The Best BCAA Supplements for Men Working Out To Build Muscle
If you’ve landed on this page, then building muscle means something important to you. And, when something is important to you, you take the necessary steps to master it.
In this case, the topic is branch chain amino acid supplements (BCAA Supplements) and how they can help you step up your physique and performance.
On this page we aren’t going to lie to you. When it comes to BCAA supplements, the quantity, purity, and ratio matters.
- So much so, that 90% of the BCAA supplements out there containing 5 gram formulas or less simply do not work. Period.
- But, at the same time. For those people that say “BCAAs don’t work”… We say bullshit. When in the PROPER DOSE, branch chain amino acid supplements can literally change the game if you’re willing to work a bit harder than the average bloke and stay consistent.
On this page, we’re going to explain to you how you ought to be taking BCAA supplements, as well as which BCAA supplements we’ve ranked as top of the top.
And let’s get one thing straight:
These BCAA recommendations are based on what has worked for us. If you are a slacker, don’t work hard, can’t stay consistent, and ‘just want to look good’ – then the BCAA supplements on this page, and exercise protocols we recommend, aren’t going to work for you.
You’re fucked, and you’re never going to improve.
But, if you’ve got fire in your blood… If working hard leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction every day. If you set out to build a powerful body for yourself and don’t care what anyone else thinks… Then you’ve clearly got what it takes to change your body, and based on this ethic you contain… Consistent and proper BCAA supplementation will make a noticeable difference.
We’ve made this page for you.
Straight Up – What BCAA Supplements Build Muscle?
If you want to build more muscle by using BCAA supplements, then the following rules apply. We aren’t making these up, they are either based upon science or anecdotal to bodybuilding. The same rules can be said for women, and our top 3 BCAAs for Women are here. The list is pretty similar.
- First off, protein still matters. BCAA supplements do not massively alter your daily protein intake need (unless you are taking a lot of them, typically to avoid calories from protein [technical]). Rather, BCAAs are a way to supplement amino acids during your workout; which protein isn’t the best choice for. For evidence supporting the importance of adding protein to your exercise program, check out this study where men only trained 4 days a week.
- If your exercises are burning large amounts of fat, BCAA supplementation can help preserve muscle. Research is leading us to believe that by increasing the amount of fat being oxidized in the body, the amount of amino acids broken down for energy also increases. This study found that BCAA supplementation kept the enzyme that breaks down your muscles into BCAAS in check during high fat oxidation exercises.
- BCAA Supplements help men to workout longer and reduce indicators of muscle damage. View this study ( or this one) to see how researchers determined that BCAA supplementation reduces muscle damage in young athletes.
- The BCAA dosage and ratio matters, above all else. If you are not getting at least 4 grams before your workout, you really shouldn’t expect to notice any benefit. And, if you are taking an actual BCAA supplement, you better expect it to be providing at least 6 grams of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio. If it’s not, and it’s priced the same as BCAAs that do contain 6+ grams… Then what are you doing?
The Best 10 BCAA Supplements for Men
10. Bulk Supplements BCAA Powder – ALERT –
Bulk Supplements has been caught misleading consumers with their BCAA supplement. Based on popular user reviews and reports, the advertised label and pictures are not what they really send you at this time. Until they fix this problem, it will remain bumped up to #10 from #2. For now, we recommend choosing a different supplement. Still interested? Here’s our initial review:
As no doubt many of you know, Bulk Supplements is a household name when it comes to sports nutrition and value-based supplements. But, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though. After all, its company title is quite literally bulk supplements. That said, they have a great track record of supplying more for less… and their BCAA supplement is certainly no exception to this.
See, each bag of Bulk Supplements’ (BS) BCAAs is just that and nothing else. It maintains an optimal 2:1:1 dosage ratio and has 100 servings at 5 grams per, although dosing is versatile. Even better, it’s 100% free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and junky additives, which is great.
Because BS BCAAs are free of everything besides.. well, BCAAs, it’s naturally flavorless. As a result, you can easily stack it with any other supplement or just add it to water no problem.
BS BCAAs Overview:
- Provides 333 servings per bag
- Instantized for better mixability
- Clinically proven 2:1:1 BCAA ratio
- Additive, sugar, soy, and gluten free
- Lab tested for quality and accuracy
- Exceptionally good value supplement
9. BSN Amino X Post-Workout BCAAs
Founded all the way back in 2001, Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition (BSN) has been at the forefront of the supplement industry for nearly two decades with no signs of slowing down. Designed with effectivity in mind, Amino X is the brands signature ‘destroyer’ class supplement that provides 10 grams of micronized powder between (2:1:1) BCAAs, taurine, and l-citrulline.
