Should you take whey, BCAAs, or both? Are you missing out on gains if you don’t?

No-one doubts that these products can be effective for building muscle. But do you need both? Or is one better than the other? (for an extremely effective way to train to stimulate growth, click here to download my full workouts here – they are free)

It’s a big debate – Whey or BCAAs.

Personally, I don’t think there’s much of a debate. But if you want this issue cleared up and know what you need to do to maximize muscle growth, read this short article. It’ll only take you a minute.



Here’s my short answer: I don’t see any reason for taking BCAAs if you’re getting all the protein you need on a daily basis to build muscle.

The one time they are definitely recommended is when you are going unfed for a period and will still be training. Intermittent Fasting people utilize BCAAs around their workouts to good effect in this way.

Apart from that, I don’t take them.

When you buy BCAAs, you are getting the following amino acids:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

But you get these aminos in abundance from the protein you eat (and from whey). It begs the question: Would adding extra amounts of these aminos have an additional benefit?

Considering that the research [1] that purports to show such an advantage is carried out on people who are not already getting enough daily protein (about 50%), and other studies [2] are paid for by supplements companies with an “incredible” new BCAA supplement to market, things start getting a little doubtful.

Michael Matthews does a great job explaining the above issues and gives a no B.S. explanation as to why he thinks BCAAs are way overrated here.

Other studies [3] [4] show the opposite i.e. that whey alone is actually better at stimulating muscle protein synthesis than BCAAs. Researchers concluded:

“These results suggest that ingestion of WPH, compared with ingestion of a mixture of amino acids with an identical amino acid composition, induces greater changes in the post-exercise gene expression profile via activation of the proteins ERK1/2 and HIF-1α.”


“These results indicate that WPH may include active components that are superior to amino acids for stimulating muscle protein synthesis and initiating translation.”

Like I stated above. If you’re getting your daily requirement of protein from the best quality sources (including meat, dairy, whey), you are getting all the aminos you need in the correct quantities. Furthermore, taking whole protein alone may even be superior than taking it in conjunction with additional constituent amino acids.

For your information, the whey proteins I recommend are Optimum Nutrition Whey in the USA and Impact Whey from MyProtein for Europe.

To clarify, whether you’re “bulking” or “cutting”, like with my Total Six Pack Abs fat loss plan, makes no difference. Your total protein intake from quality sources is king here (unless you are fasting).

Couple intense training with quality sufficient protein intake and you’ll succeed. Download Targeted Hypertrophy Training and start growing like these guys did.  It’s 100% free. No catches…

Stay Motivated!



[1] Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.

[2] This study that supposedly produced steroid-like gains with BCAAs was actually unpublished (weird eh?). This is all I can show you of it.

[3] Post-exercise impact of ingested whey protein hydrolysate on gene expression profiles in rat skeletal muscle: activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jun 28;111(12):2067-78. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514000233. Epub 2014 Mar 6.

[4] Post-exercise whey protein hydrolysate supplementation induces a greater increase in muscle protein synthesis than its constituent amino acid content. Br J Nutr. 2013 Sep 28;110(6):981-7. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512006174. Epub 2013 Feb 7.

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You'll love your fast gains on THT!

Cool! Click here to take you to the download page. (or check your email for the download link)