Top 10 BCAA Supplements For Muscle Gains
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By Nader Qudimat / Jun 18, 2018

Top BCAA Supplements of 2018

From BCAA's to complete intra workouts, this guide has it all. Check out these complete BCAA supplement to find one that best suits your needs. 


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Forget catabolism...

You'd agree with me when I say that it's important to keep the body fed and fueled for maximum performance and gains.

Even during your workouts.​

With BCAA's you're ensuring your body is in the best state possible. 

Now you may benefit more if you're in a fasted state...

But we all know you can't drink or eat protein during your workouts.

So BCAA's and intra workouts come into use.​

We've done the research and have rounded up the best here...

You'll learn what BCAA supplements you can use during training to make the most gains and out of your workouts.

Why Take BCAA Supplements?

What if you could improve recovery and train harder than ever while remaining in a anabolic state?

You'd probably feel like you've got an “S” on your chest…

BCAA’s have become one of the biggest game changers for both bodybuilders and athletic purposes.

Whether you’ve used BCAA’s or not, you should know by now that they are made out of 3 amino acids:

  • leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine.

Different supplements contain different ratios so it gets kind of confusing on which one to go with and not all BCAA supplements are all that great since some may come with carbohydrates and nitric oxide ingredients while others are just plain amino acids.

Most intra supplements are a waste of money. 

The choices can be overwhelming and the supplement industry is full of hyped up crap so we’re going to list the ones you should stay away from and our top 10 list.

​Best Tasting

Features:

  • ​2.5 g L-Leucine
  • ​1.6g CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine
  • ​1.25g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.25g L-Valine
  • ​500mg Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCl
  • 500mg N-Acetyl-Tyrosine
  • ​500mg Choline Bitartrate
  • ​100mg Caffeine Anhydrous

​Core Nutritionals is a brand that’s only been around a short time, it’s headed up by drug-free pro bodybuilder Doug Miller and promises high standards based on Doug’s philosophy of results instead of hype.

Core ABC is their energy BCAA formula.

Unfortunately, it looks like they pulled the 5g dose of leucine out of this version, that’s too bad, it’s the reason their Core ABC was so good.

We’re guessing it’s been replaced with the energy/performance complex consisting of beta-alanine for endurance, carnitine for fat transport, NALT and choline for focus, as well as caffeine for energy.

This is a mild energy/focus complex, so you could add this to a pre-workout or other intra-workout if you wanted, or use it alone if you want a mild stimulant experience.

The BCAA loses a lot with the 5g leucine gone, we are not sure what the reasoning was behind a move like that.

One good thing is that it’s priced low for 30 servings, so we think stacking this with a pre and/or intra is a great idea.

Features:

  • ​7.5g Micraminos™ BCAA’s
  • ​650mg Osmotic Matrix (Coconut water, Calci-K, Sodium, Magnesium)
  • ​50mg Astragin®

​Myoblox is a company that’s perhaps best known for Loco, their pre-workout.

They’re a newer company with several innovative ingredients that help set them apart, such as Blox micro peptides and RealCaf caffeine.

They’re also known for exciting and delicious flavors such as sour gummy, malu splash and candy bomb!

Illa features the innovative Micraminos micro-infused fermented BCAAs, dosed at 7.5g and in a 2:1:1 ratio.

This is a Myoblox trademarked ingredient that uses micro peptide technology for enhanced absorption and bioavailability.

It’s a prop blend but we can figure out the individual BCAA dosing by using the ratio.

Next up is a 650 mg hydration prop blend with coconut water, sodium from pink Himalayan salt, Albion magnesium and Calci-K calcium - the idea of a prop blend using branded ingredients is unusual, if you’re going to use premium ingredients, why not use full disclosure?

Weird.

Finally, there’s Astragin absorption enhancer well dosed at 50 mg.

The label features two dosing levels so getting a huge 15g BCAAs is not a problem with 2 scoops - and it’s a good product overall that tastes amazing and uses the best ingredients - lose the prop blends and this could be a Top 2 or 3 BCAA.

Features:

  • ​15g 8:1:1 BCAA+ Blend (Instanitized L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine), L-Alanine, Taurine, Glycine) and (L-Lysine HCI, L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine (Sustamine))
  • ​639mg Electrolyte Blend (Sodium Citrate, Potassium Chloride)

​So here we have USP Labs -  a big company that makes some highly rated products like the original concentrated pre-workout - Jack3d.

Their Modern BCAA+ looks great when you glance at the dosing - 15 grams!

Break that down a little, look at the label more closely and you see it’s a prop blend - not just a BCAA prop blend in a 8:1:1 ratio, but a blend that includes 8 total ingredients.

You want to know how much leucine you’re getting?

Good luck!

That’s followed with a 639 mg prop blend of sodium and potassium - who knows the dosing of each - we sure don’t!

You can assume it’s reasonably well-dosed but it’s merely a guess.

One thing that we do know is how good Modern BCAA+ tastes - with a wide choice of flavors, at least you’ll enjoy drinking it - especially the peach tea and natural orange flavors - there’s nothing like refreshing and delicious fruit flavors that taste natural - Modern BCAA+ is a good value with 30 servings and a low price - and it does taste amazing!

Features:

  • ​7g 2:1:1 BCAA Blend (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine)
  • ​3g EAA Blend (L-Threonine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Lysine, L-Histidine, L-Tryptophan, L-Methionine)

​Pro Supps is known for their various versions of the Mr Hyde pre-workout formula.

They’ve also had a hit with their high protein bars and cookies.

Here we have HydroBCAA, a straightforward formula with a 7g BCAA prop blend and a 3g EAA prop blend.

The 7g BCAA blend is a 2:1:1 ratio, so we can figure out that it’s 3.5g leucine, which is higher than most of the formulas we’ve looked at.

While it’s good to see Pro Supps going with the most up to date research and, like many companies are beginning to, include all EAAs (3. Volpi E, Kobayashi H, Sheffield-Moore M, Mittendorfer B, Wolfe RR.

Essential amino acids are primarily responsible for the amino acid stimulation of muscle protein anabolism in healthy elderly adults.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78:250–8), the fact is they are still using prop blends which hides the amounts they are providing of each ingredient.

If it wasn’t for the BCAA ratio being listed, we’d have no idea how much we were getting.

As it is, we are left to guess about the EAAs.

One thing we can say, HydroBCAA gets it right when it comes to flavorings - with names like Sex On  A Beach and Texas Tea, it’s every bit as refreshing and delicious and you would expect!

It’s also an excellent value with 30 servings, so if you decide to look past the prop blends and want some wild flavors, HydroBCAA is a good choice!

Features:

  • ​5g Instant BCAA Blend 3:1:2
  • ​2g L-Citrulline
  • ​1g L-Taurine
  • ​250mg AgmaMAX® Agmatine Sulfate
  • ​250mg Disodium Phosphate
  • ​250mg Dicalcium Phosphate
  • ​250mg Dimagnesium Phosphate
  • ​125mg L-Histidine
  • ​125mg L-Ornithine HCL
  • ​75mg Grape Seed

​​​AmiNO Flow is their BCAA and it looks like it’s one more hit.

This is a well thought out formula designed to be a intra-workout and to be used after a good Pre, like Truth.

As well, they’ve really come through as far as taste with flavors like Coconut Lime and America bomb pop!

Let’s be real, if it doesn’t taste good, you’re less likely to use it, right?

As far as how it’s supposed to used, the idea is to stack this with your pre-workout (such as Truth) and in this context the dosing makes a lot of sense.

AmiNO Flow starts off with a standard 5 gram dose of BCAAs but it breaks the mold with a 3:1:2 ratio.

From there, we get into a pump complex that’s one of the things that sets this BCAA apart.

We have citrulline, taurine, agmamax,ornithine, grape seed and histidine - all meant to enhance the pump.

Combine it with Truth, which is dosed very well in this dept., so we end up with a good pump complex.

AmiNO Flow finishes off with a good electrolyte complex for proper hydration so you perform at your best.

Not only is AmiNO Flow a ground breaking BCAA formula that tastes amazing with some great flavors, it’s priced right with 30 servings - there’s no real downside to this product, if you want a BCAA-based intra, this one’s hard to beat!

