To anyone who’s ever been in a GNC or supplement store, it’s pretty clear that there are a huge amount of energy supplements out there marketing to athletes and gym goers. They can range from preworkouts loaded with sugar and caffeine to natural herbal supplements targeting older people with anti-aging goals in mind. With all the choices out there, it’s amazing anyone can make up their mind about what supplement to take.
At the end of the day, it clearly comes down to what goals you have in mind. I wouldn’t recommend that my grandmother take Cellucor, for example. For me, I already have a couple preworkouts that I take regularly, so I’m pretty set there. Plus, if I need energy at all, I usually rely on my daily cup of coffee. Still, I’m always up for trying something new.
In addition, I’ve been looking into my nutrition a little more lately, and I decided to start supplementing with BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids). I’ve been having a little trouble with recovery after workouts lately. Nothing major, but I’ve noticed I’m not quite as fresh as I usually am the next day. I’ve noticed greater muscle soreness as well as slightly less energy as well, especially on days after particularly taxing training sessions. I haven’t let it keep me down too much, and I’ve just been pushing through it. Nevertheless, I obviously want to knock it out if I can.
So I looked into some ways to boost recovery, and I came across BCAAs as a solid option. My nutrition from my diet is pretty good I would say. I get a balanced intake of carbs, protein and fats on most days, plus I supplement with ON Whey after workouts. However, I saw that some people having similar less-than-stellar recovery issues like me got some decent improvements from supplementing with BCAAs. Apparently, they can also help with recovery during exercise as well, helping you push out another rep or 2 or maybe an extra half mile. I decided to look into it.
Much like the preworkouts, there are a ton of BCAA supplements out there as well. However, they are priced far lower – I was seeing many for under $10. Given the fact I’m a big fan of Optimum Nutrition and their whey protein, I decided to give their BCAAs a try. I chose their Essential Amino Energy because it also comes with caffeine in the form of Green Tea and Green Coffee extract. I really wanted to see if it would make a difference during my workouts in addition to after, so I chose to forgo my usual cup of coffee preworkout in the morning for 30 days and instead have 2 scoops of Essential Amino Energy mixed with 12 ounces of cold water.
I bought the blue raspberry flavor, and fortunately, I think it’s really good. Sometimes the artificial taste of these workout supplements can make you cringe, but I actually didn’t mind this one at all. Even in the morning, it didn’t bother me.
Anyway, I put this stuff through my usual 30 day challenge to see if it actually helped. I wasn’t sure if I’d see results either way, and I didn’t really know what to expect. By the end of the month, though, I think I can safely say that it did have a positive effect. I noticed that my recovery actually did seem to be improving by around the start of the second week. Also, it may have been helping my performance during training a little as well. However, I’m not totally sure whether that’s thanks to the BCAAs or just the caffeine. Either way, I’ll still take it.
Overall, I would recommend this as a great BCAA supplement to anyone who’s looking for some help with recovery and needs a little energy boost to go along with it. Again, I really liked the flavor, but if you’re someone who can’t stand the artificial tasting flavorings of these types of workout supplements, then you probably won’t like this. Then again, most every brand of supplement of this type will have similar flavorings, so you might be out of luck if that’s a no go for you. I’d recommend trying a different flavor if that’s the case, and blending it with a smoothie.