The Best Amino Acids for Working out, Muscle Growth and Recovery

Male and female muscular bodies with the title "The Best Amino Acids for Working out, Muscle Growth and Recovery"

In the past I have openly talked about my own experience with weight loss. This means that I know how hard it can be for anyone just starting out on their own journey.

Getting into shape can be a catch 22 for a number of reasons. First of all – you want to lose weight, but you don’t want to lose muscle at the same time.

Secondly, you feel like you need to work out as much as possible, but a big workout leaves you too sore to exercise for days afterwards. It can be hard to strike a balance, especially when you want results quickly.

One extremely popular way to combat these challenges is to try amino acid supplements. (source) Of course, supplements are not magic; they need to be used alongside a good diet and workout plan.

I’ve selected a few of the best amino acid supplements on the market for working out, muscle growth and recovery. If you’re considering using amino acid supplements but aren’t sure which is the right fit for your needs, then read on. I’ll cover who should use amino acid supplements along with the different types available and pros and cons for each.

Product
Details
Our Rating
Our #1 Rated
BSN Amino X

BSN

BSN Amino X

5 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category

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  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) refer to three specific amino acids - Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine
  • Offset Muscle Breakdown and Increase Muscular Endurance
  • BCAA recovery powder
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #1 Rated

5 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category


Our #2 Rated
BulkSupplements Pure BCAA

BulkSupplements

BulkSupplements Pure BCAA

4 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category

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  • PUMP UP FAST: Boost muscle growth and metabolism with this instantized BCAA branched chain amino acids powder that boosts...
  • MAINTAIN MUSCLE MASS: This 100% pure pre/post workout BCAA powder promotes protein synthesis, boosts lean muscle growth, and...
  • FAST RECOVERY: The essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine act as transport vehicles for faster absorption,...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #2 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category


Our #3 Rated
Sheer BCAA Capsules

Sheer Strength Labs

Sheer BCAA Capsules

3 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category

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  • BUILD MUSCLE FASTER: Because BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis, you'll add on muscle more quickly and efficiently, all while...
  • RECOVER FASTER: BCAAs have been shown to help your muscles recover faster, which means that they rebuild and show results...
  • MOST POTENT BCAA FORMULA: Not all BCAAs are created equally. Sheer Strength Labs offers a potent formulation of pure BCAAs
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #3 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category


Our #4 Rated
Natureganics MEGA BCAA Amino Acids

Natureganics

Natureganics MEGA BCAA Amino Acids

3 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category

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  • BOOST ENDURANCE
    Branch chain amino acids (BCAA's) are essential for the health of your body because they help lean...
  • GAIN MUSCLE, REDUCE FAT: 2 capsules per day aids in muscle growth, reduces body fat & builds energy
  • REDUCE SORENESS, RECOVER FAST: Rapid formula is best for fitness recovery & soreness reduction
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #4 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category


Our #5 Rated
Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

Optimum Nutrition

Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

3 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category

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  • 5 to 10 Calories & 0 Grams Sugar.  5 Grams of Free Form Amino Acids per serving.
  • 1 serving provides 100 mg of caffeine from natural sources (from Green Tea and/or Coffee Bean) to help deliver Focus and...
  • Have an Alexa device? Enable our "Optimum Nutrition Workout Recipes" skill!
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #5 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Amino Acids category

Who Should Try Amino Acid Supplements?

Maybe you’re just starting to make a serious effort to shed those extra pounds and want to get the most from your diet and workouts. Or perhaps you’ve been working hard for a while and want to workout harder, burn more calories and retain more muscle mass. Either way, you could potentially benefit from using an amino acid supplement.

What Can Amino Acid Supplements Do For You?

In the past few years, using branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements has become very trendy in the fitness community. Some people will tell you that once you realize what they can do for you, it will be like discovering a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow! Sounds amazing right?

These claims are not unfounded. More and more research is revealing the power of BCAAs. Their power surpasses that of many other popular supplements.

Probably the biggest advantage of using BCAAs for the everyday average Joe is that BCAAs help prevent your body from breaking down muscle.

If you’re dieting by restricting calories you’ll obviously lose weight, but, this will be through both the loss of fat and muscle. BCAAs help you maintain lean muscle mass while losing a greater percentage of body fat. (source)

Research has also shown that branched-chain amino acids have a number of other benefits when it comes to working out.

Firstly, they reduce the levels of serotonin you produce while exercising. In practical terms, you’ll feel less fatigued and will be able to work out harder for longer.

In addition, BCAAs can help you to build muscle as well as aid post-workout recovery.

How to Choose the Right Amino Acid Supplement

First and foremost, choosing the right amino acid supplement comes down to personal preference. Do you prefer to take supplements as a capsule or as a powdered drink? This is a major factor when deciding which amino acid supplements you’re interested in.

Unlike choosing other supplements where you can simply compare ingredients and choose the best, all branched chain amino acid supplements include the same three amino acids, i.e. L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine.