Features:

  • ​15g Cluster Dextrin
  • ​10g Dextrose
  • ​5g Tapioca Maltodextrin
  • ​5g Vegan BCAAs 2:1:1 (Instantized)
  • ​3g Creatine Monohydrate
  • ​3g Betaine
  • ​1g Taurine
  • ​100mg Theobromine
  • ​25mg AstraGin™
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    ​25mg Cocoa Extract
  • ​10 IU SOD

​​Inspired Nutraceuticals is a company that’s well-known for making very potent formulas that work great and taste great.

Case in point: Endless, their intra-workout formula.

You won’t see to many intras like this!

Endless starts off with a unique hydration complex based on Aquamin Seaweed - which is loaded in trace minerals.

Proper hydration means peak performance in the gym or on the field, and Endless takes their hydration complex very seriously.

Endless is an intra that understands the importance of carbs and training energy as well as cell volume, and with Endless, you’re getting both quick energy with dextrose as well as slower burning energy from cluster dextrin and maltodextrin.

Endless uses numerous branded ingredients and the BCAA complex is no exception - 5 grams of Instaminos, vegan, fermented and instantized BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio.

The fact that these are instantized means improved absorption and utilization, and the fact they are vegan means higher quality than some animal-based BCAAs.

Endless is another intra that contains a good creatine/betaine complex and it’s a great combo for strength, power as well as water based pumps - which the 1g taurine helps, along with the carbs - that’s right, all these components impact cell volume and ATP energy.

By this time, most other formulas would be done, but we still have the VO2 Max complex - Endless is a great name, this formula doesn’t end!

This complex starts off with the caffeine-like stim, theobromine, which is also a good performance enhancer.

You know for its ability to smooth out caffeine, it also spares glycogen use during your workouts, using fatty acids for energy instead.

This is complexed with cocoa extract, which is great for mood and also uses fatty acids for energy.

We’re not done yet - we still have ActiGin, which improves both endurance and recovery, and finally - yes, the last ingredient - SOD, the powerful antioxidant.

Wow, what a formula - and it tastes great with a refreshingly delicious flavor!

It is priced a little high with only 20 servings - but look at the formula and everything you’re getting - we think it’s so good, its a bargain!

Budget BCAA and Intra Supplements

Whether you're on a budget or just want something simple and effective, these intra workouts will help you achieve your goals.

Features:

  • ​7g BCAA’s & EAAs
  • ​2.7g Endurance Complex
  • ​70mg Electrolytes

​Being one of the most mentioned intra workouts ever since many can remember, Purple Wraa​th is one that can’t be skipped.

Controlled Labs is one of the bosses of the supplement industry as they’ve not only been using only high quality ingredients but also guaranteeing  that their supplements are safe from banned substances and cross contamination.

Purple Wraath is jam packed with amino goodies: it literally has all 14 amino acids.

Taking it to the next level, they’ve also got a “PurplEndurance” complex, which you can guess is good for endurance.

It’s a 2.7 gram blend of beta alanine, citrulline malate, betaine anhydrous, ginger and l-norvaline.

Fillers are next to none.

With very little fillers and no maltodextrin to be seen, this makes a perfect BCAA mix for anyone cutting or just want to stay as healthy as possible.

Pros

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    ​Increased recovery
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    ​9 amino acids
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    ​Increased Endurance
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    ​Strength and nitric oxide boosting ingredients included

Cons

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    ​Proprietary blends
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    ​Strange flavoring

Features:

  • ​2.5g L-Leucine
  • ​1.25g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.25g L-Valine

​BCAA 5000 by NutraBio is definitely a budget-minded formula with just 5g BCAAs in the 2:1:1 ratio.

They are fermented, vegan-sourced and fully disclosed on the label - it is NutraBio so everything is fully disclosed - flavorings, color, and sweeteners (artificial).

This is a low priced 60 serving powder that you can use in a variety of ways for maximum benefit - you can use it as a standalone BCAA, but it is low-dosed.

You can double up on the servings to get more potency, you can add it to your protein to BCAA-up your protein powder, or you can add it to your Pre to BCAA-up that.

There’s an anabolic benefit to any of those choices.

For what this is, it’s a good product, if you’re looking for a budget BCAA, you really can’t beat NutraBio.

Features:

  • ​6g BCAA’s 
  • ​3g L-Leucine
  • ​2g L-Valine
  • ​1g L-Isoleucine

​This formula is simple but it’s got its own way of being unique.

The stimulant version has 100mg of caffeine, 50mg of green tea extract and 50mg of panax ginseng root powder and then non-stim has a simple 3:1:2 ratio of BCAA’s.

It’s made this list because it has a very high concentration of BCAA’s.

This product has been found to have a high concentration of BCAA's (94.6%).

​This means you’re actually getting the amount of BCAA’s stated on the ingredient panel.

Other than being a company of great standards, this is a BCAA supplement worthy of purchasing.

Their flavors are near-perfect considering how hard it is to flavor BCAA’s.

Pros

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    ​High quality ingredients (98%)
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    ​Fully disclosed
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    ​Simple and effective label
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    ​Comes in pills and powder form

Cons

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    ​Only one size: 30 servings

​Dietary specific BCAA's

​Natural (naturally flavored and vegan safe)

Features:

  • ​3g L-Glutamine
  • ​2.5g InstAMINOS® L-Leucine Vegan
  • ​1.25g InstAMINOS® L-Isoleucine Vegan
  • ​1.25g InstAMINOS® L-valine Vegan
  • ​1g Taurine
  • ​1g L-Citrulline Malate
  • ​1g L-Tyrosine
  • ​250mg Citicoline
  • ​200mg Rhodiola
  • ​100mg Natural Caffeine

​The Genius Brand is becoming increasingly well-known for their innovative cognitive formulas as well as their transparent labels and natural formulations.

Genius BCAA is their take on a fundamental formula and they certainly have created a unique product.

First off, their BCAAs are a patented, vegan-sourced and known as InstAMINOS, which are unmatched for purity and quality.

From there, they add in glutamine, along with citrulline, and they round it out with a solid cognitive complex of tyrosine, citicoline, rhodiola and a mildly dosed (100 mg) caffeine, naturally sourced of course.

It’s a great looking formula with a unique cognitive twist and no artificial ingredients, but the biggest drawback is the dosing.

The BCAAs are dosed at the lowest possible effective range - you can call it a little bit under-dosed with only 2.5 grams of leucine, and the same is true for glutamine (3 grams) and especially citrulline malate (1 gram).

Sure, you can double-scoop it, but then you lose the value - and it’s already high priced.

But if you’re just looking for something to keep you well hydrated and focused throughout your workout, you’ll like Genius BCAA’s.

Features:

  • ​5g L-Glutamine
  • ​4g L-Leucine
  • ​2g L-Isoleucine
  • ​2g L-Valine
  • ​1g Coconut Water Powder

​When it comes to effectively dosed products and full disclosure labeling, few companies can match Transparent Labs.

It almost seems like they came out of nowhere and took one of the top spots before their competition knew what happened.

It’s not surprising, either, especially when you take a close look at their products.

BCAA Glutamine is the perfect example.

It’s a no B.S. formula that’s simple yet effective.

You won’t find anything exotic here, what you will find is a clinically dosed formula that contains just 5 ingredients - but that’s all you need to get the results you want.

This is what a BCAA formula is all about - 4 full grams of leucine (there’s no underdosing here!) with 2 grams each of isoleucine and valine - yes, that’s 8 grams and it’s in the proven 2:1:1 ratio.

There’s a solid 5 grams of glutamine, and 1 gram of coconut water for hydration.

Like we said, simple yet effective.

You’re getting 30 servings for a slightly above average price, but with quality this good, you can’t go wrong.

Features:

  • 5g L-Glutamine
  • ​3.8g L-Leucine
  • ​2g Taurine
  • ​2g Betaine
  • ​1.8g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.8g L-Valine
  • ​1g OKG
  • ​850mg L-Lysine
  • ​850mg L-Threonine
  • ​525mg Calci-K® (Calcium Potassium Phosphate Citrate)
  • ​450mg L-Histidine
  • ​300mg DL-Phenylalanine
  • ​140mg Albion® Dimagnesium Malate
  • ​100mg DL-Methionine
  • ​55mg L-Tryptophan
  • ​15mg Sodium Phosphate

​When it comes to quality products, it’s hard to beat NutraBio.

No doubt about it, they’re in it to win it – from their extreme full disclosure labeling to their outstanding formulations that are clinically dosed – this stuff if for real!

Of course, their original Intra Blast intra workout is one of, if not the, best intra you can buy.

