Pre-Workouts vs BCAAs – Which is Better Before Your Workout?

Jeff Baldelli
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What are Pre-Workouts?

So you’re lifting weights and you’re ready to start your workout. But before you do, you pop a pre-workout. It’s just a couple of simple pills and you’re off. What goes on in your body after you take a pre-workout?

Pre-workouts are often packed full of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Now, it’s pretty difficult to pack all the essential amino acids into a tiny tablet so pre-workouts are often packed with things like L-Arginine, Beta Alanine, Creatine, and more. If you are unfamiliar with the benefits of these amino acids, they are pretty significant.

L-Arginine is responsible for increasing nitric oxide which might help with the dilation of blood vessels. This is useful for your heart and for your muscles. Nitric oxide helps to increase the blood flow to your muscles by sending a signal to blood vessels to relax and open up.

Creatine is the most widely recognized and widely used supplemental form of amino acid. This is because it helps your muscles retain water. This then increases the growth of muscle fibers. But your muscles also need energy to work, and that’s where BCAAs come in to action.

What are BCAAs?

Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs are a group of three essential amino acids. They are: leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAs have a few extra properties that are not shared by all amino acids. Firstly, they have a positive effect on protein synthesis. When consumed, the BCAAs are absorbed directly into your muscles.

BCAA studies have also shown that they reduce the rate of protein degradation, increase glycogen synthesis and reduce ammonia build up. They also reduce the feelings of fatigue and decrease the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. If a supplement is not “complete,” it will not contain all three essential BCAAs.

Most people will recommend BCAAs to a bodybuilder who tries to lose fat while they stay at a high level of protein consumption. BCAA’s fuel protein synthesis in your muscles and keeps them growing. A high level of protein consumption causes a high level of amino acid uptake which in turn, depletes the BCAA levels. This results in a loss of muscle mass. Supplementing with BCAAs will help you retain your muscle mass while you lose fat.

Pre-Workouts Pros and Cons

For someone that is just starting to get accustomed to weightlifting and the gym, there are a lot of factors to make sure that they are doing things the right way. Things like being properly hydrated and eating the right foods before your workout in order to gain energy is typically enough to ensure that your workout is going to be okay.

But, what if you couldn’t get enough of energy to finish your workout? What if your endurance just wasn’t enough to keep going? What do you do in that circumstance? Can you just ignore the problem and hope that it will go away? No! You have to do something to make sure that you can be motivated to get through your workout. Pre-Workouts are made exactly for that purpose!

The first thing you have to know is there are two very different types of pre-workouts that you can take and give you two very different types of benefits.

Synthetic Pre-Workouts

Synthetic pre-workouts are the most popular option out there. They provide you with a naturally high level of caffeine and L-Arginine, which aids in the blood flow to the muscles. This is supposed to get more oxygen and nutrients into your muscles, which helps them to grow faster, recover faster, and perform better.

Pros

You can take BCAAs before your workout if you want to maximize your results. Many experts believe that BCAAs are even more effective than artificially formulated pre-workouts because they provide your body with nutrients, most importantly amino acids.

Supplementing with BCAAs may also help you keep your calorie count in check while you work out.

If you do research online, you’ll see that most fitness experts recommend taking small amounts of BCAAs before a workout. This can lift your fitness performance in two ways.

First, developing lean muscle can raise your metabolism. This means that you burn more calories to maintain your weight than individuals with lower amounts of lean muscle.

In addition to this, high levels of lean muscle tissue also improve your metabolism. So whether or not you have an increase in lean muscle, supplementing with BCAAs can help you burn more calories when you work out.

BCAAs also help you recover more quickly.

Your body needs less time to recover after a workout when you have BCAAs in your system.

Cons

If you are a bodybuilder or even a recreational gym-goer, you are probably spending a lot of time at the gym. That means that you are doing different types of bodybuilding workout every day. BCAAs can help you with your pre-workout.

For some people, depending on how hard the workout is going to be, a pre-workout before bodybuilding workout may not be a good idea. Some of you may struggle with the key question of “what …s better for me, pre-workout or BCAA?” Don’t worry. This article is going to explain the reason why you should choose BCAA over pre-workouts, and at the end, you are going to see some reasons why it is a good idea to take your pre-workouts on an empty stomach.

So, if you are thinking about taking some pre-workouts before going to the gym, then you are probably wondering why these pre-workout pre-workouts are not such a good idea.

Before continuing with the article, you might want to refresh your knowledge by reading the article “what are the best BCAAs?”

BCAAs Pros and Cons

BCAAs are an essential amino acid and are commonly used in fitness and health circles. They come in many form, such as a powder or in liquid form, and they are becoming more popular with every passing day.

The main reason behind their popularity is their ability to boost your workout by way of suppressing your gag reflex or making you feel less fatigued.

Here are some of the pros and cons of BCAAs:

Pros

They improve your performance and stamina during a workout.

They increase your endurance.

They help you get leaner and burn fat.

They inhibit your muscle breakdown.

They delay your fatigue and lactic acid production.

They also lead to greater protein synthesis.

They decrease your workout time.

They save time by helping you burn fat faster.

They help maintain your body’s sweet-tooth-free status.

They help get rid of your sugar cravings.

They help lower your blood sugar levels.

They help induce autophagy, a process in which your body is able to heal itself.

They help your metabolism function more effectively.

