Diet & Nutrition

When we think intra-workout supplementation, we often find ourselves thinking BCAA, BCAA, BCAA, but what about Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)? For years we’ve been led to believe that BCAAs are all you need for intra-workout supplementation, but research shows that isn’t the case [1].

BCAA use has been promoted in various manners:

  1. All day sipping, which turned out to blunt MPS (muscle protein synthesis) signaling. This is counterproductive to muscle growth and recovery, and thus should not be promoted as a way to flavor your water.
  2. Intra-workout usage. This is not helpful since it takes all of the EAAs to reap the benefits of intra-workout use (see article below).
  3. Using BCAA’s between meals to signal muscle protein synthesis. This would be beneficial for those in a caloric deficit as an “anti-catabolic” agent, but once again does not work (see reference 1). Dieter et al. (2016) found that the usage of BCAAs does not lead to an increase of fat-free index in those dieting while supplementing with BCAAs [1]. This is a finding consistent with lots of BCAA studies [2].

Essentially BCAAs are not the Holy Grail we’ve been led to believe by supplement companies.

What does Leucine do?

Leucine itself is a tricky beast. Leucine can increase MPS by 30%. Leucine, in theory, works because it is a rate-limiting step in protein synthesis. By supplementing Leucine, you get around the rate-limiting step. Rate limiting step, in this case, refers to the means in which a process is limited (i.e. without more leucine, MPS rates are limited). This is due to an intracellular anabolic signaling, which is increased when leucine is supplemented. Leucine, however, is not the only important component of this process as it does require the other Essential Amino Acids to work best. A major limitation in these studies is that in humans skeletal muscle is a small amount of your total body mass [2].

What about EAA’s?

A 2011 study performed by the US military (meaning these are very fit individuals) studied the effects of EAA supplementation during endurance exercise; they were interested to see the effects of EAA supplementation on postexercise skeletal muscle metabolism. This study examined the effects of 10 g of EAAs in two different groups: a 3.5g Leucine group or a 1.87g Leucine group [3]. Subjects performed one hour of slow steady state (endurance) exercise while consuming their BCAA/EAA mixture over the course of two weeks.

The interesting finding of this study was that muscle protein synthesis (MPS) was as much as 33% greater in the 3.5g Leucine group than the 1.87 g leucine group. This shows that leucine amount is key to activating MPS. They also found that whole body protein breakdown was lower. So you may be thinking to yourself, well that’s pretty common sense, leucine activates MPS so what makes this study unique?

  1. This study was done by the US Military, so there is no inherent bias from the funding source.
  2. This study shows the importance of Leucine and shows that the ratio of BCAA’s is not important.
    For years, people have touted the so-called “2:1:1” ratio as best (oddly enough, a majority of research is actually not using the so-called “2:1:1” ratio that is being touted as best [4]), but this study shows that ratio does not matter. The high Leucine group in this study used essentially a 4:1:1 ratio (refer to figure 1). This study shows as long as you get enough EAA’s, Leucine content is what’s most important, not the ratio. This study also highlights the importance of EAA’s during endurance exercise; an area of research that BCAA’s alone have been unable to do so far.
  3. The lack of Carbohydrates. A large number of studies investigating the effects of BCAA’s confound the research findings by including Carbohydrates with their BCAA or EAA mixture. Not all athletes consume carbohydrates during exercise, making the findings of those studies difficult to extrapolate into real-world results. We currently live in an industry that is petrified of carbohydrates even though they have lots of ergogenic potential.
eaa ratio chart
Figure 1

Why are these findings important? Unlike resistance exercise, endurance exercise is truly catabolic. Endurance exercise results in lower rates of MPS and plasma Leucine concentration [3]. This means when you are performing endurance exercise, not only are you deficient in plasma Leucine content in your bloodstream, but you are also deficient in stimulating muscle protein synthesis as well. This one-two combination can have a major catabolic effect on your body. The data from the US military study indicates that increasing Leucine availability during endurance exercise promotes skeletal muscle protein anabolism and spares endogenous protein. This prevents the catabolic effects of endurance exercise.

What about protein?