There is one drawback – it uses some artificial ingredients. Now, that’s no longer a problem with their new Natural Series Intra Blast.

Here’s an Intra that gives you all of the endurance and recovery benefits of the original with zero artificial sweeteners – and it tastes great.

One look at the label and you will see just how packed this product really is – and now it contains zero artificial ingredients.

Generally, the natural stuff are either under dosed, or just taste terribly.

However Nutrabio has done it well with their Natural Series Supplements.

​For Keto / Primal

Features:

  • ​2.5g Calcium BHB
  • ​2.5g L-Leucine
  • ​2g Sodium BHB
  • ​2g glutamine
  • ​2g Peak 02 (Cordyceps, Reishi, King Trumpet, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail)
  • ​1.5g Magnesium BHB
  • ​1.25g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.25g L-valine

​Sparta Nutrition is a newer brand with a reputation for hardcore products.

They’re a brand with a lot of ambition and their line of keto products shows that.

They’re not content to just release a few basic products designed for the keto/low carb dieter, they wanted to create a true muscle builder that a keto dieter can depend on for both energy and gains.

Enter Keto BCAA!

Keto BCAA contains over 5 grams of BHB salts, which is what the body uses for energy in the absence of carbs.

During a workout, the body will also rely on glutamine and valine for energy, so that means Keto BCAA has multiple sources for muscular energy.

Sparta is using just a 5 gram dose of BCAAs, this means only 2.5 grams of leucine, so again, it’s a little under-dosed - for best results, leucine should be dosed at 4 grams, at least.

Keto BCAA also contains Peak02, which is a mushroom complex designed to provide energy - so this is a product that’s more concerned with giving keto dieters good energy sources with no stims or carbs, the actual anabolic benefit you’ll get from the underdosed BCAAs with be minimal.

What about value?

It’s OK with 25 servings and an average price.

There’s a line (a very small one) as far as BCAAs and calories, which a keto dieter will need to account for, still, if you want to do a BCAA, dose it right!

BCAA Supplements For Bodybuilding

Sometimes a plain BCAA supplement just isn't enough. 

A lot of you may prefer your BCAA supplement with carbs, or maybe without them.

Either way, these intra-supplements do not only contain BCAA's, but they also have other ingredients that will help you gain more out of your training (like pumps, hydration, pumps, etc).

Without Carbs

Features:

  • ​3.5g L-Leucine
  • ​2.5g L-Glutamine
  • ​2g PEAKO2™ (Cordyceps, Reishi, King Trumpet, Shiitake, Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail)
  • ​1.75g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.75g L-Valine
  • ​1g Citrulline Malate
  • ​1,190mg Electrolytes (Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride)

SciVation Xtend is the original BCAA formula that took the market by storm - and it became a legend in the industry.

Most of the current SciVation lineup is based on the original Xtend formula, including Xtend Perform.

This is another BCAA that includes Peak02, a tested and patent-pending mushroom complex that can increase oxygen uptake and improve overall athletic performance.

Overall, this is a solid formula with 7 grams of BCAAs (3.5g leucine), Peak02, electrolytes and an under-dosed citrulline malate (just 1 gram).

Xtend Perform will work good without an effective dose of citrulline, but at 1 gram, why bother?

Nonetheless, what you’re getting here is a solid performance enhancing formula that will trigger protein synthesis, and it’s a excellent value with 44 servings at a good price.

When it comes to SciVation and their basic BCAA formula, combined with the value, you can’t really go wrong, even if not every supporting ingredient is dosed effectively.

Features:

  • ​2g L-leucine
  • ​1.5g HMB
  • ​1g L-isoleucine
  • ​1g L-valine
  • ​1g Arginine AKG
  • ​750mg HICA
  • ​500mg Sustamine
  • ​120mg Chloride
  • ​100mg Calcium
  • ​80mg Sodium
  • ​50mg Magnesium
  • ​50mg Potassium
  • ​500mcg Manganese

​Condemned Labz is a newer company that’s made a name for themselves with their unique “condemned”  marketing approach and their well-thought out formulas.

Bottom line, they are a serious company making some very good products.

Having said that, when you take a quick look at Confined BCAA, you might think it’s under-dosed (2 grams of leucine? Really?) Then you realize they’ve added 2.5g of leucine metabolites, making it an unusual and potentially very effective formula.

They’ve also added a little bit of arginine AKG to get blood flow going for increased nutrient delivery.

All of this sounds great - but we’d rather see a higher dose of the BCAAs and arginine - sure, go ahead and put in leucine metabolites, but the BCAAs can still be dosed a little higher.

With 25 servings, it’s a good value, and if you shop a little, you can find some amazing deals.

Confined BCAA is not the best formula on the market, but it’s worth checking out.

Features:

  • ​3g L-Leucine
  • ​2.5g Betaine Anhydrous
  • ​1.5g L-isoleucine
  • ​1.5g L-Valine
  • ​1g Citrulline Malate
  • ​220mg Sodium
  • ​170mg Potassium

​InnovaPharm may not be one of the “big boys” but they make some products that can stand up to anything the big companies have to offer.

Take Novamino, their BCAA formula.

At first glance you might think it’s dosed a little low but then you realize it features instantized aminos.

What does this mean for you?

It means superior absorption and improved bioavailability for maximum results.

Would it be better if it was dosed a little higher?

Sure, but you’re getting max absorption here, which you may not be getting from a regular, non-instantized BCAA.

The other stand-out ingredient, and one we haven’t seen in too many BCAAs, is betaine.

This is one of our favorite ingredients because of its creatine-like effects - it increases strength and power output as well as having cell volumizing effects.

It stacks really well with creatine, but it works great on its own, and we’re glad to see it in Novamino.

The one under-dosed ingredient is citrulline malate, which has the seemingly standard dosing of 1 gram.

Why do so many BCAA formulas dose it so low?

The clinical dosing ranges from 3 to 8 grams, with 6 grams being the ideal dose.

What possible benefit is there to a 1 gram dose?

The answer is, none, unless your pre workout already contains some citrulline malate (at least 2g).

It’s not the best BCAA, but it’s a good value with 30 servings and it has a good fundamental formula with instantized BCAAs and betaine - we’d put it on our “must-try” list, and so should you.

Features:

  • ​5g L-Leucine
  • ​2.5g L-Isoleucine
  • ​2.5g L-Valine
  • ​2.5g L-Glutamine
  • ​2.5g CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine
  • ​2.5g Citrulline Malate

​Core Nutritionals is a newer brand that’s headed up by drug-free pro bodybuilder Doug Miller.

This is a brand that promises high standards based on Doug Miller’s philosophy of results over hype.

Of course, this is one of many brands that’s the signature line of a famous (and in some cases, not so famous) bodybuilder, some of them good and some not so good.

Core ABC is a good looking BCAA formula with a serious 5 gram dose of leucine - now we’re talking! Using the proven 2:1:1 ratio, the other two BCAAs are 2.5g each.

However, each of the remaining ingredients are underdosed, with 2.5g glutamine (this should really be 5g, 2.5g beta alanine (the correct clinical dose is 3.2g) and 2.5g citrulline malate - which more than the 1g we’ve been seeing, but it’s still underdosed.

There’s no good reason to underdose anything - it seems simple, if you want to use it in your formula, dose it right.

However, Core ABC does give you a very good 10g BCAAs per serving - it’s a 2-scoop serving size, but instead of the usual handful of servings that seems to always come with a larger serving size, you get 50 servings - that’s not bad! It’s priced competitively so the value is there.

Bottom line - buy Core ABC for the solid dose of BCAAs - but if you want full dosing of the other ingredients, you’ll have to keep looking.

Features:

  • ​5g Instant BCAA Blend 3:1:2
  • ​2g L-Citrulline
  • ​1g L-Taurine
  • ​250mg AgmaMAX® Agmatine Sulfate
  • ​250mg Disodium Phosphate
  • ​250mg Dicalcium Phosphate
  • ​250mg Dimagnesium Phosphate
  • ​125mg L-Histidine
  • ​125mg L-Ornithine HCL
  • ​75mg Grape Seed

​Muscle Elements is a company that’s hit a few home runs, especially with Truth, their pre-workout.

AmiNO Flow is their BCAA and it looks like they’re going for another win!

This is a well thought out formula designed to be a intra-workout and to be used after a good Pre, like Truth.

When you understand how’s it’s supposed to used, the dosing makes a lot of sense.

