Leucine is an important amino acid essential for muscle-building. As one of the branch chain amino acids, Leucine is an important supplement to all bodybuilders. Like the other branch chain amino acids, Leucine is metabolized in our muscles directly rather than in the liver, making it far more bioavailable. Leucine is found in small amounts in all sources of protein, however, taking additional Leucine by itself or as part of a BCAA supplement offers further benefits to bodybuilders. While Leucine in whole foods can take hours to be liberated and assimilated from its original source, supplemental Leucine is considered fast-acting and absorbed.
When Should I Take Leucine?
The Leucine dosage recommended is between 2-5 grams. This tends to be taken in a fasted state or with a low-protein meal. Leucine can be taken at any point of the day. In this article we will break down the benefits of taking it in various timings:
- Taking Leucine PreWorkout
- Taking Leucine IntraWorkout
- Taking Leucine PostWorkout
- Taking Leucine Before Bed
- Taking Leucine Between Meals
Taking Leucine Pre-Workout
Take 2.5 grams of Leucine around 30 minutes before training to encourage a muscle building stimulus. Leucine works as an trigger, metabolized directly in muscle tissue, to help activate the body’s mTOR pathway, induce protein synthesis and promote the repair and regrowth of new muscle tissue. You could also take 2.5 grams of Leucine before and/or during cardiovascular training. Cardio is an important part of bodybuilding because it helps to accelerate fat-loss for the purpose of developing muscle definition. Most trainers cannot stay lean without cardio, yet too much cardio can breakdown hard-earned muscle. Leucine helps to spare muscle tissue from being used as a source of energy by the body.
Taking Leucine Intra Workout
Add 5 grams of Leucine to the drink that you sip during your workout. Leucine can be used as an energy source for muscles, but more importantly it slows the rate of protein breakdown in skeletal muscle tissue. Leucine has also has been shown to decrease delayed onset muscle soreness following intense exercise.
Taking Leucine Post Workout
Mix another 5 grams of Leucine in your post-workout protein shake. The combination of carbohydrates, protein and Leucine has been seen to cause the greatest increase in muscle protein synthesis. In simple terms, given the same workout, you could gain more muscle, faster by adding Leucine than not.
Taking Leucine Before Bed
Take 5 grams of Leucine before bed. This helps to boost muscle building hormone production and accelerate muscle recovery during sleep, when the body repairs muscle tissue damaged by intense weight-training.
Taking Leucine Between Meals
Additional Leucine can be taken with or between meals to encourage faster recovery and increased protein synthesis. Add Leucine to a low-carb diet to prevent muscle breakdown and keep energy levels high. For this purpose 1.2 to 2.5 grams of leucine should do the trick.