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Supplementation with BCAA's, Creatine, and Beta-Alanine?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 17, 2011 at 4:02 AM

So I avidly crossfit and have been looking to up my strength and muscle gains overall lately. I have been moving toward a more strength based training program and just was wondering about the effectiveness of Supplementation. I already use Progenex Recovery and More Muscle but have read a lot of positive feedback on gaining mass with these supplements.

Any insight on how helpful or detrimental they can be would be appreciated. Also brand reccomendations would be fantastic.

And I'm not concerned with the non-paleoness of supplementation. Paleo is based on science and so is supplementation.

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 17, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Awesome i will check out the supplements before i buy. Creapure seems to be recommended by everyone so ill make sure that i get a brand that uses it

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on September 17, 2011
at 03:54 PM

Coconut oil is only about half mct.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 17, 2011
at 02:31 PM

I use the SciFit pure BCAA powder. I usually keep it in baggies and take it straight washed down with water. One of the benefits to being a personal trainer is that people get used to seeing you with all sorts of powders and whatnot, otherwise, it would look pretty suspicious. Results-wise, BCAA has an immediate effect. It will forestall hunger until I can eat a proper meal (I don't snack outside of my 3 squares) and gives me energy during my workouts (no lightheaded feelings) especially when I'm fasted or low-carb.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 17, 2011
at 01:16 PM

That's the exact triple play I used to take. Whether I lifted fasted or fed I'd do: PRE-LIFT: 10 grams of BCAAs (Xtend Scivation) with .75 teaspoon beta-alanine. POST-LIFT: one serving ON Whey with one more .75 teaspoon of beta-alanine and a full 16oz of Zico coconut water and 4 pills of Twinlabs BCAA pills and one rounded teaspoon of Creatine (any brand, just make sure that the brand is using the Creapure version).

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 17, 2011
at 11:53 AM

it doesn't matter when you take it in my experience.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on September 17, 2011
at 11:30 AM

Even if you did eat that much I guess it comes down to timing as well. I can take creatine when I get up in the morning on an empty stomach, just before my workout, and it works straight away.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on September 17, 2011
at 11:28 AM

I have heard L-Glutamine is good for recovery and protein synthesis, but it is also supposed to be good for digestion and stomach issues. I have used ethyl ester creatine and really didnt find much difference, except for the price.

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 17, 2011
at 07:42 AM

Awesome, I was kinda hesitant to believe the loading phase was nescesarry. I know it's said that you don't need it if you use Creatine Ethyl Ester but from what I can tell that is still very deficient in research compared to Creatine Monohydrate. I'll check out BB.com I was already looking there anyway. What positive effect is L-Glutamine supposed to have? It's one of the non-essential AA's correct? How does increased Nitrogen uptake aid in muscle synthesis or performance?

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 17, 2011
at 04:48 AM

Thanks, i was looking at ast micronized for the creatine. What brands do you use for your bcaas and have you seen any positive results

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5 Answers

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3
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on September 17, 2011
at 12:05 PM

The only problem I've ever had with creatine is that it seems to mess with water retention. This isn't a problem at all, but it affects the crappy fat scale monitor that I own which I use to test whether what I'm doing works or not. (It then shows "EE" instead of an actual reading for fat %, muscle, bone and water.)

Whenever I take creatine, I am able to squeeze out a bunch more reps than I would otherwise. It's especially noticeable if I work out fasted, which is most of the time. From what I recall, creatine gives your muscles a bit more ATP to use as fuel as opposed to the limited glucose available.

If you're trying to add muscle, creatine is very useful. If you're trying to burn more calories, you might think that creatine would prevent this, since it provides a source of energy for them to burn, but, since it helps you do more work, it lets you tear more fibers, so in the long run, you build larger muscles that burn more fat anyway.

If you're doing the lean-gains intermittent fasting protocol (in my case I eat from noon to 8pm), BCAA's are useful in signaling the muscles to keep growing instead of going catabolic despite the fast (not that they would with a window that's only 16 hours which just exhausts the glucose supply and starts burning fat.)

Glutamine from what I understand (and I take it occasionally) can also be used to cut carb cravings. Brains can burn it instead of glucose and thus lower our cravings. But if you're in ketosis, you probably won't have cravings - unless you start eating too many carbs, in which case, you'll fall out of ketosis and start down the carb burning path, and thus crave. (BTW, I find that just BCAAs by themselves also cut food cravings when doing IF.)

Only danger with glutamine is if you've been diagnosed for cancer - in which case, some kinds of cancer cells can feed on the glutamine even if you're in ketosis. (Ketosis can be used to starve most kinds cancer cells.) If you don't have cancer, there's no danger to it.