AmiNO Flow starts off with a 5 gram dose of BCAAs, pretty much the standard dosing for many products, but it breaks the mold with a unique 3:1:2 ratio.

From there, we get into a pump complex that’s one of the things that set this BCAA apart when it first hit the market.

There’s citrulline, taurine and agmamax, and if we were to just look at the dosing in this product, the first thing we’d say is, its underdosed.

However, Truth (or whatever Pre you prefer) is dosed very well in this dept., so really, the N.O. complex is meant more as icing on the cake, not as a standalone pump blend.

There’s also ornithine, grape seed and histidine, all meant to further enhance the pump.

AmiNO Flow finishes off with a good electrolyte complex for proper hydration so you perform at your best.

Not only is AmiNO Flow a ground breaking BCAA formula, it’s priced right with 30 servings - there’s no real downside to this product, if you want a BCAA-based intra, this one’s hard to beat!

Features:

  • ​6g BCAAs (10:1:1 ratio)
  • ​2,800mg Conditional EAAs (Glutamine, Carnitine-L-Tartrate, N-Acetyl Cysteine)
  • ​1,500mg Buffer Blend (Creatinol-O-Phosphate, Beta-Alanine)
  • ​960 mg Amino Support Blend (Taurine, Coconut Water, Leucic Acid, Bromelain, Blueberry)
  • ​600 mg Joint Support (Glucosamine, MSM)
  • ​155mg EAAs (Phenylalanine, Threonine, Histidine, Methionine)

​Rich Piana was a larger than life hardcore bodybuilder with a line of very unique products.

He was a big believer in whole food first, supplements second and designed much of his line around that concept.

In fact, he actually has a meal service as part of his line.

All Day You May was one of his first products and comes from the idea of bodybuilders carrying around gallon jugs of BCAA drinks all day.

All Day You May is unique with 6 grams BCAAs in a 10:1:1 ratio, followed by not only EAAs but conditional EAAs as well - the only BCAA that covers all the bases, as far as we know.

From there, you’ll find a amino support complex (with leucic acid, or HMB), a hydration complex, and a joint support complex.

As good as that sounds and as unique as all of it is, the major drawback here is that there are 6 (yep - 6!) prop blends.

Other then the BCAAs - and you have to figure out the dosing by using the ratio - we have no clear idea of how much of anything we’re really getting.

To his credit, many of Rich Piana’s later products feature full disclosure labeling, but that doesn’t help us here.

All Day You May is a good value with 30 servings priced decently - but 6 prop blends!! Really?

Features:

  • ​5g L-Glutamine
  • ​4g L-Leucine
  • ​2g L-Isoleucine
  • ​2g L-Valine
  • ​1g Coconut Water Powder

​Transparent Labs has made a well-deserved name for themselves as a top company with 100% label transparency.

In fact, they rival NutraBio when it comes to disclosing virtually everything that’s on their label.

Of course, their products are more than just a label, they make very high quality products that are clinically dosed.

BCAA Glutamine is the perfect example.

It’s a simple formula that’s dosed well and gets  the job done.

There’s only 5 ingredients - you won’t find anything exotic here, but it has what you need to get the results you want.

This is a basic, no frills BCAA formula - 4 full grams of leucine (there’s no underdosing here!) with 2 grams each of isoleucine and valine for a total of 8 grams and it’s in the proven 2:1:1 ratio.

There’s a solid 5 grams of glutamine, and 1 gram of coconut water for hydration.

Simple - but dosed right!

You’re getting 30 servings for a slightly above average price, but with quality this good, you can’t go wrong.

If you’re looking for something more exotic, this isn’t it, but if what you need is a basic BCAA, you can’t beat Transparent Labs.

Features:

  • ​3g L-Leucine
  • ​2g Peak O2 (Cordyceps, Reishi, King Trumpet, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane and Turkey Tail)
  • ​1g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1g L-Valine
  • ​750mg Taurine
  • ​500mg L-Threonine
  • ​500mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  • ​300mg L-Phenylalanine
  • ​250mg L-Lysine
  • ​100mg L-Histidine
  • ​75mg L-Tryptophan
  • ​50mg L-Methionine

​No doubt many of you have heard of John “Mountain Dog” Meadows, bodybuilding competitor and founder of the mountain dog training system.

His supplement company, Granite Supplements, made a huge impact in the industry when their Arc Reactor pre-workout hit the shelves last year.

Now they’re back with a intra-workout BCAA - Adamantium Aminos.

This is a full-spectrum EAA formula, not just the BCAAs, which is much more effective at triggering protein synthesis.

The fully disclosed formula starts off with 5 grams of BCAAs in a 3:1:1 ratio, giving you 3 grams of leucine - a little on the low end of the research (4g is ideal).

From here, there’s Peak02, the patented mushroom complex that’s popping up more and more in various BCAA formulas.

This is a 2g dose, but the study supporting Peak02 suggests a 4g dose, and you won’t find it in Arc Reactor - so you’re on your own if you want the full effect.

From there, we have the remaining 6 EAAs, plus taurine and tyrosine, in the form of n-acetyl-l-tyrosine.

Overall, it’s good formula but it is a little under-dosed - we say that a lot but let’s be real - if you’re going to make a intra, then dose the thing high enough!

This is not widely available right now, but you can get it at Mountain Dog’s site and you’ll find it on the web.

It’s a 30 serving container at a average price, so it’s a decent value.

If it were us, we’d be dosing it at about a scoop and a half - then we’d have something!

Features:

  • ​6g Amino Complex (BCAAs, EAAs)
  • ​3g Leucine
  • ​3g Creatine Monohydrate, Magnesium Creatine, Creatine Anhydrous
  • ​2.5g Glutamine, Alanine, L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine
  • ​2.5g Betaine
  • ​1.5g Taurine
  • ​1g GlycerPump

​Performax Labs is a company that’s been making some great products since their rebranding last year, when they changed their label design and updated many of their products.

IntraMax was one of the products that was initially re-launched, along with two excellent formulas - VasoMax and HyperMax.

The thing is, this formula looks rushed compared to those other two.

Where’s the fully disclosed labeling?

It’s only a partially disclosed label that starts off with a 6 gram EAA complex that includes all 9 EAAs (the BCAAs are on this list, btw) but we have no clue or hint as to how much of that 6g is BCAAs, however, just below this complex, there is a 3 gram dose of added leucine - so we know this product has at least 3 grams.

IntraMax does have something we think should be in every intra, and that’s creatine - but not just creatine monohydrate, a 3g dose of 3 types of creatine.

Good job Performax!

That’s a dose that will work given the versions that are in there - but we still don’t know how much of each we’re getting - here’s an idea, why not fully disclose it?

Despite that, it does get better - they’ve included a solid 2.5g dose of betaine - now we’re talking and this highly effective combination of creatines and betaine might be the best thing about this product!

This is a very synergistic complex that will promote strength, power and cell volume - combine that with what we think is a decently dosed BCAA complex, and you have a great looking formula.

IntraMax pushes the cell volume (or, water-based pumps) pretty hard by adding in taurine and glycerpump, and combined with sodium and potassium, this complex is excellent for hydration as well.

So, at first look this product seems a little disappointing because the first thing you see is a prop blend, but dive in a little more and hey! guess what?

It’s a great formula!

How’s the value?

It’s just OK with a somewhat higher price and only 25 servings - still, this is a good product with some great things in the formula, so for us, it’s a no brainer!

Features:

  • ​5g L-Glutamine
  • ​3.6g Instantized L-Leucine
  • ​2g Taurine
  • ​1.8g Instantized L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.8g Instantized L-Valine
  • ​1g OKG
  • ​850mg L-Lysine
  • ​85​0mg L-Threonine
  • ​​450mg L-Histidineaine
  • ​300mg DL-Methionine
  • ​300mg DL-Phenylalanine
  • ​55mg L-Tryptophan

​Now we’re talking! When the product is from NutraBio, you can expect great things!

They have the most fully transparent labels of anyone and they were one of the first (maybe the first) to fully disclose everything - and we mean everything, flavorings, sweeteners - basically, if it’s in the product, it’s on the label and you know exactly how much of it you’re getting!

Intra Blast is much more than transparent - it’s one of the best intra’s on the market.

This is a fully loaded formula with all 9 EAAs, a good dose of BCAAs - although we’d rather see 4 grams of leucine, this has 3.6 grams which is actually much better than most of the products we’ve looked at so far.

