Do you often find your muscles are achy and sore after your usual exercise routine? Me too—it can be a struggle and can sometimes discourage us from returning to the gym. If you want to speed up muscle recovery, with an added boost to improve your muscle mass, then a BCAA supplement might be your solution.
Keep reading if you want to know what you can do to solve this classic problem.
What Is a BCAA Supplement?
So why are they useful?
Well, BCAAs help in the repair and growth of your muscles during and after exercise. Have you ever heard the term “ripped” used to describe strong muscles? Your muscles literally rip and then repair themselves in order to grow—this is called protein synthesis.
I hear you ask, “What is protein synthesis?” Well, it’s the complex process within your body which produces the proteins needed for specific tasks to keep you healthy.
When you consume protein, your body breaks this down into the amino acids it was made from. Then your body will take these amino acids and piece them together to produce the proteins needed for your body to run smoothly. If you’re still unsure what I mean, here’s a short video:
BCAA supplements will speed protein synthesis along. That way, you can ensure your muscles stay undamaged as they grow stronger and larger.
If you’re looking to lose weight, BCAAs help keep your muscle mass intact while reducing fat levels. This means that all the right weight should be lost, keeping you healthy and lean.
What to Look for in the Best BCAA Supplement
Now that we know what BCAAs supplements are for, what do we need to look out for in the best ones? Well, let’s take a look and see:
Powder vs Pills
Although pills are great for slipping in your pocket to take later, I would recommend taking powders to get the best BCAA supplement. They absorb a lot quicker into the bloodstream, which means they’re fast-acting, so your body can start repairing your muscles quicker.
You can mix them into your morning smoothie before your workout. They can also be blended with any other supplements you might take. Need a caffeine energy boost, for example? Good—just mix BCAAs with a caffeine supplement!
After much research, it’s been concluded that this is the best BCAA supplement ratio. That means two parts leucine to one isoleucine and one valine. Anything other than this is usually controversial, but I like to stay open-minded.
Although this may seem like a pretty trivial matter for the best BCAA supplement, the flavor is actually important to ensure the product is enjoyable.
I sometimes find it difficult to stomach breakfast first thing in the morning. Imagine how I feel about a poor-tasting supplement drink. A tasty flavor option makes the best BCAA supplement much more palatable.
The Five Best BCAA Supplements
So now that we’ve decided on taking powders as the best route for a BCAA supplement, here are my top five of the best.
Scivation Xtend does what we’d expect, providing the usual 2:1:1 amino acid ratio to ensure your muscles keep growing and repairing after working out.
So what makes this product stand out? The addition of citrulline malate, for one, especially if you’re tired before your morning workout, as it helps fight off fatigue. Also, the inclusion of glutamine is important to keep the inner workings of your body ticking.
Brooke Wells and Mat Fraser stand by Scivation for its recovery ability—pre-, during, or postworkout. With three delicious flavors, you have the pick of the litter. And with thousands of online reviews, can you go wrong?
- 2:1:1 ratio
- Keeps you awake and energized
- Includes other great ingredients
- Three tasty flavors
- Endorsed by fitness lovers and experts
- Helps facilitate fat loss
- Includes a proprietary blend of some ingredients
This is a great supplement with an all natural blend.
If you are looking to gain muscle, this one helps keep your body’s proteins working effectively to keep your muscles growing and repairing.
It has the optimal levels of valine, isoleucine, and leucine ensuring fast absorption into the body.
- Good for gaining muscle and losing weight
- Fast absorbing
- 2:1:1 ratio
- All-natural blend
- Three tasty flavor options
- Sugar-free flavors
- Can be taken pre-, during, or post-workout
- Comes in three sizes
- Possible side effects, including stomach problems and anxiety for some
This BCAA supplement has the typical 2:1:1 ratio of the three key amino acids that we’ve previously discussed.
With eight delicious flavor options, this gluten-free product makes for a fabulous choice. As we’ve said, a good flavor makes all the difference, and Evlution Nutrition certainly nails it here!
- 2:1:1 ratio
- Eight flavor options
- Boosts energy
- Several unquantified ingredients
This 3:1:1 formula is a little different but does everything you’d expect from a good BCAA supplement. BodyBuilding.com stands by its choice of adding 50 percent more than the usual leucine in a 2:1:1 ratio—but why? The company praises this amino acid for its superior anabolic potential, helping to boost protein synthesis.
The company promotes this BCAA powder as a great drink to sip throughout the day. So no need to gulp it down pre- or postworkout—just take your time! This way, your body will keep making proteins throughout the day to ensure that your muscles are constantly growing and repairing.
- Can be consumed throughout the day
- BodyBuilding.com signature—someone us fitness fanatics know and trust
- Keeps your body in an anabolic state all day
- No additional nutritional ingredients
- Not a 2:1:1 ratio
This BCAA has a particularly strange mix of amino acids in a 4:4:1 ratio. By increasing the leucine and isoleucine, it guarantees a safe mix of ingredients in potent combinations. This improves your body’s ability to repair its muscles in a safe way.
Also, it will provide an energy surge that will last throughout the day. So if you want results fast, then this is could be the choice for you.
- All natural
- No caffeine
- Provides an energy surge
- Greatly improves muscle repair and growth, fast
- Only one flavor choice
- Not a 2:1:1 ratio
My Choice for Best BCAA Supplement
I stand by Scivation Xtend BCAA powder as my top choice for the best BCAA supplement. First, they stick by the usual 2:1:1 blend of BCAAs, yet they don’t skimp on other nutrients.
They provide extra ingredients, like citrulline malate and B vitamins, to ensure your energy is boosted and the healthy inner-workings of your body keep pumping. Also, without the added sugars and carbs, you won’t gain extra fat when it’s not necessary.
With the choice of blue raspberry ice, freedom ice, and glacial grape flavors, you’re not so spoiled for choice that you can’t make up your mind. My current favorite is glacial grape, but the choice is yours.
If you want the best BCAA supplement that grows and repairs muscles—as it should—and more, then Scivation Xtend is the one I recommend. The other supplements on our list are also worth a look and may be more suitable for your needs, so go take a look!