These are necessary to promote protein synthesis, supply muscle energy and preserve lean mass. (source)

The best advice I can give you when choosing the best amino acid supplement for working out, muscle growth and recovery is to go for the most pure option you can find.

Many supplements have extra ingredients like caffeine. In my opinion, these aren’t really necessary. Plus, there have been some controversial reports of a number of supplements including ingredients such as feathers and even human hair! Therefore, if you find a product with anything other than the essential ingredients, I’d avoid it.

Of course with that said, even after eliminating supplements with a complex ingredient list, there are still a wide variety of options out there. It’s not a straightforward choice!

Our Picks

To make things a little easier, I’ve looked around and narrowed it down to 5 of the best BCAAs on the market today. I’ve provided enough details for you to make your own decision and have also listed my own ultimate favorite. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

BSN

BSN Amino X

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This is another powder supplement that has very few negatives and a boat load of positives.

First of all, it is pure BCAAs with a massive 10 grams per serving. It comes in two sizes both at a great price. The smaller option is a good size to take with you to the gym. It also comes in a range of 9 flavors.

The only downside I have found to this product is that some people have said a couple of the flavors taste bad; however, other people have said they taste great! So I guess it’s a matter of personal preference.

Pros
Pro Pure BCAAs
Pro High dose BCAAs per serving
Pro Wide variety of flavors
Pro Range of available sizes
Pro Good price
Cons
Con The flavorings are not to everyone’s taste
 
 
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

BulkSupplements

BulkSupplements Pure BCAA

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
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  • Quality
    Our rating

This product is a really great option for people looking for a powder supplement. The thing that drew me to it most of all was the fact it is 100% pure BCAAs. It’s even lab tested to guarantee its purity.

This product that gives you best value for money and comes in a handy zip pouch.

The only downsides are that it contains a rather low dose of BCAAs, especially compared to the other powders available. Secondly, users report the taste as being repulsive when not mixed with something strongly flavored.
However, if you’re looking for a powder that you can mix in with your existing post workout shake; this might be the best option for you.

Pros
Pro Clean powder
Pro No additives or fillers
Pro Lab tested to guarantee purity
Pro Lots of sizes available for convenience
Pro Comes in zip lock bag
Cons
Con Low dose of BCAAs
Con Tastes bad
 
 
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

Sheer Strength Labs

Sheer BCAA Capsules

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
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  • Quality
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If you know that you definitely want a capsule supplement, this product could be for you. Probably the best capsule BCAA supplement on the market, they are made up of just BCAAs and nothing more.

They do however, come at quite a low dose per capsule of only 1.6 grams of BCAAs. Although, this could be a good thing to anyone using supplements for the first time.

There are very few negatives to this product as most people who have used them report great results.

Pros
Pro Just BCAAs, no additives
Pro Users report feeling more energized
Pro Users report having faster recovery from workouts
Cons
Con Low dose of BCAAs
Con Large pills could be difficult to swallow
 

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Natureganics

Natureganics MEGA BCAA Amino Acids

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
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  • Quality
    Our rating

This product is one of the best capsule options you can find for a branched chain amino acid supplement. It comes in a small light bottle that’s convenient to carry with your gym gear. The price for a one month supply is reasonable too.

One downfall of this product is the size of the capsules. They are quite large and some people find them difficult to swallow. If you struggle with swallowing pills, these may not be the best choice.

Another side note, this product contains gelatin. This means it’s not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

Pros
Pro Small convenient bottle
Pro Reasonable price
Pro Full month supply
Cons
Con Low dose of BCAAs
Con Difficult to swallow
Con Contains gelatin

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

Optimum Nutrition

Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
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  • Quality
    Our rating

This BCAA supplement comes in powder form which you can mix with water, which is very convenient for a lot of people. It comes in a range of flavors too.

One large tub offers 65 servings at a reasonable price. Plus it provides a really good dose of amino acids at 5 grams per serving.

However, this is predominantly an energy drink. It has 100mg of caffeine in each serving and a number of additives. Personally, I wouldn’t use this product, simply because I would only want the BCAAs without anything extra.

However, if you’re the type of person that likes to have an energy drink before you hit the gym and you want to ensure you’re getting proper levels of BCAAs, this is a great option.

Pros
Pro Reasonable price
Pro High dose of amino acids
Pro Over 2 month supply
Pro Range of flavors
Cons
Con High in caffeine
Con Lots of added preservatives
Con Flavors may not be to everyone’s taste
 

Which is Best?

Out of all of the 5 options I personally preferred the BSN Amino X. I would rather use a powder supplement made of pure BCAAs without any additives or fillers.

However,you may feel one of the capsule options would suit better. If you try one, let me know how it goes!

Also, if you’re experienced with BCAAs and happen to have a favorite I haven’t listed, please feel free to get in touch. It is always great to get feedback from our readers, especially if you have personal experience with any of the products I’ve mentioned.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4

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