BCAA & Benefits | How to use bcaa | BCAA while intermittent fasting | 5 best BCAAs for intermittent fasting
Planning to introduce BCAA to your intermittent fasting regime? Feeling confused with so many choices out there?
You’re not the only one.
Here at 21 Day Hero intermittent fasting community, we’ve heard many fasting fans using BCAA to combat fatigue before workout sessions and pack more muscle while fasting. Still, anyone looking to add BCAA to their intermittent fasting regime might have a couple of questions. Here’s what we will cover in this article:
- What is BCAA and what is it used for
- How to use BCAA supplements
- Can you take BCAA while fasting and how to do it right
- The 5 best BCAA for intermittent fasting
What is BCAA and what are the BCAA supplement benefits
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are particularly important for our muscles. Due to their rapid absorption into the bloodstream, BCAAs increase muscle growth and repair, improve exercise performance and reduce fatigue during workouts.
The body can’t make these essential amino acids; therefore, you have to get them from your diet. Rich dietary sources of BCAAs include meat, dairy, egg, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts and other foods rich in protein. Usually, a balanced diet will contain all the essential amino acids needed to build muscle.
However, when doing intermittent fasting you might not be able to replenish BCAAs as quickly. Intermittent fasting means a limited eating window; therefore it’s not as easy to consume the same amount of food.
Particularly for anyone combining intermittent fasting and exercise, BCAA can become their new favorite supplement. Studies show that BCAA supplements reduce exercise fatigue and improve endurance resulting in more enjoyable and productive workouts. Using BCAA as a supplement also helps with muscle growth and reduces the annoying post-workout soreness.
How to use BCAA supplements
The most common form of BCAA supplements is powder. It can be mixed with water or any other liquid and is often drunk before, during or after the workout. It can be a refreshing drink whilst you train and help you stay hydrated and energized at the same time.
Usually, there are 6 grams of BCAAs per serving, but to understand the best BCAA dosage and concentration, check the instructions before mixing your first BCAA drink. Some people enjoy adding BCAA to their protein shakes or post-workout smoothies.
BCAA also comes in the form of capsules. This is a convenient way to use BCAA, especially if you’re not a fan of BCAA taste or available flavors. Check the instructions of the specific product to understand the best dosage.
Sounds quite promising? Let’s take a look at what’s the best way to use BCAA when doing intermittent fasting.
Can you take BCAA while intermittent fasting
BCAAs are molecularly the exact same as protein, but while protein is made up of 20 amino acids, BCAA contains 3 of them. Nevertheless, most BCAAs still contain calories; therefore using BCAA will break your fast. If you’re sticking to strict intermittent fasting, you should use BCAA supplements during your eating window.
However, you can evaluate what is your goal for intermittent fasting.
If you want to maximize weight loss with a strict fasting schedule, it’s better to use BCAA during the eating window.
On the other hand, if you are doing heavy exercising, looking to build muscle or often feeling fatigue during exercise, you can consider using BCAA supplements during your fasting window workouts. The benefits of using BCAA to increase your performance and improve workout sessions can be worth breaking the fast.
The 5 best BCAA for intermittent fasting
Most likely, you won’t find BCAA in your local supermarket. The most convenient place to buy this trendy supplement is definitely online. To spare your time researching endless BCAA supplement options, I’ve listed the 5 best BCAAs for intermittent fasting.
I took into account the quality of ingredients, popularity and reviews from current customers. Of course, all the BCAAs had to be intermittent fasting friendly and have high-quality ingredients.
Here’s the list for you to choose from.
#1 Performance Lab: BCAA Capsules
BCAA often comes in a powder form. However, BCAA capsules might be the best option for anyone doing intermittent fasting. BCAA powders often have additives and flavors, while these Performance Lab BCAA capsules are pure BCAA. They are odorless and have no taste. If you choose to use them during the fasting window, BCAA capsules can be the most convenient way boost your energy for a workout.
It is suggested to take 2-4 Performance Lab BCAA capsules 45-60 min pre-workout to get the energy boost right when hitting the gym. When using BCAA capsules after the workout, they will help recover quicker and reduce the usual soreness.
Why I Liked It:
- BCAA in capsule form in more convenient and easier to use
- Odorless and has no taste
- Doesn’t have any colorants, sweeteners or additional ingredients – just pure BCAA
#2 XTEND: BCAA Powder
This is one of the most popular BCAA supplements on Amazon and has a big fan base. Every serving of this supplement contains 7 grams of BCAAs to support your muscles while working out. It doesn’t contain any sugar or carbohydrates, so it will work great if you’re following keto intermittent fasting plan. Moreover, the powder contains the necessary glutamine and electrolytes to compensate for the skipped meals and water loss.
For anyone looking for some flavor, this BCAA might be the one. XTEND BCAA powder comes in 17 various flavors. You can choose anything from Margarita to Freedom Ice.
Why I Liked It:
- 17 delicious flavors for every taste and preferences
- Has electrolytes and glutamine to help with workout recovery
- One of the most popular BCAA on the market
#3 The Genius Brand: BCAA Powder
This BCAA emphasizes both the physical and mental benefits of BCAA. The Genius Brand BCAA powder also has caffeine and taurine in their formula, which means you can expect an increased focus, energy and healthy brain function.
In the reviews, customers praise The Genius BCAA’s taste and natural ingredients. No fillers, dyes or artificial flavors in this BCAA, plus it’s also vegan. This is a great choice if you’re looking for more natural BCAA and would enjoy more focus and mental power just as much as increased physical performance.
Why I Liked It:
- Additional ingredients that improve brain function and mental focus
- Natural ingredients and vegan-friendly BCAA
- Nice “Grape Limeade” flavor
This BCAA is for real gym addicts to take the muscle building and post-workout recovery to another level. Mutant BCAA Powder is more concentrated and each scoop will support your body with 9.7 grams of amino acids. Their formula also has a blend of eight electrolytes to help maintain hydration and ensure healthy workout sessions.
BCAA shouldn’t be a challenge to drink. Therefore Mutant BCAA has a wide variety of flavors to choose from. Peached Iced Tea sounds like the most refreshing one for hot exercise days.
Why I Liked It:
- Concentrated BCAA powder with 9.7 grams of BCAA in a serving
- Has 8 electrolytes to ensure a healthy electrolyte balance in the body
- Various flavors to choose from
#5 Optimum Nutrition: BCAA Capsules
Optimum Nutrition BCAA Capsules are currently the most popular BCAA capsules on Amazon. After all Optimum Nutrition is one of the biggest names in the supplement industry.
These BCAA capsules will be ideal if BCAA shakes are not your thing and you prefer simple and convenient BCAAs in capsule form. Use these between meals, before training, or after finishing your workout to improve your daily intake of amino acids for muscle support.
Optimum Nutrition BCAA capsules are also quite simple – containing only BCAA and a few ingredients necessary to produce the capsules themselves. Another plus is that compared to BCAA powders, these capsules will cost you less per a gram of BCAA.
Why I Liked It:
- Optimum Nutrition is one of the most popular brands in all the supplement industry
- Simple and convenient BCAA in capsule form
- Cheaper than buying BCAA powders
Find out More About Intermittent Fasting
Would you be excited to finally make intermittent fasting a proper part of your lifestyle? Kick start your intermittent fasting regime with our 21-day Intermittent Fasting Challenge. It has helped hundreds of people successfully lose and sustain (!) their dream weight.
Best part? The challenge comes with a customized meal plan to ensure you know exactly what and when to eat!