However, this great dosage comes at one major draw- proprietary blends. As a result, we can’t see what its individual doses are. While this would generally be a huge red flag in 99% of other cases, we’re giving Amino X the benefit of the doubt because it has 10 grams of key ingredients, optimal 2:1:1 BCAA ratios (confirmed on the bottle), and 2 separate grams of artificial flavoring.
That said, our experience taking BSN Amino X was nothing short of pleasant. We didn’t encounter any jitters or dreaded crash because it’s free of caffeine and any other stimulants. We bought our bottle (Strawberry Dragonfruit flavor) on Amazon for $17 which is a nice value.
BSN BCAAs Overview:
- 10 grams of BCAAs per serving
- Micronized to reduce clumping
- Offered in 30 or 70 serving sizes
- Available in 9 great-tasting flavors
- Stimulant free, no jitters or crash
- Better value than most comeptition
8. BPI Sports BCAA Powder
Historically speaking, BPI Sports is a brand that made a name for itself in an increasingly saturated market. That’s because, unlike other brands, they take their supplements seriously. This is largely apparent when we take a look at its overall value and what it has to offer its user.
For starters, you can expect to find a solid 5-grams of BCAAs in the optimal 2:1:1 ratio. At 30 servings per tub, it’s free of caffeine and also supplies 1 gram of CLAs (healthy omega fats!). While great, we found that its BCAAs are in an ‘oligopeptide form’ which is better than most.
Finally, in terms of taste, we quite enjoyed our tub of BPI BCAAs. We tested Watermelon Ice, although it’s available in a wide variety of more than 10 different flavors to choose from. It should be noted, that it achieves its great taste through artificial and natural flavors (and dyes). In terms of mixability, we took it in the suggested serving size and noticed it dissolved quickly.
BPIS BCAAs Overview:
- Contains 30 servings per tub
- Offered in 10 different flavors
- 5 grams of 2:1:1 BCAAs
- Has artificial and natural flavors
- Absorbs fast (oligopeptide form)
- No caffeine, free of stimulants
7. Evlution Nutrition BCAA Energy
Evlution Nutrition has a longstanding history and reputation of providing quality supplements. One of its more notable products, BCAA energy, is also among the most effective we’ve come across. We found that this is largely due to it providing the optimal 2:1:1 dose of BCAAs at 5 grams per serving. Each (standard) bottle contains 30 servings although you can upgrade to 65.
Additionally, it contains several other ingredients including 500 mg of CarnoSyn beta-alanine, 500 mg of l-alanine, 500 mg of taurine, and 110 mg between caffeine and green tea extract. At $20 per bottle, it’s definitely not quite the kingpin by any means but it’s certainly a great option.
That being said, it should also be noted Evlution Nutrition’s BCAAs get their flavoring from artificial and natural ingredients. This also includes food coloring. Beyond that, it tastes great, feels great, has a good dosage and is partially instantized to mix faster. Not too shabby.
EVL Nutrition BCAAs Overview:
- Includes 30 servings per container
- 5 grams of 2:1:1 BCAAs per serving
- Instantized for faster dissolution
- Contains several other ingredients
- Has artificial and natural flavors
- One of the highest rated on Amazon
6. MuscleTech Amino Build Next-Gen BCAAs
Found in almost any athletic supplement store, MuscleTech is a goliath sports nutrition brand. Coming in at $16, MT Amino rocks an admittedly low serving count of 15 per bottle if you want to get the advertised 8-grams of 2:1:1 BCAAs per serving. Of course, this also includes 440 mg in electrolytes, 2.5 grams of betaine, and 3 (1:1:1) grams of taurine, l-glutamine, and l-alanine.
While its dosages are by and large quite nice at 2 scoops per serving, it should be noted that this doesn’t come at a cost. This is because each bottle is $16, or roughly $1 per true serving. Furthermore, it’s also one of the highest average user-rated BCAA supplements on Amazon.
In addition to its great dosages, it should be noted that each BCAA is micronized. Basically, this means it’ll mix almost instantly in water. So you know, it gets its flavor and color from artificial and natural ingredients. It is, however, totally free of caffeine and any other type of stimulants.
MuscleTech BCAAs Overview:
- About 15 servings per container
- 8 grams of free-form 2:1:1 BCAAs
- Added 440 mg electrolyte blend
- 2.5 grams of betaine for endurance
- Clinically effective ingredient doses
- Has artificial & natural sweeteners
5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard BCAAs
When it comes to fitness supplements, Optimum Nutrition (ON) is somewhat of a kingpin. With roots dating all the way back to 1986, this globally renowned brand has become famous for its award-winning sports supplements that aim to improve its user’s performance and well-being. Gold Standard- the brand’s best-known lineup- BCAAs are certainly not an exception to this rule.
