BCAAs during a long workout ?

Discussion in 'Diet and Nutrition' started by jks1, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. jks1

    jks1 Member

    Aug 30, 2015
    Does anyone have any experience of taking BCAAs during long workouts ?

    I train full body, followed by a HIIT session on the bike, with the aim of physique transformation/strength and lean mass gains.

    Workouts are generally great and I regularly hit PRs, but about to experiment with BCAAs, taking them halfway into the workout with the idea of an energy boost midworkout and to prevent catabolism. (Which, despite the 3hr+ workouts I dont seem to experience as if I was going catabolic then I wouldnt progress so regularly and steadily.....as an example, I've increased bent legged deads over the course of a year from 20 reps with 390 lbs to 20 reps with 440 lbs - these arent noob gains, been training for years on and off......or am I wrong ? Can you still go catabolic while getting stronger ?...Seems nonsensical but perhaps I'm missing something ?)

    I'm 46, 6' tall, est 15% bf and currently supplementing with creatine monohydrate and liver tabs.

    Have also been implementing a daily '16/8' intermittent fasting protocol now for months with pleasing results, seemingly no reduction in progress and appear to be both steadily burning fat and building strength and muscle.

    Any hints, tips, advice or personal experience i would be very grateful for.

  2. chicken_hawk

    chicken_hawk VIP Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    Well, there are a lot of unknowns here, but maybe I can point you in the right direction at least. Given only what you have written and speaking in generalities I will say that your aerobic capacity has increased because you have trained it to do so. Forgive me but I get skeptical of these posts when I have no eveidence to support large increase. You see guys out bench me everyday. Unfortunately, they don't touch their chest or lift their ass or use a spotter and smith machine. Then come tell me about their accomplishments and compare them to my meet lifts. Now assuming that is not the case here lets talk some simple science.

    I am no authority or bio chemist but there are two main signaling hormones...mtor which signals anabolic changes and ampk which does the opposite. Heavy weight training signals the former and cardio the latter. Now, once the weights being lifted drop below 60% of 1rm you stop building muscle and go catabolic signaling ampk. However, this applies to your entire workout. So say your one rep max on the squat is 400lbs. Once you are training with less than 250 or so you start doing aerobic exercise even if it is later in the session.

    So let's say the above is still our example for out lifter and he can normally bust ass and do 250 for 15 early in his workout...well that will build muscle. But lets say after 2 hrs of doing every exercise conceivable he has to use 185 and even though its just as hard, he is now doing cardio. It doesnt matter what the rep range...just once your using less than around 60% of his best reps. So if he can curl 100lbs. For 10 reps but is now so tired he has to use below 60lbs... He has sent his body the message that this is a cardio session regardless of how heavy the weight feels. This guys will still make gains because it's likely he nets on the positive side of things. But if he stopped earlier when loads started to drop his gains would increase. And if he wanted to do cardio he would do seperate sessions even if it was HIT.

    Regarding bcaa for energy, sure with the length you described your body will simply turn them into carbs so you'd be better off with some maltodextrin or a combo of malto and bcaas. Otherwise your body will just turn them into fuel.

    Good luck,
  3. tommyguns2

    tommyguns2 Senior Moderators Staff Member

    Dec 25, 2010
    I think BCAAs are good OTC supplements. In fact, I think they're critical when dieting, especially if you're natural. Not sure that BCAAs will do much for energy. Rather, a simple carbohydrate during your workout.

    I think BCAAs are valuable when you're in a calorie deficit, and attempting to not be catabolic. When you're low carb, once carbs are fully depleted, it's my understanding that your body will pull roughly equally from fat and muscle to meet energy needs. When supplementing with BCAAs, I feel that the amino acids in the blood stream serve as a sacrificial substrate for the body's pull at muscle. So instead of using lean muscle and fat for fuel, the body uses the amino acids from the BCAAs and fat for fuel, thus sparing lean mass.
  4. PillarofBalance

    PillarofBalance Strength Pimp Staff Member

    Feb 27, 2011
    Bcaa is useless if you are a meat eater. They also aren't for energy. Have a Gatorade or some carb snack if you need during training.

    The fear of catabolism is a bit much. The majority of your life is spent OUT of the gym. Think long term there.

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