How BCAAs/EAAs Relate To Recovery

Primeval Labs EAA Max

Recovery is one of the most important keys to progress for bodybuilders (and any athlete interested in building muscle). Pay attention to this next line – your muscles grow when they recover, not when you are in the gym. That’s because training is catabolic, which means you’re tearing down muscle tissue and depleting glycogen stores. To see growth because of your workout, you need to replenish what your body just lost while you were training. In this article, we’ll look at how BCAAs/EAAs relate to recovery. We’ll also look at other aspects of recovery so you can walk back into the gym rested and ready to go!

Don’t Overlook Recovery!

Recovery is often overlooked, and it’s important enough to repeat this phrase a few times – you make progress when you recover. If you want to get the most out of your training regardless of your goals or experience, do not underestimate the importance of recovery.


Factors Besides BCAAs/EAAs That Impact Recovery

Several factors affect recovery. These include your routine, which might use one of many typical training splits. Usually, your split of choice should allow 1-2 days of rest between workouts. It should also separate heavy back days and heavy leg days with a few days of rest. 


Why is this important?


If, for example, you do heavy squats on Monday, it would be foolish to come back Tuesday and do heavy deadlifts. The exercises are similar and hit many of the same muscle groups. It would make more sense to separate Pull Day and Leg Day with Push Day and a few days of rest. 


With a split routine, it’s possible to rest one area of your body while you exercise another area. For example, by “resting” your pushing muscles while training your pulling muscles, or resting from weights while you perform cardio. This is not ideal because you still need a few days of complete whole-body and CNS rest. Still, this is part of the beauty of a good split. Besides the split routine you’re using, rest, well-planned meals, and the right supplements all lead to proper, complete recovery. 

Don’t Forget Nutrition!

Total recovery means complete rest from training of any type. Whether you are an experienced lifter or new to working out, that means allowing your muscle soreness time to subside. It also means getting proper rest so you feel refreshed and ready to hit the gym on your next scheduled day. Finally, it means well-timed, quality nutrition that includes a lot of protein and complex carbohydrates. Your goals will dictate your macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fat) breakdown. Yet your intake of protein should never suffer. Also, remember that carbohydrates are important in the hours surrounding your workout. This approach means you can replenish the nutrients your body needs to perform at its best.


BCAAs/EAAs Immediately Post-Workout

We have seen that the overall picture of recovery is essential for maximum results. However, it’s equally important to look at the post-workout period immediately after you complete your training session. By this, I mean as soon as your last set is over, not 30-40 minutes later after you’ve gone home and showered. This is a window of time that typically consists of the first few hours post-exercise. While it has been accepted as “fact” for decades, the concept of a “post-exercise anabolic window” has come under scrutiny recently. It may be true that some light training situations may not demand an immediate shake or food immediately post-workout.

Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to begin the recovery process as soon as your last set ends if possible. Some lifters will have a shake packed with BCAAs/EAAs at the ready and drink it as they are walking back to shower and/or change. Certainly, you should try to have a high-protein, high simple carb shake within 15 minutes of completing your workout. This should be followed by a high-quality, clean, whole-food meal an hour and a half or so later. Never mind those that say this is a myth – what’s it going to hurt? Nothing, that’s what. No doubt you’re a little shaky and hungry – so why wait? Because some internet “guru” said so? If you’re hungry, drink that shake now, get home, and eat!

How BCAAs/EAAs Relate To Recovery

BCAAs, or Branched Chain Amino Acids, and EAAs, or essential amino acids, have been shown to support recovery as well as stimulate protein synthesis, which is a muscle growth trigger. They also help prevent catabolic aspects of training. Leucine, specifically, is the most powerful of any amino acid and the most important amino regarding protein synthesis. (1, 2, 3, 4)


For these reasons, it’s a good idea to take BCAAs/EAAs while you’re training as well as after you’re finished. You can add them to your pre-and post-workout shakes to help the body stay anabolic even before you begin your workout – and all the way to performing your last rep.  


A complete amino formula such as the ones found here may also contain electrolytes for proper hydration. You can also find post-workout formulas, such as Legion Recharge or NutraBio Reload, that will give you everything you need after a brutal workout. 



Don’t make the rookie mistake of thinking the more you train, the faster you’ll grow. Volume is important but it must be balanced with recovery. You have to give your muscles time to fully recharge and catch up to your motivation. Recovery should never be taken lightly or overlooked. It is one of the most critical keys to your success. Plan your recovery with adequate rest, quality high-protein whole-food meals, and BCAAs/EAAs. As always, has you covered!


  3. Jackman, S. R., Witard, O. C., Philp, A., Wallis, G. A., Baar, K., & Tipton, K. D. (2017, June 07). Branched-Chain Amino Acid Ingestion Stimulates Muscle Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following Resistance Exercise in Humans. Retrieved from


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