We believe this to be the case for several reasons. For one, it has decent value. Although there are certainly better options out there, ON doesn’t totally make use of their name and completely sacrifice ingredient dosage and serving size to secure a better profit for themselves. For $27 on Amazon, each bottle supplies 28 servings (1 full month supply) at 5-grams of 2:1:1 BCAAs per.
While the dosage isn’t something to rave about, it’s far from bad. It also includes 200 mg of Rhodiola extract, 250 mg of Wellmune™, and 220 mg of electrolytes for additional key benefits. Some of these benefits may result in better endurance, immune function, and hydration [X, X, X]. So you know, ON GS BCAAs gets its flavor and color from junky artificial and natural additives.
ON Gold Standard BCAAs Overview:
- Provides 28 servings per container
- 5 grams of 2:1:1 BCAAs per serving
- Uses artificial and natural flavors
- Lab tested free of banned substances
- Available in four different flavors
- 200 mg of Rhodiola for endurance
4. Naked Nutrition BCAAs
Naked Nutrition, or NKD for short, holds a very special place in our powder-laden hearts (and stack). When it comes to formula transparency, this brand is just that- naked – with nothing to hide. We believe that, when it comes to safety and purity, NKD BCAAs are nearly on par with #1. That’s because as NKD so nicely puts it, “additives are for their bottom line, not your health”.
That said, NKD provides everything you need and nothing you don’t. This is an attractive trait for athletes and those who care about health and how much of what they’re putting in their body. More specifically, each bottle of NKD BCAAs has 100 (2:1:1) servings at 5-grams per. Basically, this means no unnecessary artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, gluten, GMOs, soy, or caffeine.
In terms of flavor and mixability, we found NKD BCAAs performed quite well. Each vegan, pharma grade scoop mixed quickly and wasn’t clumpy at all. It tasted like tap water (neutral). The only negative we noticed was an odor upon opening it up. Although, if you’re taking NKD BCAAs, it’s more than likely because of the guaranteed clean nutrition- not the additives.
NKD BCAAs Overview:
- Supplies 100 servings per container
- 5-grams of 2:1:1 ratio vegan BCAAs
- No artificial sweeteners, flavors, or dyes
- Made by industry-renowned NKD Nutrition
- Only contains three active ingredients
- Amazing value ($10 per 30 servings!)
3. Scivation XTEND BCAAs
Scivation has traditionally been one of our most treasured ‘go to’ BCAA supplement brands, and we’re not alone. This brand has an (understandably) giant audience backing and supporting it. That’s because it has many of the best features we’ve come to expect in a quality supplement. A few of the biggest factors we evaluate supplements on are their value, effectivity, and safety.
What impresses us most about Scivation’s XTEND BCAAs though is its serving size. We found each bottle provides a full 30 servings of powder at 7 grams of (2:1:1) BCAAs with 2.5 grams of l-glutamine. It even has 1 gram of citrulline malate and an added electrolyte blend for hydration. However, while it doesn’t contain have carbs or calories, it does have artificial dyes and flavors.
Moreover, XTEND doesn’t contain any caffeine or stimulants to increase its stackability. It’s also vegan-friendly (fermented, not from duck feathers or human hair) and dissolves quickly. This is great for a number of reasons, but namely quality of life. For $22 on Amazon, it’s tough to beat.
Scivation XTEND Overview:
- Includes 30 servings per container
- 7 grams of 2:1:1 BCAAs per serving
- Additional 2.5 grams of l-glutamine
- Over 1-gram of added electrolytes
- 1 gram of (1:1) citrulline malate
- Clinically dosed, excellent value
2. The Genius Brand Vegan BCAA Powder
Like typical Genius Brand fashion, you won’t find just BCAAs in this supplement. While they’re of course included, the Genius Brand is simply best known for its brain enhancing ingredients. In addition to its 5 grams of BCAAs per serving (of which there are 21 per bottle), you’ll find a diverse selection of nootropics like taurine, l-citrulline malate, and cognizin to name a few.
What’s more, Genius Brand BCAAs are naturally fermented. Basically, this means they aren’t derived from animal sources (like human hair for that matter) and are 100% vegan-friendly. That said, Genius BCAAs are at their core a simple yet effective functional amino acid supplement.