Intra Blast has a solid 5 gram dose of glutamine, a decent 2g dose of betaine and a somewhat different electrolyte complex when compared to many of the BCAA formulas currently on the market - you won’t see coconut water, but you will see taurine, calci-k, sodium and potassium - and these are all branded ingredients.

Perhaps the most unusual ingredient is OKG, which is not something you see very often.

What is OKG?

Also known as ornithine alpha ketoglutarate, this is a anabolic/anti-catabolic amino that improves recovery and increases protein synthesis.

Serious stuff!

Of course, with this level of quality, you expect to pay more, but Intra Blast is well-priced for a full 30 servings.

If you want a great BCAA that’s designed to be used during your workout, you don’t need to look any farther than Intra Blast.

​Intra-BCAA Supplements With Carbs

​You don't mind carbs, right?

Perfect you're in the right place.

This list contains the best BCAA supplements that have carbs which will help you power through workouts with full on intensity and force. ​

Features:

  • ​30g Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin
  • ​10g Hydrolized Casein
  • ​3,000mg L-Aspartic Acid
  • ​2,000mg Taurine
  • ​1,500mg Citric Acid
  • ​1,000mg L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate
  • ​400mg Potassium Glycerol Phosphate
  • ​350mg Tri Sodium Glycerol Phosphate
  • ​150mg Calcium Glycerol Phosphate
  • ​104mg Manesium Bisglycinate Chelate
  • ​50mg Actigin™

​This recently released intra-workout is not only full of ergogenic aids but it also has carbs and protein for further recovery.

The Edge covers everything you need from BCAA's to the super hydrolyzed protein, Peptopro.​

And like Intra-MD, it has 30g of the super high quality (and expensive) carb, highly branched cyclic dextrin.

For further muscle volumization and pumps, it packs a full gram of taurine and various forms of glycerol. ​

This is more than your average intra-workout as it goes above and beyond with ingredients and it's formula.

Features:

  • ​30g Highly Brached Cyclic Dextrin
  • ​2.5g L-Leucine
  • ​2g L-Glycine
  • ​2g Taurine
  • ​2g Citrulline Malate
  • ​1.5g L-Valine
  • ​1g L-Glutamine
  • ​1g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1g L-Methionine
  • ​500mg DL-Phenylalanine
  • ​500mg L-Threonine
  • ​500mg L-lysine
  • ​100mg L-Tryptophan

​Intra-MD is more than just a BCAA supplement.

This super powered intra workout supplement is packed with everything you need to survive and go beyond your usual limits.

Every scoop has 30 grams of a super high quality and easily digestible carb, highly branched cyclic dextrin.

For pumps and recovery, it also has 2 grams of carbs and 4.6 of added essential amino acids. ​

Whether you train fasted or just need the extra fuel, you'll love this stuff.

Features:

  • ​7.5g InstAminos BCAAs 4:1:1
  • ​2g Velositol (Amylopectin Chromium Complex)
  • ​2g L-Glutamine
  • ​1g L-Taurine
  • ​980mg Electrolyte Matrix (Potassium Citrate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Magnesium Aspartate)
  • ​480mg VitaCherry Sport (Whole Tart Cherry)

​Olympus Labs is without a doubt one of the more hardcore brands in the industry.

This is a company with a wide range of products and quite a few innovative formulas.

Their BCAA, Endur3, is high on the list of innovations - in fact this is one of the first to feature the cutting edge ingredient Velositol - and we are excited about the potential of this interesting compound!

Before we take a closer look at Velositol, let’s start at the beginning - Endur3 starts off with a solid 7.5 gram dose of BCAAs in a 4:1:1 ratio, so that’s a very impressive 5 grams of leucine!

None of this 2-3 grams stuff!

Next on the list is, yes, Velositol - a patented complex of waxy maize starch and chromium that, according to initial studies, when complexed with BCAAs increases protein synthesis by 25%! (1​).

That makes this one of the most exciting ingredients we’ve seen in quite a while - and puts Endur3 at the top of our “must try” list!

From there, we have a 2g dose of glutamine, really this should be 5 grams, followed by a 1 gram dose of taurine.

Next up is an electrolyte complex which has become a standard in BCAAs and intra’s for good reason - full hydration means better performance.

The label winds up with tart cherry extract which helps reduce joint pain.

For us, beyond the low-dosed glutamine, this is easily one of the most promising BCAAs we’ve seen - it has a great lineup of interesting ingredients, almost completely effectively dosed with an almost fully disclosed label - the electrolyte complex is the only prop blend.

It’s a good value with 30 servings and a middle of the road price.

The bottom line is that they are on the right track - and with this kind of innovation, we expect it to be a hit!

Features:

  • ​15g Cluster Dextrin
  • ​10g Dextrose
  • ​5g Tapioca Maltodextrin
  • ​5g Vegan BCAAs 2:1:1 (Instantized)
  • ​3g Creatine Monohydrate
  • ​3g Betaine
  • ​1g Taurine
  • ​100mg Theobromine
  • ​25mg AstraGin™
  • circle
    ​25mg Cocoa Extract
  • ​10 IU SOD

​Inspired Nutraceuticals is a company that’s well-known for making very potent formulas (like their DVST8 pre-workouts for example).

There’s no doubt that you can expect the unexpected when it comes to these guys!

Case in point: Endless, their intra-workout formula.

You’re not going to see another intra quite like this one!

Endless starts off with a unique hydration complex based on Aquamin Seaweed - yup, seaweed, which just happens to be loaded in trace minerals.

Proper hydration means peak performance in the gym or on the field, and Endless takes their hydration complex very seriously.

Next up, carbs!

That’s right, this is an intra that understands the importance of carbs and their relation to training energy as well as cell volume, and with Endless, you’re getting both quick energy from dextrose as well as slower burning energy from cluster dextrin and maltodextrin.

In this day and age of carbophobia, many intras don’t touch carbohydrates, but in the hours surrounding the workout, they are not evil, in fact they make a lot of sense!

Endless uses a lot of branded ingredients and the BCAA complex is no exception - 5 grams of Instaminos, vegan, fermented and instantized BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio.

We’ve talked about these before - at first glance you might think it’s a low dose, but the fact that these are instantized means improved absorption and utilization, and the fact they are vegan means very high quality (have you ever heard the stories about what animal sourced BCAAs consist of?)

Endless is another intra that contains a good creatine/betaine complex and it’s a great combo for strength, power as well as water based pumps - which the 1g taurine helps, along with the carbs - that’s right, all these components impact cell volume and ATP energy.

By this time, most other formulas would be done, but we still have the VO2 Max complex - Endless is a great name, this formula doesn’t end! This complex starts off with the caffeine-like stim, theobromine, which is also a good performance enhancer.

You know it for its ability to smooth out caffeine, but it also spares glycogen use during your workouts, using fatty acids for energy instead.

This is complexed with cocoa extract, which is great for mood and also uses fatty acids for energy.

It’s also said to block myostatin, the body’s natural muscle growth inhibitor.

We’re not done yet - we still have actigin, which improves both endurance and recovery, and finally - yes, the last ingredient - SOD, the powerful antioxidant.

Wow, what a formula!

This is most likely unlike anything else in the intra category and definitely pushes the envelope as to what a intra can be.

It is priced high with only 20 servings - but look at the formula and everything you’re getting - we think it’s so good, its a bargain!

Features:

  • ​6g Dextrose
  • ​2.5g L-Leucine
  • ​1.25g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.25g L-Valine
  • ​500mg L-Lysine HCI
  • ​200mg L-Histidine HCI
  • ​150mg L-Threonine
  • ​100mg Phenylalanine
  • ​50mg L-Methionine
  • ​50mg ActiGin™

​When it comes to advertising, Outbreak Nutrition has broken the mold with their zombie apocalypse images, ads, and product names, like Antidote, their BCAA.

Outbreak calls this a recovery formula  and it differs from everything else we’ve looked at since it should be used post workout, not intra workout.

In fact, one of the ingredients, ActiGin, is a branded recovery compound that works in part by sparing glycogen.

Antidote also contains 6 grams of dextrose, which can help replenish glycogen stores post-workout.

The BCAA complex, however, is under-dosed with a low 2.5 grams of leucine, and 5 grams BCAAs overall.

That’s not really enough to do much of anything, recovery or otherwise.

It does have 8 of the 9 EAAs, which research has suggested is better than just the BCAAs for protein synthesis.

