Pre-Workout vs. BCAA

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Which Should You Take OR Is It Safe To Take Both?

Whether you are completely new to the fitness scene or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, you might be keen on significantly improving performance and rapidly reaching your fitness goals.

Different brands and types of supplements are rife on the market, and it can become a tedious process trying to decide which one suits your needs. Many are asking whether they should be consuming pre-workout or BCAA as part of their fitness regimes.

It is also important to know which one offers superior results for your time, effort, and money. We have looked into both options to assist you in making an informed choice!

Keep reading to find out which one suits you best!

Pre-Workout To Pump You Up?

In recent years, pre-workouts have increased in popularity due to its energy-enhancing capabilities before a workout. Pre-workouts are supplements that contain a natural blend of carbohydrates, vitamin B, and antioxidants, all working together to perk you up before you hit your workout and help you achieve superb performance!

Pre-workout supplements are available in different brands, and all contain various formulas. A stimulant like caffeine is normally included in the formula to facilitate an energy level increase and improve your performance.

Pros of Using Pre-Workout

  • Energy levels are increased.
  • Focus is improved.
  • Stamina and power are prolonged.
  • Fat burning rate is accelerated
  • Weight loss is accelerated.

Cons of Using Pre-Workout

  • Risk of increased blood pressure.
  • Risk of suffering from nausea.
  • Risk of suffering from adrenal fatigue.
  • Risk of drug test failure.

High-quality pre-workouts include ingredients like creatine and L-Citrulline, providing increased endurance and strength to your muscles.

L-Theanine, an amino acid extracted from tea leaves, is said to complement caffeine to increase focus and maintain calmness while the caffeine boosts energy levels.

Be mindful of stimulants being overused in pre-workouts. The increased caffeine content in pre-workouts can negatively affect you by causing you to experience an energy crash or jitters.

Pre-workouts should contain a maximum of 200 mg of caffeine per dose, or less, which should adequately boost energy levels without the experience of side effects or problems.

BCAA For Muscling Up?

bcaa tablets

Branched Chain Amino Acids, better known as just BCAA, are essential amino acids containing a ratio of 2:1:1 of leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine and are vital for health and consumption to allow our bodies to build muscle.

Regulars at the gym consume BCAA to facilitate an increase in protein synthesis and building muscle.

BCAA’s are incredibly helpful in building muscle and inhibiting muscle breakdown during workouts.

BCAA’s are not only useful for muscle growth but also for muscle fuel and recovery.

Pros of BCAA

  • Protecting against muscle damage caused by exercise.
  • Promoting muscle growth.
  • Decreasing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
  • Increasing exercise stamina.
  • Assists with the occurrence of muscle repair.
  • Helpful with insulin sensitivity.

Cons of BCAA

  • Potential fatigue issues may be experienced.
  • Potential coordination issues may be experienced.
  • Potential adverse effect on blood sugar metabolism.

BCAA significantly impacts muscle building and maintenance of muscle mass but may not necessarily have an influence on workout results.

Pre-Workout and BCAA Distinctions

Using pre-workout or BCAA is contingent on your objectives. If your objective is to experience a massive energy boost during your workout, you should be taking a pre-workout supplement.

If you are killing your workouts at the gym or anywhere else for that matter, and your objectives are muscle preservation and increasing muscle growth, BCAA is a great choice.

Using a combination of pre-workout and BCAA offers you pre-workout benefits to help you remain focused and energetic during training while fuelling your body for muscle preservation and muscle growth.

There are some pre-workouts that actually include BCAA as an ingredient and serves as a great choice for those who are looking to use both options.

Pre-workout and BCAA complement each other perfectly as they work simultaneously alongside each other to fulfil their objectives.

The major difference between pre-workout and BCAA’s is the inclusion of caffeine as a stimulant in pre-workout to enhance your focus, increase energy, and remain motivated.

Vitamins, including other natural compounds, are included in more superior pre-workouts to enhance your mood and increase your stamina.

There is usually a predicament between either taking pre-workouts or BCAA, and since we have mostly discussed pre-workout in this section, let’s have a look at whether BCAA can be used as a pre-workout.

Using BCAA As A Pre-Workout Supplement – Can This Be Done?

Absolutely! Yes. BCAA can be taken as a pre-workout supplement as most people actually opt to do this. And, the great thing is that you can actually take BCAA more than once throughout your day. The recommended dose is about 2 – 4 grams per hour during your workout, as well as your recovery.

BCAA is to be consumed 30 minutes prior to working out to allow for proper digestion.

BCAA does not aid in energy boosts and increasing focus throughout your workout. Pre-workouts were created for this purpose. While both pre-workouts and BCAA are fantastic, your choice in supplement is determined by what you need during your workout, and then, you should be able to decide which one is suitable.

The question remains, pre-workout or BCAA? How about taking them both?

Can Pre-Workouts And BCAA Be Taken Together?

Of course! Yes. As previously mentioned in the article, Pre-workouts and BCAA do complement each other after all as they work seamlessly together to fulfil each of their objectives.

