supplementation

    As some of you know (and are maybe tired of hearing), I typically follow the lean gains approach to eating and training (16/8 IF, higher carbs and lower fat on training days, higher fat and lower carb on rest days). Sometimes I don't feel like eating lunch and I think my performance is better most of the time when I don't eat pre-workout. Anyway, on to my question.

    If you don't eat pre-workout Martin Berkhan recommends BCAAs a few minutes before working out. Has anyone supplemented with BCAAs and, if so, did you get superior results versus fasted training? How about compared with fed training? I'm debating whether to experiment with this myself, since even the cheap BCAA powders are kinda expensive (compared with real food). Thanks in advance for sharing experience and advice.

  • #2
    I haven't supplemented only with BCAA's, but instead have a scoop of whey isolate that has a lot of BCAA's just before I workout. I also am following a semi-leangains method.

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    • #3
      Im in the same boat as john, but i remember Martin saying that to get as many bcaas from whey you need over 100 grams
      "I know what my body needs and what it can handle. There's no better way to achieve my goal than what im doing now. If my regimen leads to my death, be it in six days or six months...I will die fullfiled. The outcome is irrelavent so long as i steer towards my fate. If death is to be my prize, i welcome it with open arms."

      "A pound of meat a day keeps the doctor away"

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      • #4
        They are expensive but they work a treat, especially if you are going with a Leangains type training schedule of IF'ing. Most WPI don't come close to the amount/type of BCAA's found in a good supplement (I take Xtend). Problem is I hate the taste.

        I say give them a go. Otherwise, eat a lot of good quality meats and cottage cheese and get them from your food.
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        • #5
          I dabbled.

          I "fixed" the taste by combining BCAA with Raspberry flavored Glutamine, I read this article (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/inmag5.htm) and it stated that combining both had superior effects in losing body fat, plus Glutamine is supposed to help with recovery. I like the article because it opens up with eating real food THEN says supplementation.

          I can't recall the brand of BCAA I got but it was from GNC, I was EXTREMELY disappointed at the amount of powder I got, it was literally 1/4th of the container. I know this also happens with whey powders and such but this was just ridiculous. I followed Leangains as well so I was taking 10g around 6:45, training for roughly 40 minutes (weighted bodyweight training... is that an oxymoron?) then 10g around 9-10am, and the last 10g around 12 or 1. Honestly, I forgot to take it IN TIME most of the time, but I doubt that would have radically change things. My first meal was usually at 1pm.

          I wish I could tell you that I went up 20lbs in all lifts, or magically got a six pack but no such thing happened. Mostly because the stupid thing only lasted about a week and a half of 5 days a week. Perhaps my mistake was training everyday. I think if I were to go back to BCAA supplementation I would only take them 3x a week, or maybe a lower daily dosage and 30g only on strength training days.
          I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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          • #6
            Purple Wraath really helped when I was vegan. The beta-alanine still has a useful effect on that last max effort set...>:-)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by chronyx View Post
              Purple Wraath really helped when I was vegan. The beta-alanine still has a useful effect on that last max effort set...>:-)
              Martin from Leangains says it gives you a nice "tingle" but is it like drinking a lot of coffee or something? did it make you jittery?
              I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the replies, experience, and advice. I orderd some Purple Wraath last night. I plan to take 10g pre-workout and then eat as soon as possible post-workout. I will try to remember to report back with my experience.

                P.S. I did a few minutes of research, and the cheapest price I could find was from AllStarHealth in case anyone else is interested. I think it was $47 for a 90 serving (2.39lb) container. Anyone find it or a similar product for less?

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                • #9
                  Update:
                  I've been using the Purple Wraath pre-workout and a few times post- when my post-workout meal was delayed. I haven't measured, but I think my body composition has shifted favorably. But with all the variables that go in to that, I can't say that it was the Wraath for sure. I did keep my workouts pretty much the same, so I think at least some of my success is attributable to the supplement. I may try eating lunch pre-workout for a couple months in place of the supplement and report back then.

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                  • #10
                    Glad PW is working for you. I have switched to just beta-alanine capsules as I eventually found the taste of PW unpleasant. You also need to double dose it to get a decent amount of beta-alanine.