Overall, this is a decent formula, but the BCAAs need to be dosed a little better - the other drawback is that it’s expensive with 30 servings - all in all, it might be an Antidote that we’ll risk passing up - we’ll take our chances in the Apocalypse without it!

Features:

  • ​30g Cluster Dextrin™
  • ​2.5g L-Leucine
  • ​2g L-Glycine
  • ​2g Taurine
  • ​2g Citrulline Malate
  • ​1.5g L-Valine
  • ​1g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1g L-Glutamine
  • ​1g L-Methionine
  • ​500mg L-Threonine
  • ​500mg L-Lysine
  • ​100mg L-Tryptophan
  • ​50mg DL-Phenylalanine

​Prime Nutrition isn’t one of the bigger companies in the industry but they are a growing company with a solid lineup of products, including quite a few single ingredient products - kind of nice when you get the urge to mix up your own concoctions!

They have more than one version of Intra Elite, their intra workout formula.

The version we have here is a carbohydrate based version that features 30 grams of Cluster Dextrin, a fast digesting but slow burning carb source that has become the preferred source for many athletes and bodybuilders.

The fact that this is high in carbs automatically dictates who will want to use it - mainly endurance athletes and bodybuilders that are in a bulking phase.

Any carbophobic bodybuilder, athlete or fitness enthusiast will steer clear based on the carbs alone.

That’s too bad because carbs are essential for training energy and recovery.

Nonetheless, Intra Elite is more than just a carb powder with a complete blend of EAAs including BCAAs in an unusual 2.5:1.5:1 ratio - but that only gives us 2.5 grams of leucine.

Beyond the EAAs, there’s taurine, well dosed at 2 grams for water based pumps and hydration.

There is also glutamine and citrulline malate - but both are too under-dosed to really matter.

So what we are left with is mainly a carb drink with a sprinkling of BCAAs and other performance enhancers, you would have to double up the servings or stack this with a separate BCAA to really get the benefits - but at that point, why?

It should be dosed right from the start.

Add to that the fact that Intra Elite is expensive with 30 servings, making it little more than a very pricey source of carbs!

Features:

  • ​62.8g (Trehalose, Whey Protein Hydrolysate,
    Creapure® (Creatine Monohydrate), L-Taurine, And More)

Sizeon is the perfect intra workout for those looking to build muscle.

This is not only a fast acting intra workout, but it works quite well.

It has carbs, BCAA's, creatine and even protein and vitamin B's.

It's an all-in-one supplement, perfect if you're bulking.

Now if you're cutting, you can still use this but it comes down to making it fit your diet and nutrition since it has a lot of calories and carbs.

You can easily take half a scoop or less if needed (you'd save money in the process).

Features:

  • 20g Carb
  • ​2g L-Taurine
  • ​2g Glycerol Monostearate
  • ​2g L-Leucine
  • ​1.5g Nitrosigine
  • ​1g L-Valine
  • ​1g L-Isoleucine

​Primeval Labs is a hardcore company that had a productive 2017 with the release of several good looking formulas.

This year, their focus has been to build of off last year and they got off to a big start with products like Mega Pre, several EAA formulas - and somehow they found time to launch the sub-brand UnTamed Labs, with the first product being a pre-workout named, of all things, ApeSh*t.

Wild, huh?

Here we have the newest version of an older product that was originally designed by Jerry Ward, a fitness expert and bodybuilding competitor.

Those days are over and Primeval has done a complete reformulation of Bios3 Intracell 7.

What’s been changed? The formula now includes all the EAAs, along with 20 grams of carbs (per 2 scoops) from two sources and GlycerPump, the branded glycerol compound that’s making a huge name for itself.

The label is a 1 scoop/2 scoop format, and of course you have to use 2 scoops to get good dosing - that means you’ll only get 20 servings.

Even with 2 scoops, the EAA complex - it’s a prop blend - is underdosed at only 4.8 grams - leucine by itself should be at least 4 grams, but we have no way of knowing what the breakdown is.

There’s no positive way to spin an underdosed prop blend, so Intracell is not off to a good start.

Next up is 20 grams of carbs from cluster dextrin, a fast digesting but slow burning carb source, and isomaltulose, a low glycemic sugar that improves fat oxidation during training and spares glycogen.

This is a solid complex of two of the best forms of carbs available.

Next we have a strong 2g dose of taurine, 1g of agmatine and 1g of the new Glycerol King, GlycerPump.

Overall, this is a good complex for water-based pumps, with some N.O. based pumps from the agmatine.

However, while taurine is well-dosed, the other two ingredients are dosed light. Still, you should get a decent pump from this complex.

As far as value, it’s expensive for only 20 servings. So, we have a mix of good and bad with the new BIOS3 Intracell 7.

Regardless, it’s still good enough to give it a shot.

With Carbs But Without BCAA's

Features:

  • ​6.5g CYCLO-D™ Cyclic Dextrin
  • ​6.4g DE-5™ Dextrin Polysaccharide
  • ​6g AWM2300™ Waxy Maize
  • ​3.2g Rice Polysaccharide
  • ​1.6g Fibersol-2™ Digestion-Resistant Dextrin
  • ​0.9g Potato Polysaccharide
  • ​108mg Prickly Pear
  • ​56mg Bitter Melon
  • ​8mg D-Pinitol
  • ​5mg Vanadyl Sulfate

​AllMax Nutrition, probably best known for their IsoFlex and HexaPro proteins, is known for innovative products.

Typically, when you buy an AllMax product, you can expect some unusual features.

That’s true with their intra-workout formula Carbion, which is exactly as the name suggests, a carb based intra.

Why would you want mainly carbs in an intra in the first place - and where’s the BCAAs?

Carbion contains zero protein or fat, and surprisingly, zero sugars yet provides 25g of carbs from 6 different sources along with an exclusive complex of herbs and minerals for maximum utilization, as well as the usual electrolyte minerals.

Why 6 types of carbs?

It all comes down to providing sustained workout energy, so that means fast and slower digesting carbs to last as long as your workout lasts.

Not only that, Carbion is excellent for recovery, especially if whey protein is added to it.

One of the things good recovery should replenish is the glycogen you burned up during your training session so you have enough energy for the next one.

Carbion supplies 40 servings per container, but it’s priced a little on the high end, making it an OK value - not great but not terrible.

Overall, this is an excellent product for intra and post use, but if it were us, we’d be adding some EAAs!

Features:

  • ​2.25g CreaPure ® Creatine Monohydrate
  • ​2g Taurine
  • ​1.5g Waxy Maize
  • ​1.5g CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine
  • ​1g L-Arginine
  • ​1g L-Glutamine
  • ​500mg L-Citrulline
  • ​500mg L-Leucine
  • ​250mg L-Isoleucine
  • ​250mg L-Tyrosine
  • ​250mg L-Valine
  • ​150mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ​125mg N-Acetyl L-Cysteine
  • ​100mg L-Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate

​GAT, or German American Technologies, is a popular company best known for their Muscle Martini and various JetFUEL formulas.

JetFUSE is marketed as a low stim pre-workout with a powerful pump complex.

It does have a fully disclosed label with a good range of ingredients - but here we go again, many of them are under-dosed, in some cases, severely under-dosed.

For example, if you are going to market your product as an extreme pump formula, wouldn’t it make sense to put more than ½ gram of citrulline in it?

Or a full 5 grams of creatine, instead of 2.25?

It does have a strong 2g dose of taurine, so that’s the ingredient doing all the work with minimal help from everything else.

The energy blend in JetFUSE has been reduced but overall this is a formula that will provide smooth energy and focus - not strong, but you will feel it, and that’s what JetFUSE is going for.

It is a good value with 30 servings and priced lower than many of the products on this list.

If it was dosed effectively, you might get the pumps and performance the ads talk about, but as it stands, you’re not going to get much more than a good price.

Features:

  • ​25g Cluster Dextrin®
  • ​83mg Calci-K® (Calcium Potassium Phosphate-Citrate)
  • ​35mg Sodium
  • ​23mg Albion® Dimagnesium Malate)

​Rich Gaspari!

Does anyone remember the Mr Olympia wars between Gaspari and 8-time Mr O Lee Haney?

Talk about epic battles!

At his best, Rich only placed 2nd but talk about a ripped physique - Rich had it.

Fast forward 20 or so years and we have Gaspari Nutrition - one of the first companies to market a pre-workout (Super Pump).

