What's The Difference Between BCAAs and Whey Protein?
If you’re new to the world of bodybuilding, athletics, and supplements, you may have some questions about all of the different products available for your consumption – and which ones you need to be taking.
The question of BCAA vs. Whey Protein is a common one. Many people don’t understand the difference between the two. What’s the difference? Do they need to take both? Which is better?
In this article, we’ll answer all of your questions about the debate between BCAA vs. Whey Protein. Let’s get started now.
What Is Whey Protein?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Whey protein is extracted from the whey that’s left over after milk is curdled and strained. It’s high in readily bioavailable protein, and a good way to supplement your diet if you need more protein than you can get from foods like meat, beans, tofu, and dairy.
Because of this, many trainers and fitness experts recommend taking whey protein regularly, especially before workouts, to ensure that your muscles are energized and that your athletic performance is maximized.
In addition, whey protein is very good for repairing the muscular “microtears” that result from a heavy workout, so they can aid recovery, and ensure that you do not suffer from excessive soreness or muscle weakness post-workout.
BCAAs - Understanding The Basics
BCAAs are also protein – but they are an incomplete protein. All proteins are made up of some kind of amino acid. BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acid.
BCAAs are a specialized type of amino acid, thought to promote protein synthesis, and enhance athletic performance, and promote lean muscle growth.
As a rule, BCAAs have a lower caloric content than whey protein, which makes them better if you are trying to cut weight while still maintaining muscle. They are also more readily available than whey protein is, and can help premature fatigue when training fasted.
Do I Need To Use BCAAs?
Well, that depends on a few factors. First, BCAAs are much more expensive than whey protein. A 10 ounce can of BCAA supplements usually costs around $30 from a high-quality manufacturer. For comparison’s sake, you can get a 5 pound tub of whey protein for under $50 – meaning it’s a much better deal.
If you are maintaining a caloric deficit and attempting to lose weight while preserving muscle, you may want to use BCAAs instead of whey protein.
But, for most people, the debate between BCAA vs. protein shouldn't be a debate at all. You can use both supplements – because they work together in a complementary way.
Many folks who use both whey and BCAA report better results. You can mix a scoop of BCAAs with your pre-workout shake, and then after you’re done lifting, you can enjoy a protein shake – ensuring that you get the best of both worlds.
If you can’t afford BCAAs or don’t want to drop the money on them, though, don’t worry. Though they are helpful, they’re in no way essential to better athletic performance. You can get great results while just taking whey protein powder.
Just Remember - Supplements Are Supplemental!
Some folks in the fitness community get very serious about taking the right supplements. But, especially as a beginner, you need to realize that supplements are not essential.
As long as you work out regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet, you will see great results in the gym – whether or not you take BCAA vs whey protein!