Pre-workouts will assist with enhancing focus and increasing those energy levels. BCAAs will aid in your stamina, support muscle recovery, and muscle growth.

Essentially, your goals will guide you.

There are pre-workout options for increasing “CrossFit” training stamina, there are pre-workout options for focus during general workouts, and there are pre-workouts that are healthier and more organic than other supplements.

There are quite a variety of pre-workouts, and to find the right one, you have to determine what your needs are.

Other Considerations?

There are no “magical” pills, potions, or powders. Accomplishing fitness objectives requires dedication, consistent exercise, and healthy eating habits. Superior-quality pre-workout or BCAA supplements may then be considered as an additional source of help to further increase your chance of achieving outstanding results.

Finally, do your research before purchasing a supplement and taking it for the first time.

What’s The Final Verdict?

Pre-workout and BCAA do not need to go head-to-head against each other. There’s no need for that since they work together perfectly.

Many pre-workouts superior in quality include BCAA as part of their formula. They are available at an additional cost, and if you are not restricted by your budget, then they are the ideal choice as you are simultaneously benefiting from them both.

If you are on a tight budget, deciding between pre-workout and BCAA then depends on your main requirements and goals.

If your goal is enhancing your performance and increasing your focus, pre-workout is perfect. If you want to prioritize your muscle growth and recovery, then BCAA is best.

We hope this article helps you select the best option!

Commonly Asked Questions

Pre-workout Questions

Can the consumption of pre-workouts be bad for your health?

Pre-workouts consumed in appropriate doses are excellent for boosting your energy before you intend to work out. However, pre-workouts taken in the incorrect doses comes along with various side effects. Nausea and vomiting, cramps, increases in blood pressure, jitters, and in unique cases, it may result in cardiac arrest.

Be aware of the caffeine content in your pre-workout supplement as it varies across different brands. You should also be cautious and not combine pre-workout with fat burning supplements; if they both contain huge amounts of caffeine, it would significantly bump up the caffeine content, and you will feel ill!

Can the consumption of pre-workout cause weight gain?

If your focus is weight-loss, consuming pre-workouts may result in counterproductive outcomes.

Essentially every pre-workout contains creatine to reduce muscle damage and pain, enhance anaerobic endurance, maximise strength, and increase muscle growth. Creatine offers “gains,” which is what most weightlifters are aesthetically aiming for. The creatine content in pre-workouts may not make you fat but will cause weight gain through muscle growth so you could look into pre-workouts without creatine if you want to lose weight.

Why is C4 banned?

A performance-enhancing agent, Synephrine HCL is found in C4 pre-workout. The agent was banned from a number of Interscholastic Athletic Associations prohibiting anyone who takes it from competing. It was also banned by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Synephrine is also similar to ephedra, which was banned by the FDA as it is detrimental to the heart and may cause heart problems.

Should pre-workouts be consumed every day?

It is recommended to stop consumption for one week after three weeks of consumption. Your body may adapt and become dependent on chemicals. Your body may also adapt to caffeine that you no longer experience the effect, which in turn requires you to increase the dose to experience the results you would like. Your adrenal glands could be strained and lead you to suffer from adrenal fatigue.

BCAA Questions

Can the consumption of BCAA cause you to get fat?

BCAA consumption will not lead to excessive weight gain. Taking BCAA as instructed will, in fact, help with muscle gain and fat loss.

When is the appropriate time to consume BCAA?

BCAA supplements are best taken 15 minutes prior to working out. Regardless of whether the BCAA is in a powder or capsule form.

BCAAs can also generally be consumed three times per day based on the serving size as well as the label instructions.

To gain muscle optimally, 5-8 grams of leucine in a supplement is recommended while working out along with 33.81 – 50.72 oz (1 – 1.5 litres) of water.

Muscle synthesis is extended subsequent to training and meals with leucine. It is therefore effective to consume leucine 1.5 hours subsequent to breakfast or lunch as well where muscle gains are the focus.

You can alternatively take leucine 30 – 45 minutes prior to eating if your focus is fat loss.

What are the potential side effects of consuming BCAA?

There is generally no cause for concern related to the potential side effects of BCAA consumption.

If you follow the instructions properly and take BCAAs at the appropriate times, weight gain (a common concern) will not be an issue either as a 10g serving of BCAA essentially contains around 40kcal.

If you are either vegan or vegetarian, reviewing the ingredients of BCAA supplements would be of benefit before adding them to your diet.

Most people can safely consume BCAA without any issues provided that they are following the manufacturer’s recommended dosage guidelines.

The consensus is that you can consume 0.03-0.05g of BCAA per 2.2 lbs. (per kg) of your body weight. During workouts, that measurement increases to 2 – 4g an hour.

Can the consumption of BCAA cause hair loss?

Consuming BCAA does not lead to hair loss but can actually prevent it according to studies performed as well as different theories. BCAAs are protein building blocks that are beneficial for hair too.