There’s a lot of legendary products in the line and some interesting new formulas - like GlycoFuse.

This is a very straight forward formula and it gets right to the point with a fully disclosed label.

All that’s in this product is 25g cluster dextrin plus Calci-K calcium, Albion magnesium and sodium, so 3 of the 4 ingredients are branded.

GlycoFuse is great for energy during training, as well as hydration, and post-workout glycogen replenishment - it’s an effective performance and recovery formula.

While not as elaborate as some of the other carb intra and post drinks, it gets the job done and it’s a great value with 60 servings at a low price.

Leave it to Gaspari to step in with a no-nonsense carb powder!

Features:

  • ​25g Cluster Dextrin®
  • ​525mg Calci-K® (Calcium Potassium Phosphate Citrate)
  • ​157mg Sodium Phosphate
  • ​140mg Albion® Di-Magnesium Malate

Super Carb by NutraBio is very similar to GlycoFuse - in fact it’s almost the same formula.

Of course, there’s the 100% label transparency NutraBio is known for, so we get to see the breakdown of the flavorings and sweeteners (artificial).

Beyond that, this is a 25g cluster dextrin formula, with a strong (822 mg) electrolyte mineral blend.

That’s it, the electrolytes are the only difference between this and GlycoFuse.

The bottom line is that cluster dextrin is an excellent carb source because it’s a low glycemic carb that digests rapidly.

This means zero insulin spikes, and that’s one of the primary reasons carbs are avoided in the first place - excess carbs, especially simple  carbs, cause insulin spikes which leads to unused carbs being stored as fat.

When used to support your workouts, carbs are not the bad guy, it’s what your muscles use for energy.

As far as value, Super Carb is expensive for 60 servings, so it comes down to what brand you like the most, the products are almost the same.

Best For Vascularity and Pumps

Features:

  • ​6g BCAA’s​
  • ​1g Taurine
  • ​0.5g Agmatine

​Here’s a intra workout that comes from a man that popularized the intra-workout category…

Most supplements tend to over do it with under dosed ingredients, artificial flavoring and coloring.

But Marc Lobliner over at MTS Nutrition has kept it simple.

Machine Fuel contains 6g of BCAA’s for recovery and decreased fatigue, as well as agmatine and taurine for fullness and pumps.

The flavors vary and are quite decent for something that is affordable.

Like any other BCAA supplement, this can be used a pre, intra and / or post workout.

Whether you’re on a budget or just want something effective, you’ll like Machine Fuel.

Pros

  • thumbs-up
    ​Simple but effective formula for recovery and pumps
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    ​Agmatine for mental support and increased vasodilation
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    ​Disclosed formula
  • thumbs-up
    ​Fairly priced, perfect if you’re on a budget

Cons

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    ​None

Features:

  • ​5g Instant BCAA Blend 3:1:2
  • ​2g L-Citrulline
  • ​1g L-Taurine
  • ​250mg AgmaMAX® Agmatine Sulfate
  • ​125mg L-Histidine
  • ​125mg L-Ornithine HCL
  • ​75mg Grape Seed

​Muscle Elements is perhaps best known for their powerful pre-workout Truth.

Now they’ve come up with a great pump-based BCAA named AmiNO Flow.

This is a solid formula designed to be used as a intra-workout and intended to be taken after using Truth for a great synergistic effect.

AmiNO Flow begins with a 5 gram dose of BCAAs, pretty much the standard dosing for many products, but it  features an unusual 3:1:2 ratio. From there, we get to the pump complex that sets this BCAA apart.

The pump blend consists of citrulline, taurine and agmamax.

It needs to be understood that Truth has a similar pump complex, so you’re getting an almost sustained effect from using both of these products.

By itself, AmiNO Flow would be underdosed, but since the intention is to use both, the combination is a great idea that gives you some great long lasting pumps.

There’s more to the pump complex with ornithine, grape seed and histidine, ingredients not usually used for pumps but here they enhance it even more - and let’s not forget the improved nutrient delivery that comes from increased nitric oxide production.

AmiNO Flow finishes off with a good electrolyte complex for proper hydration and improved performance.

In many ways AmiNO Flow is a ground breaking BCAA formula, it’s priced right with 30 servings - there’s not really any drawbacks to this product if you use it like it’s intended, so load it up with Truth and get those monster pumps!

​Weight Loss

Without Carbs

Features:

  • 2.5g Glycyl-Alanyl-Lysine-L-Leucine
  • 2g L-Carnitine
  • 1.25g Glycyl-Alanyl-Lysine-L-Isoleucine
  • 1.25g Glycyl-Alanyl-Lysine-L-Valine
  • 1g Glycyl-Alanyl-Lysine-L-Citrulline
  • 10mg Paradoxine Grains of Paradise

​A BPI Sports product with no prop blends?

Really?

Yes, that’s right, from one of the more stubborn companies that still hangs on to prop blends we have Shredded BCAAs with absolutely zero prop blends!

That says a lot about this product right from the start.

Shredded BCAA contains a unique form of BCAAs that use Oligopeptide-Enzymatic Technology.

This technology is a combination of glycine, alanine, and lysine and is supposed to improve absorption and utilization.

Maybe, but these 3 amino acids are all part of the listed dosing for the BCAAs - so to put that into an example, the label indicates 2.5g of leucine, of that, by the time you subtract out the 3 amino acids used for the special technology, you’ll end up with less than 1g of actual leucine!

What does that mean to you?

Double to triple scoops!

With 25 servings (there is a 50 serving size) you’ll be going through a container in about a week!

Good thing it’s a good value with a lower than you’d expect price.

This product does contain carnitine and grains of paradise to promote fat loss, but let’s get real, unless you’re a diehard BPI fan that has to have this product (and you might as well spring for the 50 serving size so you can up the serving size), Shredded BCAAs just won’t get the job done.

Features:

  • ​3g Active TR™ Time Release L-Leucine
  • ​2.5g Instantized L-Leucine
  • ​1.25g Instantized L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.25g Instantized L-Valine
  • ​983mg L-Lysine
  • ​685mg L-Threonine
  • ​310mg L-Phenylalanine
  • ​292mg L-Tyrosine
  • ​175mg L-Histidine
  • ​100mg L-Methionine

​Myokem is a newer brand - in fact they started in 2014.

Since then, they apparently have gone through a management shakeup with the original founder leaving the company.

With that said, they seem to be having a good 2018, and we are not surprised.

Why?

mTOR Pro is one reason!

This is an innovative BCAA that’s one of the few products featuring Active TR time release leucine.

That’s right - time release! While there’s not much info about this compound, it promises to potentially change the industry.

It must be understood that leucine is a primary stimulator of protein synthesis.

In simple terms, it does this by activating the mTOR pathway.

The thing is, protein synthesis appears to be a process that stops after just a couple of hours, no matter what you do to extend it.

Enter TR leucine, which is designed to provide a staggered release over an 8 hour period.

This means it will release every couple of hours, so in theory, TR leucine should help extend protein synthesis - translation: more muscle growth!

So, what about the rest of the formula?

There’s 5g of BCAAs that are a separate complex, so this means we have an 8g BCAA complex with a total of 5.5g leucine from regular and time release sources.

Not bad at all!

There is also a complete profile of the rest of the EAAs an a special hydration complex that includes taurine, potassium and sodium.

You may think a product like this would be expensive, but it’s a very good value with 30 servings at a lower than average price.

Overall, then, this is one of the more exciting products we have seen, it’s definitely a must-try!

Features:

  • ​7g 2:1:1 BCAA Blend (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine)
  • ​3g EAA Blend (L-Threonine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Lysine, L-Histidine, L-Tryptophan, L-Methionine)

​Pro Supps is one of the better known brands on the market with their Mr Hyde pre-workouts and their protein bars (cookies too!).

Their take on a BCAA is very straight forward, 7g BCAAs and a 3g EAA prop blend.

Actually, both are prop blends but the 7g BCAA blend is a 2:1:1 ratio, but we’re left to figure out the math (it’s 3.5g leucine, not terrible but it should really be 4g at least).

While it’s good to see Pro Supps go with the most up to date research and, like many companies, include all EAAs (3. Volpi E, Kobayashi H, Sheffield-Moore M, Mittendorfer B, Wolfe RR.

Essential amino acids are primarily responsible for the amino acid stimulation of muscle protein anabolism in healthy elderly adults.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78:250–8), the fact is they are still using prop blends which effectively hide the amounts they are providing of each ingredient.