They help prevent heart disease.

They lead to a healthier gastro-intestinal tract.

They have an anti-aging effect.

Cons

Taking them directly from their bag or container can, at times, be tricky.

Pros

You can take BCAAs before your workout if you want to maximize your results. Many experts believe that BCAAs are even more effective than artificially formulated pre-workouts because they provide your body with nutrients, most importantly amino acids.

Supplementing with BCAAs may also help you keep your calorie count in check while you work out.

If you do research online, you’ll see that most fitness experts recommend taking small amounts of BCAAs before a workout. This can lift your fitness performance in two ways.

First, developing lean muscle can raise your metabolism. This means that you burn more calories to maintain your weight than individuals with lower amounts of lean muscle.

In addition to this, high levels of lean muscle tissue also improve your metabolism. So whether or not you have an increase in lean muscle, supplementing with BCAAs can help you burn more calories when you work out.

BCAAs also help you recover more quickly.

Your body needs less time to recover after a workout when you have BCAAs in your system.

Cons

If you are a bodybuilder or even a recreational gym-goer, you are probably spending a lot of time at the gym. That means that you are doing different types of bodybuilding workout every day. BCAAs can help you with your pre-workout.

For some people, depending on how hard the workout is going to be, a pre-workout before bodybuilding workout may not be a good idea. Some of you may struggle with the key question of “what …s better for me, pre-workout or BCAA?” Don’t worry. This article is going to explain the reason why you should choose BCAA over pre-workouts, and at the end, you are going to see some reasons why it is a good idea to take your pre-workouts on an empty stomach.

So, if you are thinking about taking some pre-workouts before going to the gym, then you are probably wondering why these pre-workout pre-workouts are not such a good idea.

Before continuing with the article, you might want to refresh your knowledge by reading the article “what are the best BCAAs?”

What is the Difference?

Selective scientific authority, (aka experts) have put the pre-workout vs BCAAs debate to sleep for now. Both pre-workouts and BCAAs have the same goal – to boost performance, increase endurance and increase muscle growth.

What the difference depends on is the amount of caffeine that is added to the mix and type of amino acids used.

So, if you are sensitive to the usual amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee, then you may want to go with BCAAs. Another reason why you could go with BCAAs is that a lot of times the amount of caffeine in a pre-workout is not necessarily in line with your caffeine tolerance.

Some companies can go a little overboard. Take BSN SYNTHA-6 for instance. 95mg of caffeine in one scoop. For someone who drinks no coffee, that could be a lot.

With BCAAs, you can never really have too much amino acids in your system. But like we said, if you are sensitive to caffeine and want to experience less of it, then BCAAs could be good.

BCAAs – Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine — Because they are considered essential amino acids, they can not be synthesized by the human body and need to be taken in through the diet.

Can BCAA be Used as a Pre-Workout Supplement?

Branched-chain amino acids are commonly referred to as BCAAs. BCAA supplements are becoming increasingly popular because of their claims to help with increased performance, endurance and muscle growth. BCAA are popular among bodybuilders and serious fitness competitors.

BCAAs and workouts are great friends. In general, they don’t give the surge of energy such as you can with pre-workouts. However, after the workout is done, the BCAA levels tend to be higher. This brings down the amount of muscle protein breakdown.

This is exactly why BCAAs are popular for helping athletes reduce muscle damage and aid in recovery.

Bodybuilders like using BCAAs because they have a proven track record of reducing fatigue and increasing overall concentration. This helps you push through those final reps.

So how do BCAAs help in your workout?

They help increase blood flow and increase the ability of your muscles to receive the nutrients needed to recruit the right muscle fibers.

They can make up for the loss of amino acids during a workout.

BCAA reduce the amount of muscle depletion that would otherwise occur in your workout.

The BCAAs supplement can also help to regulate your blood sugar. These supplements are the best way to stop the spikes in blood sugar, which make you lightheaded and weak.

What are the substances found in BCAA?

Can You Mix Pre-Workouts and BCAA?

“Pre-workouts” are popping up all over the place. They are the workout supplements you take prior to your workout to give you more energy and help you work out harder. This may sound promising to those who are on the go and don’t have time to work out. They can drink the pre-workout, get a boost and then start the day.

Because so many people are looking to get energy for their workout, it’s difficult for anyone to ignore pre-workouts. But are they any good?

First off, what exactly is a pre-workout? Pre-workouts are composed of several different ingredients. But the two most common ingredients in pre-workouts is caffeine and L-Citrulline.

One thing you have to know is that caffeine and L-Citrulline have several studies proving they work. However, what is not known is the dosage of those ingredients. Some say that the ingredients are almost inactive when you take them on their own.

Final Thoughts

On Pre-Workout Versus BCAAs:

The idea of “supplementing” your workout seems to be becoming increasingly prevalent. It’s not uncommon to hear about a new “miracle supplement” that athletes are using to gain an edge. But how much do you really need to get that edge?

The best thing you can do is stay informed and do your own research. Don’t be afraid to ask an expert about what they use or what their workout routines are. You can also ask other people you admire what they use. Don’t be shy about asking your friends or your personal trainer for a few tips.

Exercise is a huge part of staying happy and healthy. Take time out of your day to make sure that you’re getting all of the benefits that you can. Don’t expect supplements to do all the work for you…it’s up to you to put in the effort to get the results that you want.