odd that we just don't talk about Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) much, especially
when you consider that almost all of us who write for Testosterone Nation use
They're probably the one thing that's
remained a constant in the lives of our coaches, from Charles Poliquin to Chad
Waterbury to Christian Thibaudeau to John Berardi. Each of them — along with
their clients — take large amounts of BCAA's every day. Next to protein powder,
it's their primary supplement.
Of course, I suppose
it would be like a bunch of doctors discussing their stethoscopes. If something
is a mainstay of your profession, it often gets taken for granted.
too bad, because BCAA's are something that every lifter should be taking, if not
daily, then at least during very specific training cycles.
those of you who have forgotten, the branched chain amino acids are named leucine,
isoleucine, and valine. What sets them apart from other amino acids is that they
have some very specific, very special properties:
BCAA promote protein synthesis in muscle.
• BCAA taken
during training have been shown to increase both growth hormone and insulin, thus
increasing anabolism and anti-catabolism.
• BCAA, unlike
other amino acids, are used to provide energy.
• A 1992
Italian study showed that BCAA taken prior to a workout not only prevented a decrease
in post-workout Testosterone levels, but caused it to increase.
BCAA have been shown to decrease post-workout soreness.
BCAA, according to a 1997 Italian study published in Medicina Dello Sport, when
taken 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after a workout, were shown to increase
lean body mass and improve strength in the bench press and squat.
BCAA have been shown to increase exercise endurance, especially exercise conducted
in high temperatures.
• As little as 4 grams of BCAA
can kick start the body from a catabolic state to an anabolic state.
we should all be using BCAAs!
The only reasons why
you might not have wanted to take them, prior to now, is the prohibitively high
Well, scratch that reason off your list, because
we're puff-our-chest-out proud to introduce Biotest Branched-Chain Amino Acid
Each serving (6 capsules) contains the following:
mg. of L-isoleucine
1620 mg. of L-leucine
1080 mg. of L-valine
a ratio of 1.0 to 1.80 to 1.20, which you exercise physiologist types will recognize
as the exact ratio found in muscle.
BCAA are pure and they're high-quality, but I don't think you'd expect anything
less from Biotest. There are 240 capsules in a bottle, which makes for a pretty
hefty load; don't store this bottle on a wobbly shelf because it'll put a dent
in your skull when it collapses.
If you were somehow
able to find a similar product at the store or from another manufacturer, most
of you would have to fill out loan papers and have a pretty solid credit rating.
However, because you are buying direct, we're able to offer this 240-capsule bottle
for only $57.95 or pay just $49.95 each when you buy 2 or more.!
just won't find quality BCAA like this anywhere, and you definitely couldn't find
them at this great price.
After looking at this area
of science for a long time, we've come up with a recommended dosage, which, on
non-training days, is 6 to 12 capsules taken three times per day, between meals. On
training days, we recommend a total of 18-36 capsules taken before, during, and
immediately after your workout.
In other words, during
a training session, you might take 6 before your workout; 6 during your workout
when you visit the drinking fountain; and 6 right after your workout.
to be frank, no one knows for sure exactly how much BCAA to use. The recommendations
in the literature and among our coaches vary.
press/squat study I cited above used 18 grams of BCAA immediately before training
and another 18 grams of BCAA immediately after training (based on a 200-pound
athlete). That's quite a large amount, but most of our coaches have had phenomenal
success using slightly smaller or even significantly smaller dosages.
asked a few of them how they use BCAA.
Thibaudeau is on the high end of the scale, but the results speak for themselves:
the past year, I've had several clients gain up to 8 pounds of lean mass in 2
weeks using my protocol. While most of my clients don't gain 8 pounds in two weeks,
most will gain an average of 1-2 pounds per week over the first 8 weeks of use."
what Christian recommends:
servings of 5-10 grams per day
Upon waking up (especially if you engage in pre-breakfast cardio).
Between breakfast and lunch.
3. Between lunch and supper.
5. Before going to bed.
serving would ideally be 10 grams; that will give you the best gains by far. The
results are very close to being drug-like, and I'm not one to say this lightly.
I put my reputation on the line."
Chad Waterbury has devised several BCAA
protocols for his clients, some as high as 20 grams per serving and some as low
as 3 grams per serving.
One of his favorites, though,
is his "Mid-Sleep BCAA Protocol for Cutting or Bulking."
long stressed the importance of night-time feedings for growth and recovery. Problem
is, most people don't want to get up in the middle of the night and have a protein
shake. But with a good BCAA supplement, all they need to do is have the pills
sitting next to their alarm clock with a glass of water. They wake up briefly,
take the pills, and they're back asleep."
nighttime protocol calls for 1.5 grams of BCAA per 25 pounds of lean body mass.
In other words, a 200-pound man would take roughly 16 Biotest BCAA capsules upon
Chad is also big on using BCAA for cutting,
for which he prescribes 0.75 grams of BCAA per 25 pounds of LBM four times a day,
While Christian and Chad probably
represent two ends of the BCAA dose spectrum, nutritionist John Berardi's preferences
lie somewhere in the middle.
For muscle gain or athletic
performance, John recommends:
8 Biotest BCAA capsules (roughly 5 grams), 2 or 3 times a day, split
evenly throughout the day.
8 Biotest BCAA capsules upon waking, 8 capsules during training, and
8 capsules after training, the two latter doses being in addition to a serving
of Biotest's Surge.
However, John also has a pretty
interesting protocol that he uses on himself every couple of years to get super
ripped. Get this, John Berardi, Mr. "Massive Eating" himself, will occasionally
go on a stint where he eats 3 meals a day, totaling about 2,000 calories, interspersed
with three 10-gram "feedings" of BCAA.
large amounts of BCAA offset any potential muscle loss from the fairly severe
bout of calorie restriction.
As you can see, the recommended
dosages vary. However, I think it's absolutely clear that BCAA are a valuable
and indispensable tool for building muscle, improving athletic performance, or
maintaining muscle while losing body fat.
flip on your anabolic switch for only $57.95 or buy 2 or more bottes for $49.95 each?