If it wasn’t for the BCAA ratio being listed, we’d have no idea how much we were getting.

HydroBCAA is a good value with 30 servings, but it bears repeating - tell us how much you’re putting in!

Stop under-dosing!

Do it right or don’t do it at all!

Features:

  • ​5g Instantized L-Leucine
  • ​3.5g Amino Ancillary Blend (Taurine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine, L-Lysine, L-Threonine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Histidine, L-Methionine)

​PEScience is a company that prides itself on releasing products that have been thoroughly researched.

They are in no hurry, and that’s clear from the fact that released only 7 products over a 4 year period.

They’re well-known for their excellent protein powder, Select Protein, which is a great blend of whey and casein.

Also, their Prolific pre-workout is a popular product as well.

Riding that wave of success is Amino IV, an amino acid formula that features a very solid 5 grams of leucine - and it’s instantized!

This is a serious dose and it’ll absorb much better than non-instantized forms of leucine - all we can say is, it’s about time!

None of this 2g stuff!

This is followed by a 3.5g prop blend (why?) that contains taurine and most of the remaining EAAs.

Taurine is complexed with electrolyte minerals for hydration and maybe cell volumization - if we knew how much we were getting.

Still, this is a solid formula because of the high leucine content alone, and it’s a 30 serving container that’s priced right - so when it’s all said and done, you really can’t go wrong.

Features:

  • ​2.5g L-Leucine (Instantized, Ultra-Soluble)
  • ​1.25g L-Valine (Instantized, Ultra-Soluble)
  • ​1.25g L-Isoleucine (Instantized, Ultra-Soluble)

​MAN Sports has been on a roll with some of the best products currently on the market, such as their Clean Protein, which recently won Stack 3D’s “Best Protein” award.

They’ve been around a while and have a very extensive product lineup with quite a few excellent formulas.

Iso-Amino is their BCAA, and it’s a very simple product - just 5g BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio.

They are instantized for better absorption.

It’s a fairly pure formula but it does use artificial ingredients.

Typically, we would call this under-dosed and suggest double servings and that is the case here.

What saves this product is the price - it’s one of the lowest priced BCAAs we’ve seen.

That means you can double it, or stack it with your favorite intra, or even add it into your protein powder to beef up the BCAA content - as long as you can find a flavor that works.

Used that way, it’s a helpful product - just don’t depend on it as a stand-alone BCAA!

Features:

  • ​2.5g Calcium BHB
  • ​2.5g L-Leucine
  • ​2g Sodium BHB
  • ​2g glutamine
  • ​2g Peak 02 (Cordyceps, Reishi, King Trumpet, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail)
  • ​1.5g Magnesium BHB
  • ​1.25g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.25g L-valine

​Sparta Nutrition is a hardcore brand with a reputation for good products and a Sparta warrior marketing approach.

They’re a brand that wants to expand and they’ve done just that with their line of keto products.

One of the things they wanted to do was create a true muscle builder that a keto dieter can depend on for energy and muscle preservation during a fat loss cycle.

Enter Keto BCAA!

Keto BCAA contains over 5 grams of BHB salts, which is what the body uses for energy in the absence of carbs.

There’s also a 5 gram dose of BCAAs in the 2:1:1 ratio which means there’s just 2.5 grams of leucine, so it’s under-dosed - for best results, leucine should be dosed around 4 grams.

Keto BCAA also contains Peak02, a mushroom complex that provides energy and focus - so this is a product that gives keto dieters good energy sources with no stims or carbs while supporting fat loss.

What about value?

It’s priced about average with 25 servings.

BCAAs make sense for any dieter to preserve muscle, Keto BCAA is a little less about the BCAAs and a little more about energy that works within keto guidelines.

​Best For Cardio And Endurance Activities

Features:

  • ​3.5g L-leucine
  • 2.5g L-​Glutamine
  • ​​2g ​Beta Alanine (as CarnoSyn®)
  • ​​1.8g ​L-Isoleucine
  • 1.8g ​L-Valine
  • ​1g ​Citrulline Malate​​
  • ​1g ​Creatinol-O-Phosphate

​There are a whole lot of BCAA products but only a few stand out.

Formutech Nutrition has formulated BCAA Plus to not just be a BCAA formula, but a complete one that can help increase endurance while reducing fatigue and soreness.

The flavor isn't exotic but we've only see it once or twice among BCAA products, which is the Sweet Tea flavor, a super refreshing flavor to have while training.

Aside from the little 2.5g dose of glutamine, an ingredient that will be enjoyed by only those who believe it helps, it has a complete formula that ranges from citrulline malate and beta alanine to the rarely utilized ingredient Creatinol-O-Phosphate.

COP is an excellent endurance booster that can reduce lactic acid by countering the pH drop that occurs during multiple rep sets, it'll allow you to sustain intensity while delaying the onset of fatigue.

Other flavors include Melon, Orange, Strawberry Lemonade, Sweet Tea and Cotton Candy.

For those looking to maximize their stamina while reducing soreness, BCAA+ is the uniquely made formula that'll help with all of that.

Features:

  • ​3g L-Glutamine
  • ​2.5g InstAMINOS® L-Leucine Vegan
  • ​1.25g InstAMINOS® L-Isoleucine Vegan
  • ​1.25g InstAMINOS® L-valine Vegan
  • ​1g Taurine
  • ​1g L-Citrulline Malate
  • ​1g L-Tyrosine
  • 250mg Citicoline
  • ​200mg Rhodiola
  • ​100mg Natural Caffeine

​The Genius Brand built a reputation on their cognitive formulas but they also have several muscle building formulas such as protein and creatine, plus they feature fully disclosed labels as well as natural formulations.

Genius BCAA is their energy BCAA  and you can expect mild energy and good cognitive enhancement, just enough to help power you through your cardio training or other endurance activities.

Their BCAAs are a patented vegan source known as InstAMINOS, which are high quality and exceptionally pure.

They’re dosed at the typical 5g so we have just 2.5g leucine - a little low.

They’ve added in 3g glutamine, along with 1g citrulline malate, but  both of these are under dosed.

However, they round it out with a solid energy/focus complex consisting  of 1g tyrosine, 250 mg citicoline, 200 mg rhodiola and a mildly dosed (100 mg) of natural caffeine.

So, as far as energy, it’s a good formula and the caffeine content fits rights in with the standard for this type of product - as far as providing energy for any type of extended endurance event, all you have is the caffeine and BCAAs, which can be used by the body in the absence of carbs, thereby sparing the use of muscle tissue.

As a BCAA formula, it’s a decent looking formula with a unique cognitive twist and no artificial ingredients, but the biggest drawback is the dosing.

The BCAAs are dosed at the lowest possible effective range with only 2.5 grams of leucine, along with the glutamine and citrulline malate, and as we said, it’s not going to really get you too far in any extended cardio or endurance activity.

Genius BCAA has a lot of good things going for it, but really, you’re buying it for the cognitive benefits.

Features:

  • ​3.5g Leucine
  • ​2.5g Glutamine
  • ​1.75g Isoleucine
  • ​1.75g Valine
  • 1g Citrulline Malate (1:1)

​Considered to be the top godfather of BCAA’s and the innovator of the said category, Xtend made it possible for BCAA’s to taste good and consumable.

Scivation has a long history in the BCAA category, and they may even be one of the first companies to include electrolytes in their BCAA supplements.

These days, Xtend comes in many forms, flavors and types.

Xtend features the research proven ratio, 2:1:1, and it’s always been and still is the 7 grams of BCAA’s in each serving.

What’s more impressive is that they’ve managed to master each flavor, maybe a little too much mastering though.

Their green apple is one of the best flavors with orange dream and pink lemonade tasting medicore.

Pros

  • thumbs-up
    ​Using proven ratio
  • thumbs-up
    ​Fully disclosed
  • thumbs-up
    ​Decreased soreness
  • thumbs-up
    ​Increased recovery
  • thumbs-up
    ​Great taste

Cons

  • thumbs-down
    ​Lots of flavoring and dyes
  • thumbs-down
    ​Expensive
  • thumbs-down
    ​Not for health conscious people (too much flavoring)

Features:

  • ​15g Cluster Dextrin
  • ​10g Dextrose
  • ​5g Tapioca Maltodextrin
  • ​5g Vegan BCAAs 2:1:1 (Instantized)
  • ​3g Creatine Monohydrate
  • ​3g Betaine