What’s the difference?
Is there even a difference?
Which one do you need?
Is one better than the other?
If these are some of your questions, don’t worry.
Keep reading because I’m going to answer them in an easy to digest format. :)
All The Science
There are 20 amino acids that make up proteins.
Of those 20 only 9 are essential, which means that we have to get them from our diet because our body doesn't make them. Of those 9 essential amino acids, 3 are branch chain- Leucine, Isoleucine & Valine. Heres an analogy that I used in an Instagram post a while back- I like to think of those 3 branch chain amino acids as the captains of the ship. You need them to steer, however you can’t power the ship without the rest of the crew present.
BCAA’s stand for Branched Chain Amino Acids. Therefore BCAA supplements contain those 3 captains of the ship- Leucine, Isoleucine & Valine. BCAA supplements are only beneficial to building muscle IF the rest of the crew is already present. AKA the rest of the 20 amino acids. Sure they may help prolong the intensity of your workout and preventing some muscle breakdown, but they’re not an essential supplement.
A high quality protein powder will contain all 20 of the essential amino acids. Which means that your body will be able to build muscle & start the recovery process. AKA, The entire crew & captains of the ship will be present.
So, which do you need?
Well- depends on the scenario. For most clients, I’ll always recommend adding in a protein powder before BCAA’s because you’ll have all the amino acids your body needs to start muscle building. The only time I’ll typically recommend a client add in BCAA’s is if they’re diet is on point, they’re training at a high intensity 5-6 days a week & if they’re looking for a final boost on performance. Other than that, in my opinion, there’s other supplements that would benefit you more before adding in a BCAA!