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                    • #11
                      I got back on BCAA, I got some brand form GNC I can check when I get home what it’s called. The best part is that it actually is a container full of powder unlike the other stuff I got before. It was $30 and I bought it at the beginning of November.

                      I do definitely think I’m noticing improvement in recovery. I’m not getting as sore from hard workouts as I used to and I have definitely NOT dialed down the intensity. Some body parts still get pretty sore (mostly my quads) but my upper body only feels mild discomfort but not flat-out soreness, the type that forces you to take an extra rest day where you would normally have a workout.

                      Due to this I’m working out a bit more frequently, or “greasing the groove” more aggressively (with added weight) or more often. I reckon if I can do it, I should do it.

                      My dosage is a bit higher than Leangains recommends, but sometimes I forget to take it so it might even out. I take 10g pre workout, then 10g an hour or two after, then I eat after that (Leangains), but sometimes I’ll take 10g later in the day just for kicks, and to see if higher dosage does anything. I feel it may be.

                      Since I’ve added sprints back into my routine, I’ve noticed I’m leaning out, so I want to attribute that to sprints rather than to BCAA + glutamine but they could certainly be playing a part if the article I posted in my older post above is correct.

                      I ONLY take them if I’m going to workout or I have already worked out that day. I don’t take them on rest days, since generally I don’t fast on rest days and eat protein instead.

                      The brand I got is flavored, and it clashes with the raspberry flavor of the glutamine I combine it with. It’s annoying to take it on an empty stomach, it makes me feel a little nauseous but after a few minutes I’m fine.

                      I’d say my weekly average is about ~60g (if I work out 3x a week and don’t take extra servings, 20g per workout day) some weeks more, some weeks less.

                      I’m inclined to give BCAA a thumbs up. I don’t take whey protein, so I just eat meat and take BCAA. For what it’s worth.

                      Edit: I should mention that in my post above (from early October) there were a few issues
                      a) I barely got any powder, so it only seemed to last a few weeks.
                      b) I wasn’t eating right, I was snacking on bad carbs often at night, so no wonder I didn’t “magically get a six pack”
                      c) I wasn’t sprinting, so again it makes sense I wasn’t leaning out. Bad carbs + no sprints = going nowhere.
                      d) I can’t recall the intensity of my workouts, but I’m more focused over-all now, it wouldn’t surprise me if I was being a lazy shit in October. Getting high and eating refined carbs doesn’t create a positive feedback loop when it comes to working out. I’m “clean” now and eating very well.
                      e) Everytime I take BCAA (before every structured workout) I make sure I really get some work done. This is a mental thing, but when I take it I don’t want to piss my money away so I make sure I’m getting shit done.
                      Last edited by iniQuity; 11-29-2010, 09:38 AM.
                      I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                      • #12
                        Bit late on this one but what the hell. I take Xtend BCAAs, only on days when I am actually doing a workout. I take one more scoop than recommended for the average person, as I'm 6'5". After I finish work (around 2pm) I tend to be quite tired and feeling in need of a sit down, but the BCAAs definitely perk me up and get me ready for some lifting. Tastes horrible, however, and absolutely refuses to fully dissolve in water. Eck.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Primal Fist View Post
                          Bit late on this one but what the hell. I take Xtend BCAAs, only on days when I am actually doing a workout. I take one more scoop than recommended for the average person, as I'm 6'5". After I finish work (around 2pm) I tend to be quite tired and feeling in need of a sit down, but the BCAAs definitely perk me up and get me ready for some lifting. Tastes horrible, however, and absolutely refuses to fully dissolve in water. Eck.
                          How long have you been taking it for and have you noticed any improvements you can attribute to BCAA? my brand seems to dissolve but forms a foamy layer on top which goes away if you keep mixing and let it sit for a bit.
                          I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                          • #14
                            Does the glutamine go with the BCAA's prior to working out or after? Is it more beneficial to have glutamine with the BCAA's or are they just fine alone?

                            Martin says no, but other sites say yes. Like the link Iniquity posted.
                            Last edited by AnneArchy; 02-24-2011, 02:52 PM.

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