T Nation

BCAA's: Let's Get Realistic!

So, this is my second thread today :slight_smile: I’ve been meaning to ask about this for a while.

Coach Thibaudeau often mentions that you can only gain 2 pounds of muscle a month. In fact, he has emphasised this in multiple articles, including the one from this week.

At the same time, Biotest’s BCAA article quotes him as saying:

“most will gain an average of 1-2 pounds per week over the first 8 weeks of use.”

Now, this is obviously a HUGE difference! In one scenario, I’m gaining 1/2 pound of muscle a week. In the other, I’m gaining 2-4 x times that. I’m also cutting; aside from 2 weeks, I’ve been on a long cut for a few months. So, I’m expecting to grow quite quickly for a month or two once I get into my bulking proper.

How much mass gain should I plan for? I don’t want to “undergain” by aiming for 1-2 pounds a month; I don’t want to gain too much fat by aiming for 4 times that. What should I do? Will BCAA’s really make these numbers possible?

I only ‘noticed’ any help with BCAA when I was cutting.

1-2lbs/wk is alot to aim for…it’s possible for some people. I think with numbers up that way; genetics play a bit of a role.

I dropped the BCAA when I started bulking…and didn’t notice a diff b/c I’m eating so much.

don’t forget a maintence period between cut/bulk or you won’t make shit for progress on your physique!

[quote]G87 wrote:
Coach Thibaudeau often mentions that you can only gain 2 pounds of muscle a week. [/quote]

You mean a month, right?

[quote]RSGZ wrote:
G87 wrote:
Coach Thibaudeau often mentions that you can only gain 2 pounds of muscle a week.

You mean a month, right?[/quote]

Fixed

[quote]G87 wrote:
RSGZ wrote:
G87 wrote:
Coach Thibaudeau often mentions that you can only gain 2 pounds of muscle a week.

You mean a month, right?

Fixed[/quote]

Regarding the question, lots of guys report a noticable difference - but the only thing is they are using large quantities daily (40g+).

The only way that I manage this is by using a powdered form, and have only ever kept it up for a week which isn’t enough to note any results I could attribute to it’s use.

Get some spare money, buy 1 or 2kg of the stuff and give it a shot at high doses - see what happens.

bump

Id rather just take a shit load more whey.

Whey contains a fairly high percentage of BCAA’s straight up.

For the same cost you spend on BCAA’s you could step your protien intake to like 400 grams a day.

Remember thats up to 2lbs pure lean muscle mass… theres also the glycogen + water which will further your non fatty mass development. There will of course be SOME fatty tissue however. This brings total gains over 2lbs per month.

Im coming off a cut soon (the first real successful one I’ve managed). And I hope to start experimenting with the concept of a long slow clean bulk… I want to see if I really can continue reducing/maintaining current bodyfat levels. My plan is to keep things at just a simple 0.5lbs gain a week =]

[quote]Westclock wrote:
Id rather just take a shit load more whey.

Whey contains a fairly high percentage of BCAA’s straight up.

For the same cost you spend on BCAA’s you could step your protien intake to like 400 grams a day.[/quote]

Isn’t it bad to consume that much whey/day? Authors keep mentioning how most of your protein should come from “proper” food.

Anyone who wants a serious understanding on protein intake, bcaa’s and protein in general should read The Protein Book by Lyle McDonald. Answers a lot myths and all the questions posted here. Worth the $50.

[quote]benmoore wrote:
Remember thats up to 2lbs pure lean muscle mass… theres also the glycogen + water which will further your non fatty mass development. There will of course be SOME fatty tissue however. This brings total gains over 2lbs per month.

Im coming off a cut soon (the first real successful one I’ve managed). And I hope to start experimenting with the concept of a long slow clean bulk… I want to see if I really can continue reducing/maintaining current bodyfat levels. My plan is to keep things at just a simple 0.5lbs gain a week =][/quote]

Good luck

[quote]benmoore wrote:
Im coming off a cut soon (the first real successful one I’ve managed). And I hope to start experimenting with the concept of a long slow clean bulk… I want to see if I really can continue reducing/maintaining current bodyfat levels. My plan is to keep things at just a simple 0.5lbs gain a week =][/quote]

You wish to potentially reduce bodyfat levels while eating at a caloric surplus?

Hello no results.

The only way you could pull off something remotely similar is to eat a shit ton (say, 1500kcal over maintenance) and then burn of the excess with extra weight and cardio training.

This way you have sufficient nutrients, your metabolism is revved up and you are burning a lot of the excess ala the G-flux.

[quote]AllTraps wrote:
Anyone who wants a serious understanding on protein intake, bcaa’s and protein in general should read The Protein Book by Lyle McDonald. Answers a lot myths and all the questions posted here. Worth the $50.

[/quote]

Unfortunately, I live in Russia so the book would be more expensive for me to get and wouldn’t get here until some time into my bulk. I appreciate your advice, but could you give some more substantial information on the topic, if you’ve read the book?

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[quote]Mick28 wrote:
G87 wrote:
So, this is my second thread today :slight_smile: I’ve been meaning to ask about this for a while.

Coach Thibaudeau often mentions that you can only gain 2 pounds of muscle a month. In fact, he has emphasised this in multiple articles, including the one from this week.

At the same time, Biotest’s BCAA article quotes him as saying:

“most will gain an average of 1-2 pounds per week over the first 8 weeks of use.”

Now, this is obviously a HUGE difference! In one scenario, I’m gaining 1/2 pound of muscle a week. In the other, I’m gaining 2-4 x times that. I’m also cutting; aside from 2 weeks, I’ve been on a long cut for a few months. So, I’m expecting to grow quite quickly for a month or two once I get into my bulking proper.

How much mass gain should I plan for? I don’t want to “undergain” by aiming for 1-2 pounds a month; I don’t want to gain too much fat by aiming for 4 times that. What should I do? Will BCAA’s really make these numbers possible?

Gaining 2 pounds of muscle per month is possible depending upon your age, genetics, diet and how you train. 2 pounds per week…Ha ha…funny stuff.

[/quote]

Have you tried supplementing with BCAA’s? What were your results? What do you base your opinion on?

Isn’t it generally different for beginners? I always hear about beginners who put on a large amount of muscle relatively fast - and right now i’m a beginner (first time i’ve ever tried to gain muscle) and went from around 200 to 208 in 2 months (although i’m sure some is fat and glycogen and stuff, i know it’s barely any fat).

It also seems like it would be different depending on how large/tall you are - like a 5’6 guy just starting probably couldn’t put on as many pounds as a 6’4 guy with all things equal, just due to proportion.

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I remember these things got me from 200 to 210 pretty quickly last year. I think it was three or four weeks. It was mostly muscle and all my lifts were skyrocketing.

I mean I had a less than stellar summer so my body was probably itching to get some muscle back, but I had never gained mass so easily. Of course the next 15 lbs weren’t really the same. But I didn’t expect it to work for 8 weeks.

Yeah, I’m still pretty suspicious about BCAA’s value. Everyone kinda has the same story “it might have helped a bit, not sure” and most of the research I’ve seen says bcaa supplementation didn’t do anything in a controlled study.

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