According to the U.S. Dairy Council, Whey Protein offers the highest concentration of BCAAs of any dietary source of Protein at about 26 g of BCAAs per 100g of Protein. Whey protein itself has a multitude of benefits and has the optimal amount of BCAA’s/EAA’s one would use when using an intra-workout product. This means if you are simply low on money, Whey Protein is your best chance to make sure you are getting an increase in muscle protein synthesis rate (refer to figure 2). It is important to note that BCAA & EAA products provide “free form” amino acids, so they do not count towards your daily protein intake, and that they do contain calories unlike what you see on most supplement facts for most Amino products.

Whey Protein EAA Ratio
Figure 2

Take Home Message

So what’s the take-home message? Well, if you are going to take additional amino acids in your diet through a supplement, there are only two things you really should look for:

  1. Leucine content. Know how much you are consuming. Take at least 2.5 g or more.
  2. Take Leucine with additional EAAs. Also make sure you take the full 10 grams, which does include the Leucine content.

Do not just take BCAAs, because if you are going to be supplementing, you should supplement what is needed…Essential Amino acids with a high Leucine content. Anyone selling an EAA product with a proprietary blend under 10 grams is not doing you any favors.

Product Recommendations

intra-blast-productThe top supplement in this category hands down is NutraBio Intra Blast. Intra Blast is the gold standard for Essential Amino Acid products and has been for years. It features a full 10g EAA’s (including an optimal dose of Leucine at 3.6g) along with Glutamine, Betaine, OKG, Taurine, and Electrolytes. Other EAA products sometimes cost less but do not offer the optimal Leucine dosage or overall EAA dosage.

Shop All EAA's



  1. Dieter, B. P., Schoenfeld, B. J., & Aragon, A. A. (2016, May 11). The data do not seem to support a benefit to BCAA supplementation during periods of caloric restriction. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. BioMed Central Ltd.
  2. Wolfe, R. (2017). Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?. J Int Soc Sports Nutri 14:30.
  3. Pasiakos, S. M., McClung, H. L., McClung, J. P., Margolis, L. M., Andersen, N. E., Cloutier, G. J., Pikosky, M. A., et al. (2011). Leucine-enriched essential amino acid supplementation during moderate steady state exercise enhances postexercise muscle protein synthesis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94(3), 809-818.
  4. Norton LE, Layman DK. (2006). Leucine regulates translation initiation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle after exercise. J Nutr. 136:533S–7S.

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Boost test by running

All men agree that testosterone is everything for them and there’s no exaggeration in this
statement. They are meant to spread their seed, make a family and protect them. However, it’s
worth knowing that besides maintaining a good sex drive, testosterone is also the key element in
building muscle and maintaining body fat below the line. Furthermore, some studies even show that having a good level of testosterone can also prevent men from health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even depression. With aging though, things change and the level of testosterone is seriously affected unless you do anything to avoid this. Here’s a list of ten unusual, yet highly effective ways you can increase your testosterone.

Pay Attention to Your Posture

You may find this intriguing, but the
way you sit on the chair or stand up has a lot to do with your testosterone. According to some
recent studies performed by people at both Columbia and Harvard University, body posture and cortisol are strongly connected and two minutes of exercising a day can actually make the
difference between good and bad level of testosterone. If you didn’t hear about “High power
posing”, it’s time you had. The way you sit can give you more self-confidence and make you feel
more powerful, which directly affects and increases your testosterone by up to 20%!

Win More!

Believe it or not, men who tend to win more also have higher testosterone levels. Whether
you win when playing various games, when participating in different competitions or for instance
when winning even small amounts of money in the lottery, all of these have a great influence on
your body. At least this is what the University of Nebraska says after measuring both cortisol and
testosterone levels in 6 university tennis players. Scientists followed the players across all their
matches during an entire season and in the end, they reached the astonishing result – winning and
cortisol are highly connected. Before most matches, players’ testosterone levels rose and they rose
even more for those who won the matches. This also gave players a better mood and made them
feel more optimistic about their next matches.

Anabolic Running

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, “anabolic running” is a form of cardio running that helps men burn fat fast, build muscle and increase their hormone levels. Only 16 minutes each week is enough for you
to make your testosterone level great again. Also, it helps demolish that anesthetic and stubborn belly fat, ramp-up your sexual performance and libido and get those massive muscle pumps you have always wanted.


