BCAAs vs protein powder: Improve lean muscles mass

Supplements are a great way to help your body bounce back after a hard workout. Which is better for building lean muscle?

Should you be taking branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) or protein powder?

Are you missing out on muscle growth if you aren’t taking one or the other?

Optimum Nutrition BCAAS vs protein powder on counter

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If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough protein, BCAAs and protein powder supplements could be a great way to get in your daily protein intake. 

How much protein do you need?

The average person needs 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Many endurance athletes and people who include heavy strength training workouts need around 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight because of their workouts.

Protein assists with building muscle mass through muscle repair while providing the building blocks for muscle growth, skin and bones. Meat, fish, dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds are some of the most common protein sources. 

What are BCAAs?

Branched-chain amino acids are three of the nine essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

There are more than 80 amino acids but our bodies only use 20.

Eleven are non-essential amino acids. You do not need to supplement with them because your body makes them up. The other nine are essential aminos; you need to get them through food or supplements.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and protein is a building block of muscle. They play an important role in post-workout recovery and lean muscle growth.

Taking branched-chain amino acid supplements can significantly decrease muscle soreness while assisting with building muscle. Unlike protein supplements, 

When should you take BCAAs?

While BCAAs can be taken both prior to and following your workout (within a 30-minute time frame on either end), for optimum results they should be consumed during your workout. Mixing 10 grams of BCAAs with water will not only help build endurance and muscle synthesis but it also provides a refreshing drink for your workout session.


Amino Energy

Get a boost of energy and muscle recovery. Each serving provides 100 mg of caffeine and 5 grams of amino acids.

Essential Amino Energy + Electrolytes Sparkling

Amino Energy Sparklin

Sparkling Amino Energy hydration drink. Each serving provides 100 mg of caffeine and 5 grams of amino acids.

What is protein powder?

Protein supplements come in many forms, the most common of which is protein powder. Protein powder is a popular workout supplement that can be made from either animal or plant sources.

Protein powder helps you ensure you’re getting the amount of protein you need in your diet, especially if you are an athlete or trying

Casein, whey protein powder and pea protein powder are three of the most common types of protein supplements. All three contain complete proteins, providing optimum support for muscle tissue repair and growth. Pea protein powder is one of the most popular plant-based protein supplement options. 

Here’s a brief overview of each option: 

  • Whey Protein: Whey powder contains proteins isolated from whey, which is a byproduct of cheese making. Whey protein is readily bioavailable, allowing quick absorption. 
  • Casein Protein: Casein makes up 80% of the protein found in cow’s milk. It is slower to absorb, which is ideal for prolonged protein release to aid in muscle recovery overnight or for extended periods without food. 
  • Plant Protein: Plant-based, vegan, no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners.

Who needs protein supplements?

If you are unable to reach the recommended 90 – 120 grams of protein a day through food intake, then protein powder supplements offer an easy way to add all the essential amino acids your body needs into your diet.

Protein powders can be blended into smoothies, added to pancake mixes, oatmeal and more.

Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein

Whey Protein

Provides 24 grams of protein. Pick from more than 20 different flavors. 

Naturally Flavored 100% Casein


A slower digesting and absorbing protein, compared to whey.

Gold Standard 100% Plant Based Protein

Plant Protein

Plant-based protein with 21g of protein. Only 150 calories.

Bcaas vs protein powder: What are the differences?

BCAAs and protein are very similar.

Protein contains all twenty amino acids, while BCAAs only give you three out of the nine essential amino acids. A quality whey protein powder will give you all nine amino acids.

BCAAs are a quick energy source when the body needs it most.

Proteins have several important roles including helping repair tissue, forming important enzymes and hormones, as well as acting as “building blocks” for many different tissues and organs in your body, including your muscle. 

Proteins are complex molecules that are made up of different combinations of individual amino acids.

You get a more complete amino profile when you include protein powder into your routine.

Do you need BCAA supplements if you can get them in protein powder?

The speed that you are able to use those aminos.

BCAAs offer a wide variety of benefits such as supporting quicker muscle recovery and repair post-workout, helping to increase energy levels, added muscle building potential, increasing strength and power and even preventing muscle loss while dieting.

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