When it comes to taste, Genius BCAAs left us wanting to drink more. A great comparison would be to that of orange juice or Gatorade- just without all the unnecessary junk ingredients. This is because it’s sweetened using organic, natural sources like monk fruit and stevia. For a product that doesn’t employ shady tactics and fully discloses their label, we’re quite satisfied.
Genius BCAAs Overview:
- Contains 21 servings per tub
- 2-in-1 nootropic BCAA blend
- Supplies 3 grams of l-glutamine
- Clinically effective 2:1:1 dosages
- Fermented for instant mixability
- Vegan, trademarked ingredients
1. Transparent Labs Core Series BCAA Glutamine
CoreSeries BCAA + Glutamine is easily one of our all-time favorites and with good reason. Made by one of the best leaders in sports nutrition, Transparent Labs, CoreSeries BCAAs has everything you’d expect from a premium-end supplement and nothing less. Let’s find out why.
For starters, CoreSeries Glutamine supplies a solid 1 month supply at 30 servings per bag. Moreover, many brands often sacrifice dosages to inflate their total servings. CoreSeries BCAA + Glutamine does not. Instead, it has 8 grams of clinically effective BCAAs at the optimal 2:1:1 ratio. It also shows the doses of its Other Ingredients. That’s as transparent as it gets folks.
While undoubtedly great, CoreSeries BCAAs have more to offer than just BCAAs. We found it contains a solid 5 grams of L-Glutamine in addition to its 8 grams of 2:1:1 BCAAs (Wow!) and even includes 1 gram of dried coconut water powder for electrolytes and hydration. Basically, this helps keep your muscles hydrated and recover faster, for longer. Finally, it’s completely free of artificial preservatives, dyes, flavors, gluten, and is non-GMO as well as fermented & vegan.
That said, it’s not hard to see why CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine stands tall at #1 on our rank.
TL CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine Overview:
- Includes 30 servings per bag
- Clinically effective 2:1:1 dosages
- Zero colors, fillers, or additives
- 100% Vegan-friendly!
- Premium fermented vegan BCAAs
- Complete ingredient transparency
The Bottom Line on BCAA Supplements
In the end, it can be (somewhat) tough to decide on which supplement is the best. Some may be better suited for certain individuals than others, so we found the best overall middle ground.
Regardless of which supplement you choose, you can rest assured knowing it’ll have benefits. That said, we’ve outlined and explained everything important you need to know about BCAAs.
If you’re a hard training athlete, BCAAs helps to enhance your sports performance, reduce muscle breakdown, and help to support weight loss. Whether you’re a vegetarian, have allergies or are somewhat intolerant, you can likely benefit from a BCAA supplement.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are BCAAs?
Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are the 3 essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Like other amino acids, they’re part of the building blocks of protein and makeup about 35% of your body’s lean muscle mass [X]. Because they’re essential, your body can’t make them on its own. The only way to get BCAAs is to consume a diet rich in them or from a supplement.
How can BCAAs help?
BCAAs work by acting as a sort of ‘energy buffer’ and help preserve muscle glycogen stores. Your muscle’s first preferred fuel source is glycogen. However, when glycogen reserves run low and the muscles are still under stress, they can start breaking down protein for energy instead. This would be more harmful than it would help as it’d increase recovery time and abate gains.
Because BCAAs help preserve glycogen stores, less muscle-protein is depleted. This results in benefits like significantly reduced recovery time, less lost muscle, and more lean muscle gains.
Are BCAAs safe to use?
For most people, absolutely! Branched-chain amino acids are naturally occurring in the vast majority of diets around the world and are necessary for proper health. Since BCAAs are the building blocks of protein, they’d be considered a macronutrient. A macronutrient is any type of nutrient the body demands in large amounts such as protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates.
That said, BCAAs have been heavily researched and are proven safe for general consumption. After all, they make up a large percentage of our muscle mass as is and are in our daily foods. However, when it comes to supplementing BCAAs, ensure you buy from a reputable, well-reviewed brand like the ones we’ve already gone ahead and thoroughly researched up above.
How many BCAAs should I take?
Optimal BCAA dosages range between 5-8 grams (per serving) in a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine respectively. You can effectively take them pre, intra, or post workout. While there are 3 different camps of thought, you can take it anytime and still have results.
What foods naturally have BCAAs?
Any food that has protein has BCAAs to some degree. Foods particularly high in BCAAs include animal flesh, fish, and eggs. Other rich, more vegan options are beans, dairy, seeds, nuts, soy, and legumes. It’s also in most grains, like wheat and rice. If you eat food, you’re getting some.