T Nation

How to Use BCAAs or Leucine When Cutting?

I’m looking to be pretty neurotic during a cut phase to make sure I keep the little gains I’ve made recently.

I plan to do fasted walks in the morning and still lift heavy in a caloric deficit while incorporating a couple days a week of circuit training complexes.

How can these supplements fit in with this gameplan? Do I really NEED both???

Thanks for the help.

Honestly most of BCAA’s “magic” comes from Leucine. You could argue otherwise, But I think most so called experts would agree Leucine would be just as effective to BCAA’s(the addition of Isoleucine/Valine). With that in mind you have to take into account Leucine is rated limited by other amino acids. SO the smartest thing to do would be to take it with other AA’s to ensure leucine is reaching it’s full potential of retaining muscle mass(in your case) or maybe even building a trivial amount of muscle mass. There have also been some substantial studies done on creatine retaining muscle mass in bed ridden paitents. Something worth considering as well. Hope that helps.

I would use BCAAs over the leucine for a complete diet down phase.

Another interesting aspect of BCAA that has only recently been explored is the potential effect on weight loss. During moderate protein intake (1.5 grams/kg of body weight per day) and a lower carbohydrate (100-200 grams/day) diet, an increased intake of BCAA is thought to have positive effects on muscle protein synthesis, insulin signaling, and sparing of glucose use by stimulation of the glucose-alanine cycle. This may lead to more fat loss and a greater sparing of lean tissue compared to a calorically-matched, higher carbohydrate diet.

you’re getting leucine with the BCAAs ( even more so if you use Biotest brand ). Depending on what brand you use you might need to use both, but if you’re going Biotest I would imagine the BCAAs are all you need.

Would a good strat be to take it for my morning fasted walks, sip on during workouts, and pre-bed swig instead of having a casein based snack?

Can anyone recommend a “flavored” bcaa supp? I don’t think Biotest’s is.

[quote]giograves wrote:
Would a good strat be to take it for my morning fasted walks, sip on during workouts, and pre-bed swig instead of having a casein based snack?

Can anyone recommend a “flavored” bcaa supp? I don’t think Biotest’s is.[/quote]

I would buy Biotest’s for the quality. Mix it with Crystal Lite. During workouts, I drink creatine, BCAA’s and Crystal Lite. The taste is good; it really drowns out the bitterness of the BCAA’s.

[quote]giograves wrote:
Would a good strat be to take it for my morning fasted walks, sip on during workouts, and pre-bed swig instead of having a casein based snack?

Can anyone recommend a “flavored” bcaa supp? I don’t think Biotest’s is.[/quote]

Not technically bcaa but Humapro is pretty highly regarded

Related:
Im road biking 2-3 days a week in the mornings. Should I drink my BCAAs before getting on the bike, or drink it while Im on the bike?
Is it true I wouldnt be absorbing the BCCAs while on the bike as my GI tract “shuts” down during exercise?

tweet

[quote]theBird wrote:
Related:
Im road biking 2-3 days a week in the mornings. Should I drink my BCAAs before getting on the bike, or drink it while Im on the bike?
Is it true I wouldnt be absorbing the BCCAs while on the bike as my GI tract “shuts” down during exercise?

tweet[/quote]

I’d drink half before and finish the rest during. As for the GI shutting down, never heard of that.

If the GI shut down then peri nutrition would be pointless.

Holy crap BT BCAA’s are awful tasting!. Directions say sprinkle on food…wut??? lol

Mixed with Mio and it was OK, but that artificial sweetener overload during the WO kinda sucks.

I use a 2.5/1.5/1.5 BCAA powder and add 5g of straight leucine powder. I drink it pre-workout with 15g of gatorade powder, 3g creatine and 30g of whey. Again; post-workout with 35g waxy-maize, 3g of creatine and 50g whey. When I take it alone I put the powder directly in my mouth and follow it with water, swish & swallow.

[quote]corstijeir wrote:

[quote]theBird wrote:
Related:
Im road biking 2-3 days a week in the mornings. Should I drink my BCAAs before getting on the bike, or drink it while Im on the bike?
Is it true I wouldnt be absorbing the BCCAs while on the bike as my GI tract “shuts” down during exercise?

tweet[/quote]

I’d drink half before and finish the rest during. As for the GI shutting down, never heard of that.

If the GI shut down then peri nutrition would be pointless.[/quote]

Your ability to break down & digest food is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is suppressed by the sympathetic nervous system during intense exercise. HOWEVER, because digestion is limited, that doesn’t mean absorbtion is. Simple nutrients - basic amino acids or simple carbs that don’t need to be broken down can still be easily used, especially if taken in liquid form.