The other thing I do during the IF is that I drink coffee in the morning and take about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil - this provides a fat substrate to burn without going the same path as normal fats (or carbs or proteins). While this sounds like it may be bad, it turns out the MCT's cause further fat to be burned due to the heart rate increase coconut oil causes.

I've had days where I've had 3 coffees with coconut oil this way and have had zero hunger and didn't even notice that I haven't eaten at all until 5pm, so I had to force myself to eat to prevent going catabolic. (There's also the problem of too much adrenaline release in that case.) I only do IF on the days I work out which is about 3x a week.

1TBS of coconut oil is ~14g of fat, so that's only 126 calories, so even with 3 tablespoons a day is it's only 378 calories, so on those days that I didn't eat anything until very late, it's less than 400 calories + whatever the meal will be, and since I still don't even feel hungry by that time and have to force feed myself, the actual meal would be less than 1000 calories from meats, so way under the avg required ~2000Kcals/day, thus results in fat loss and autophagy.

If you do this and notice signs of stress (such as fatigue or hair loss), back off the IF frequency, or add in more food, and maybe a little tiny bit of carbs on the non-IF days (under 50g).

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on September 17, 2011
at 03:54 PM

Coconut oil is only about half mct.

1
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on September 17, 2011
at 06:04 AM

Creatine is great, just take one tea spoon of micronised monohydrate pre workout and you will be fine. From what I have read the loading phase is a crock, you will just piss it out. The companies say to load so that you use more. I take it all the time, I don't phase on or off.

BCAA are great for recovery. Take them during and after your workout. I take about 10-12 grams mixed in water and lime juice. They are not water soluble, so the citric acid in the lime juice will help them mix. Then drink during your workout.

bodybuilding.com has their own house brand called Cheap Supplements and they sell 100% pure BCAA and creatine monohydrate, with no fillers.

I am also thinking of adding L-Glutamine into the mix.

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 17, 2011
at 07:42 AM

Awesome, I was kinda hesitant to believe the loading phase was nescesarry. I know it's said that you don't need it if you use Creatine Ethyl Ester but from what I can tell that is still very deficient in research compared to Creatine Monohydrate. I'll check out BB.com I was already looking there anyway. What positive effect is L-Glutamine supposed to have? It's one of the non-essential AA's correct? How does increased Nitrogen uptake aid in muscle synthesis or performance?

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on September 17, 2011
at 11:28 AM

I have heard L-Glutamine is good for recovery and protein synthesis, but it is also supposed to be good for digestion and stomach issues. I have used ethyl ester creatine and really didnt find much difference, except for the price.

0
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 17, 2011
at 10:57 AM

If you eat ~1lb meat/day you have no reason to supplement creatine, if not its definitely a supplement I would take.

Find a brand that uses creapure as these ones are certified pure and free of the heavy metals that are in most powdered supplements.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on September 17, 2011
at 11:30 AM

Even if you did eat that much I guess it comes down to timing as well. I can take creatine when I get up in the morning on an empty stomach, just before my workout, and it works straight away.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 17, 2011
at 11:53 AM

it doesn't matter when you take it in my experience.

0
C3edabc6267abec9b5f8178e5d73552c

(725)

on September 17, 2011
at 05:09 AM

beta-alanine before workouts definitely helps, but start with less and see how it works for you. It can cause a tingling sensation that some people find really uncomfortable.

0
Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 17, 2011
at 04:23 AM

Creatine will definitely make a big difference on low-rep/max lifts. I always get really strong when I take it (especially after the loading phase). Go with the micronized version of monohydrate and hydrate a little more than usual to avoid cramping.

I've been using BCAA lately, primarily to give my body something to run off of when taking on training in a fasted state. I'll usually take 10gms pre-workout.

I have not used Beta-alanine, so will defer to someone else's experience on its effectiveness.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 17, 2011
at 02:31 PM

I use the SciFit pure BCAA powder. I usually keep it in baggies and take it straight washed down with water. One of the benefits to being a personal trainer is that people get used to seeing you with all sorts of powders and whatnot, otherwise, it would look pretty suspicious. Results-wise, BCAA has an immediate effect. It will forestall hunger until I can eat a proper meal (I don't snack outside of my 3 squares) and gives me energy during my workouts (no lightheaded feelings) especially when I'm fasted or low-carb.

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 17, 2011
at 04:48 AM

Thanks, i was looking at ast micronized for the creatine. What brands do you use for your bcaas and have you seen any positive results

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