BCAAs and creatine dominate the world of sports supplements.
Both play a unique role in muscle building, performance, and energy but is one necessarily better than the other?
Let’s take a look at the benefits of both and see how BCAAs and creatine stack up against each other when it comes to building muscle, increasing energy, sports performance, and fat loss.
Which one should you buy?
In this article we’re going to see which one comes out on top for;
- Building Muscle
- Increasing Energy During Workouts
- Boosting Sports Performance & Strength
- Fat Loss
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are categorized as branched-chain amino acids, also known as BCAAs, the building blocks of muscle tissue.
In particular, one of the key benefits of leucine is increased levels of protein synthesis, an essential process for muscle growth.
BCAAs also support muscle-building by protecting against muscle wasting.
Studies show that BCAAs have an anti-catabolic effect, which means they protect lean muscle tissue from being used as fuel.
Creatine has its own ways of supporting muscle-building.
First, creatine is broken down into a compound called adenosine triphosphate, the preferred fuel source of muscle tissue during workouts.
When you take creatine before or during a workout, you are providing an immediate supply of usable energy to muscle tissue. Creatine has been shown to support strength and power output, which is important for triggering hypertrophy.
Creatine also triggers the release of the anabolic hormone, IGF-1.
The term anabolic refers to a growth environment in muscle tissue. When levels of IGF-1 are elevated, the result is greater gains in muscle mass.
Overall if your goal is the build muscle then creatine is the winner!
Increasing Energy During Workouts
BCAAs are now found in many pre-workout supplements because of their ability to support energy levels. Studies show that BCAA supplementation can reduce exercise fatigue.
Creatine also supports intra-workout energy levels by providing an immediate source of fuel to the muscle tissue.
As mentioned above, creatine is broken down into ATP and can be rushed into the muscle cells for more energy and better performance while exercising.
For boosting energy during workouts creatine is the clear winner!
Sports Performance And Strength Gains
Energy levels aside, can BCAAs or creatine directly support performance in regards to strength, power, and actual measurable results?
In one study, subjects were given either a BCAA supplement or a whey protein supplement.
At the conclusion of eight weeks, subjects were tested in their 10-repetition maximum for gains on the bench press and barbell squat.
Researchers found that the BCAA group had significantly higher strength gains than the whey protein group.
Another comprehensive research review looked through 22 creatine studies to find an average for gains in performance.
Researchers concluded that subjects taking creatine during resistance training experienced up to a 20% increase in strength.
Some subjects saw a 45% increase in their bench press performance thanks to creatine!
Creatine and BCAAs are both great for improving performance and increasing strength but creatine does seem to give you more of an edge.
Creatine wins again!
BCAAs are a great way to support weight loss and maintain a healthy goal weight. Studies show that diets rich in amino acids are correlated with a lower risk of obesity.
What’s more, leucine has been shown to be an effective appetite suppressant while supporting a higher level of metabolism or calorie burning.
And with creatine—once thought to only be useful for gaining size—a relatively new study suggests it can also support fat loss while supporting muscle building.
For fat loss the winner appears to be BCAAs!
BCAAs vs. Creatine: Which One Should You Buy?
Based on our findings, here are the results again:
- Building Muscle: Creatine Wins.
- Increasing Energy During Workouts: Creatine Wins.
- Sports Performance And Strength Gains: Creatine Wins.
- Fat Loss: BCAA’s Win.
So when it comes down to it, which of the two should you go for?
Although creatine has come out on top for 3 out of 4 of the categories above that doesn’t mean you should overlook BCAA’s because they’re great for recovery and muscle repair and you should definitely consider taking both if you want to get in the best shape possible.