To answer OP’s question, I take BCAAs like T-Nation recommends their peri workout strategy: frontload them by taking some 15-30 mins before exercise, and then finish your drink during the workout.

PS - yes, I signed up for an account just to post this. Been lurking for years though. Hi everybody =)

[quote]imnickjames wrote:

[quote]corstijeir wrote:

[quote]theBird wrote:
Related:
Im road biking 2-3 days a week in the mornings. Should I drink my BCAAs before getting on the bike, or drink it while Im on the bike?
Is it true I wouldnt be absorbing the BCCAs while on the bike as my GI tract “shuts” down during exercise?

tweet[/quote]

I’d drink half before and finish the rest during. As for the GI shutting down, never heard of that.

If the GI shut down then peri nutrition would be pointless.[/quote]

Your ability to break down & digest food is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is suppressed by the sympathetic nervous system during intense exercise. HOWEVER, because digestion is limited, that doesn’t mean absorbtion is. Simple nutrients - basic amino acids or simple carbs that don’t need to be broken down can still be easily used, especially if taken in liquid form.

To answer OP’s question, I take BCAAs like T-Nation recommends their peri workout strategy: frontload them by taking some 15-30 mins before exercise, and then finish your drink during the workout.

PS - yes, I signed up for an account just to post this. Been lurking for years though. Hi everybody =)[/quote]

Hi!! Great first post then and yay for absorption still working.

[quote]BlueCollarTr8n wrote:
I use a 2.5/1.5/1.5 BCAA powder and add 5g of straight leucine powder. I drink it pre-workout with 15g of gatorade powder, 3g creatine and 30g of whey. Again; post-workout with 35g waxy-maize, 3g of creatine and 50g whey. When I take it alone I put the powder directly in my mouth and follow it with water, swish & swallow. [/quote]

Since you spike your BCAA’s with Leucine, I guess you do feel the benefit of a rather high BCAA ratio…right? Something self experimented?

Anyone have any thoughts / experience with the different ratios?

While it’s very widespread for authors to write about ratios of nutrients and people to look for ratios, in a large majority of instances what is important is amounts rather than exact ratios, or often even ratios at all.

When having a relatively high protein diet in the first place, such as 1 gram per lb bodyweight or close to it, and certainly when more than this, there seems no indication that the amount of valine already provided in the diet isn’t already providing 100% of the possible benefit. Or put another way, I haven’t seen any indication that supplementing with valine is in itself worth doing.

But if it happens to come along with a product or material you’d otherwise want to use, at a relatively low percentage of BCAA content, that’s not a problem.

As to whether there’s a benefit to supplementing with added free isoleucine as a free amino acid when it’s already being richly provided in di and tripeptide form, or in the context of a high protein diet, I don’t know, it seems to be a subtlety not yet determined. I wouldn’t be concerned at all about there being a disadvantage of it being in there with a BCAA product at amounts such as well under half the amount of leucine. But no need for an exact ratio.

So for example, BlueCollarTr8n’s supplementation adds up to 7.5 g leucine, 1.5 g isoleucine, 1.5 g valine. No problem with these amounts whatsoever, sounds good.

Not meaning to hijack, but if I’m following this, http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/one_hundred_gram_carb_cure, would anyone advise using BCAA’s?

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
While it’s very widespread for authors to write about ratios of nutrients and people to look for ratios, in a large majority of instances what is important is amounts rather than exact ratios, or often even ratios at all.

So for example, BlueCollarTr8n’s supplementation adds up to 7.5 g leucine, 1.5 g isoleucine, 1.5 g valine. No problem with these amounts whatsoever, sounds good.[/quote]

Thanks for handling the heavy lifting Bill!

[quote]chobbs wrote:
Not meaning to hijack, but if I’m following this, http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/one_hundred_gram_carb_cure, would anyone advise using BCAA’s?[/quote]

Yes.

Another interesting aspect of BCAA that has only recently been explored is the potential effect on weight loss. During moderate protein intake (1.5 grams/kg of body weight per day) and a lower carbohydrate (100-200 grams/day) diet, an increased intake of BCAA is thought to have positive effects on muscle protein synthesis, insulin signaling, and sparing of glucose use by stimulation of the glucose-alanine cycle. This may lead to more fat loss and a greater sparing of lean tissue compared to a calorically-matched, higher carbohydrate diet.

Taken from:

^5 grams pre,intra, and post?

[quote]chobbs wrote:
^5 grams pre,intra, and post?[/quote]
http://www.T-Nation.com/portal_includes/suppLabels/bcaaPepSuppFacts.html

You could probably do that.

I’ll let Bill speak to that, if you’re not currently using a Biotest peri nutrition protocol that’s probably a really good idea to do 15g split that way.

Sure, that is a good addition.