Pushing through the pain of a tough workout is essential to see the kinds of gains most gym-goers crave, but to really get the most out of any routine, taking the proper supplements is just as important. Although the contents and effectiveness of products can vary widely, selecting the right ones for your fitness goals can have a huge impact on the returns you see after exercising. In recent years, it’s become common practice to use a variety of different fitness supplements at each stage of a routine – as pre-, mid-, or post-workout supplements – creating what’s called a “stack.” If you use this method, or if you’re curious about it, you might have some questions regarding how to work BCAA supplements or other popular products in with whatever you’ve been using so far. One example: Can you stack a pre-workout with BCAAs? To find out, keep reading as the experts at aminoVITAL® explain.

How to Stack BCAAs with a Pre-Workout Supplement

While what you choose to put into your workout stack is certainly important, when you use a particular supplement can be just as crucial. Many products are at their most effective at a certain point in a routine – for example, a mix of carbs and protein or amino acids works best as a post-workout supplement – so the first thing to establish when adding a new kind of product is where it goes in the timeline of supplementation.

With pre-workouts, the answer is simple: you take them right before you hit the gym, typically within about half an hour of starting your routine. This gives the supplement time to kick in while ensuring that you receive the benefits throughout your workout. Because they function differently than most pre-workout supplements, which tend to utilize caffeine or creatine, BCAAs make a great addition to your stack as either a post-workout or mid-workout supplement that can serve as a complement to your pre-workout. That’s because the effects of those BCAAs won’t pile on top of whatever you took before exercising.

Can You Use BCAAs as a Pre-Workout Too?

Absolutely. When taken as a pre-workout supplement, BCAAs can provide a steady, smooth boost in energy, saving you from the jitters, anxiety, and eventual crash that tends to come with popular high-caffeine pre-workouts. And BCAAs can provide other significant benefits when taken before exercise, such as the ability to guard muscle tissue against much of the damage inflicted during a workout.

Anytime you push your muscles, you inflict some amount of damage on them; work hard enough for long enough, and you could even force your body to break down muscle tissue to supplement fuel reserves. By adding BCAAs as a pre-workout or mid-workout supplement, you can limit these detrimental effects in two ways: by giving the body another fuel source with which to power your workout and by providing it with the amino acids – especially valine, one of the three BCAAs – that can stop the breakdown of muscle tissue. One study1 in particular showed that BCAAs are “especially effective,” in the words of the researchers, when taken before your exercise routine begins – in other words, as a pre-workout.

Adding BCAAs to Your Stack as a Mid-Workout or Post-Workout Supplement

Although there’s evidence that BCAAs can be potent as a pre-workout supplement, these compounds make excellent mid- and post-workout supplements, too, thanks to the muscle-building effects these amino acids possess. One BCAA in particular, leucine, is known for its role as the trigger for muscle protein synthesis – the process through which the body builds new muscles to repair, replace, and reinforce those damaged during your workout. By taking these compounds while you’re still working out, you can kick-start this essential process and improve the gains that result from exercise.

As part of a post-workout recovery drink, it’s clear why the muscle-building power offered by BCAAs would be appealing. After all, that’s the exact purpose of a post-workout: to fuel the body’s creation of bigger muscles while streamlining the repair process and reducing soreness. One additional consideration – and one that aminoVITAL® BCAA supplements address – is the need for a dose of simple carbohydrates in the aftermath of a tough workout.

These nutrients are required to replenish the body’s supply of glycogen, a form of glucose found in the muscles and used as the go-to source of energy during exercise. These supplies are finite, and they tend to run out before your routine has ended; this is why the body must sometime use muscle proteins as energy. Adding a small dose of carbs, such as those in our Rapid Recovery post-workout mix, to your diet right after exercising can help ensure that the glycogen in your muscles is topped off and ready to be used during your next trip to the gym. When stacking BCAAs with a pre-workout – or vice versa – keep these benefits in mind.

Consider Adding BCAAs to Your Stack to Maximize Gains and Protect Your Muscles

When working out, the last thing anyone wants is to damage the very muscles they’re trying to build up. While some damage is inevitable, adding BCAAs to your stack as a pre-workout, mid-workout, or post-workout supplement can help to prevent much of the wear and tear the muscles experience and improve your gains while shortening your recovery times. To learn more about the benefits of fast-acting, low-calorie BCAA supplements, visit aminoVITAL® online or call us today at (888) 264-6673.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28934166/


September 14, 2020 — amino VITAL

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