When it comes to Yoga, most people only think of those tangled Yoga postures that only
“people with no bones” can do, but this is far from the truth. There are some simple-to- do postures
and many of them also have a good impact on your body and health and one very good example is
“The Cobra”. Simply stretching for 3 minutes in this Yoga position can increase testosterone levels
up to 33%! While sitting in the Cobra position, breathe deeply and think of different positive
thoughts to relax your mind.

Drink Water

You’re probably fed up with this piece of advice you encounter at every step – in your
doctor’s office, on the TV, on the Internet… Everywhere! Well, those who say “Drink enough water!”
sure know what they are saying. It has been discovered that staying hydrated has a huge impact on
many aspects of the human body, including maintaining a good level of male-hormone. So, stop
ignoring this and drink more water if you want to stay and feel young for a longer period.

Get Enough Sleep

Just as drinking enough water per day, having enough sleep at night is extremely important
for a great T level. Scientists from the University of Chicago Medical Centre have stated that those
who had rested for 8 hours a night had higher testosterone (up to 15% more), compared to those
who had managed no more than 5 hours.

Watch Matched of Your Favorite Team

There’s a very good reason now why men should sit down at least once a week and watch
their favorite sports team playing. Recent studies performed at Georgia State University have
shown that men experienced a significant 28% growth in their male-hormone levels after watching
games of the teams they are big fans of. So, from now on, if anyone tells you that you watch too
much football or soccer, for instance, you have a strong argument to tell them.

Cold Showers

Some time ago, some Russian powerlifters made a huge discovery that they had higher
chances to perform better if they’re boys were dipped in ice water right before their competition.
By doing so, their testosterone levels increased, which would give them more power and efficiency
to lift weights. But you don’t have to do the same. A cold shower every once in a while, can have the
same effect.


What you eat tells a lot about you. There are various foods out there that can give your
testosterone level a boost. Oily fish, oysters, and raw eggs are only some examples of foods you
should include in your diet.


Everyone knows that probiotics help a lot with immune system function, not to mention
about digestion. However, when it comes to men, probiotics bring something “extra”, in the sense that they help lower their cortisol levels and increase their testosterone instead.

These ways of increasing the T levels may seem unusual, but they are simple, easy to do
and, what’s most important, they actually work! Boost your testosterone level starting today!

About the author: About the Author: I’m a 27-year-old freelancer from Watford. Taking part in my project. Writing is a hobby. That’s basically it. The short description of my modest life.

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Optimum Gold Standard Whey 5lb Tub

Nearly everyone that uses supplements to some capacity has used protein at one point. From whey to vegan to everything in between there are tons of different ones to choose from and it seems there are more and more choices popping up every time you walk into your local store or check out the newest arrivals here on Despite the huge selection and ever changing protein landscape though, there are certain products that have seemed to stand the test of time and achieve legendary status, and among them is Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey.

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Knife Fork Spoon Clock

There have been a number of diets to come and go throughout the years, gaining and losing popularity in practice as the fitness climate is always evolving. From If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), to carb backloading, to keto, there will always be methods that rise and fall in popularity. Another such popular diet method that has been used with notable success is Intermittent Fasting. Also commonly referred to simply as “IF”

The reality that rings true for the fitness and supplement industry is that there will always be a trend. Whether it be the diet that promises to be the end-all for fitness goals or the supplement that promises to redefine a category, we are always searching for the latest and greatest. The most recent emergence as you are probably aware of by now is the ketogenic diet and actually combines both a diet trend and a whole category of supplements geared toward helping you live the ‘keto’ lifestyle.

Ketogenic Dieting

By now, if you are remotely connected to the fitness world, you are probably aware of the recent emergence of keto. It can truly be a game changing diet method if implemented right, but most underestimate just how challenging a true keto diet is and how counterproductive it can be if done incorrectly. Despite its surge in popularity, keto is still one of the most misunderstood diet methods, and now with many variations, styles and diets all using the word keto, it is getting a bit out of hand.