I'm fat adapted keto; meat, fat, and greens. No carbs; I'm sensitive and they make me feel hungry and irritable.
I have ZERO PROBLEMS motivating myself to push hard in the gym, ZERO PROBLEMS staying pumped to the last set, ZERO PROBLEMS with hunger or cravings, carb or otherwise, when I'm fasting, as facilitated by ketosis, ZERO PROBLEMS with staying energetic and awake when I need to be, and ZERO PROBLEMS eating/drinking whatever I need to be healthy, regardless of taste.
So, I don't need any crutches like BCAA to make me not feel hungry or give me extra power at the gym, or caffeine to give me energy or make me awake.
I fast from 9pm to 1pm on workout days lately, and lift heavy at 12pm, sort of leangains style, but no carbs. Most of the reasons I see posted for why people take BCAA are the above stated which I dont feel that I need. But, there is the question of muscle preservation, fighting catabolism, and protein synthesis.
I'm not going to be dogmatic about Paleo, for the most part. If it works, its up to each person to judge whether or not to be old school or try it out, as far as I'm concerned. Grok didn't have a commercial blender, and I sure love the ease of my raw beef smoothies with garlic.
But really, ancient man hunted when hungry, as do all predators. Their muscles didn't/don't waste away. We are no different. Can anyone show me hard evidence that taking BCAA truly preserves significant amounts of lean mass by taking it pre workout while fasted, or rather, that you'll waste away if you don't take it before a fasted training session? I've actually seen (can remember where, still looking...) it stated that BCAA actually shuts off autophagy. Are BCAA more needed when trying to gain mass, versus maintaining mass while cutting fat?
Seems to me people are rationalizing the use of BCAA as helping to preserve their precious muscle while training fasted, when the real reason is that they don't really have the energy, mental or otherwise, to train without it (and caffeine too, usually), or they get too darn hungry. I don't mean to be picky, but BCAA in your belly before training ain't exactly fasted.
When I train fasted, my energy goes through the roof! I will admit, I've never been able to gain much muscle. If I load calories and do a mass gain lifting cycle, I gain a scant amount of lean mass and more fat. When I cut calories and keep working out to cut the fat, I rapidly lose both the fat AND muscle and go back to where I started a tiny bit more muscular and a decent amount stronger; my body likes its set point and rapidly goes back there. Maybe BCAA would help.
What are the opinions?
EDIT I tried 10g BCAA 10 min pre workout at 12pm, fasted since 9pm the previous evening. I didn't notice anything positive frankly. Actually, I felt much LESS of a rush of exitement, as if adrenaline was muted.
Afterwards today, I feel all the lousy effects as if I ate a carb meal, from high insulin I suppose. I feel irritable, flush in the face, and HUNGRY, when normally I feel great. I have changed NOTHING ELSE about my routine.
EDIT I tried them again today. This time, the workout was very powerful and I felt less drained. Maybe I'm getting used to them.
If you want to gain more muscle, why not just try it for a while and see if it works? It likely won't cause any damage, right? Maybe a no regret move? If you want more of a whole food alternative, this site says that the whites from 2 hard boiled eggs will give you 8-10 grams of high quality proteins, including BCAAs:
It doesn't have to be BCAA why dont you just have like 50-70 grams of tuna or something instead(however that wouldn't be fasting). BCAA's are not necessary. What are you doing when you workout to cut fat diet and workout routine wise? eg reps, sets, rest. Taking BCAA's is also not fasting either and autophagy is a very helpful thing, it preserves muscle and improves its quality according to a study I read. As brad pilon always states (not a direct qoute) Its what you do in the gym which is responsible for muscle gain and its what you eat which is responsible for fat loss/gain. He showed a study which had 3 groups over a 10 week period:
G1: 'No weight training' 150g protein intake whilst on steroids= 6 pound increase in lean muscle mass. G2: Weight training 150g protein intake, no steroids= 4 pounds of lean muscle gain G3: Weight training 150g protein intake whilst on steroids= 8 pounds of lean muscle gain.
Now they all had the same protein intake despite people on steroids gaining an extra 2 and 4 pounds respectively of lean muscle mass. Obviously protein intake is not a hugely important factor as many and the fitness industry make it out to be.
If BCAAs are twice as insulinogenic as glucose as the following article suggests, the question then is: are they enough to cause a large enough insulin spike to bring a person into the fed state?
[ the link in to this statement Caton's article is dead. It was a quote from Alan Aragon: http://www.forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=961653&page=1 ]
My other concern would be whether large BCAA dosing could worsen or even cause leptin/insulin resistance.
I believe Martin Berkhan links to the scientific research he uses to justify his BCAA recommendations and explains why he doesn't consider BCAAs breaking the fast...
If your goal is to put on more muscle, I would think following Martin's recommendations would be worth a try at least.
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