Best CrossFit Supplements
Here is a chart of the recommended supplements and our picks for each category.
|Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)||Scivation Xtend||4.6/ 5||90 Servings|
|Whey Protein||Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein||4.7/ 5||28 Servings|
|Beta Alanine||BulkSupplements Pure Beta Alanine||5/ 5||150 Servings|
|Multi Vitamin||Muscle Pharm Armour-V||5/ 5||30 Servings|
|Glutamine||Muscle Pharm Glutamine||5/ 5||60 Servings|
|Creatine||Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder||4.7/ 5||114 Servings|
|Fish Oil||Kirkland Signature Omega-3 Fish Oil||4.6/ 5||400 soft gels|
As a Crossfitter you know how important getting the right nutrients are to build muscle, get stronger, and improve performance. If you don’t know already, you’re going to find out how important supplements are. As a hard-training athlete you’ll require a higher percentage of nutrients than the average person. Although you should aim to get all your nutrients from natural/fresh foods, supplements can help fill in any gaps.
For Overall Wellness
CrossFit WOD’s are designed to be highly intense. Because of this you need to be taking in slightly higher doses of vitamins than the regular person. Not all vitamins are created equal though, so you’ll have to do some research on this one. The best multivitamin/mineral supplements are those made from whole foods. These can be properly digested and assimilated into the body. You may spend a little more for them but it’ll be worth it.
When shopping for a multivitamin/mineral, a general rule to follow when looking at the ingredients label is to look for minerals that are attached to “gluconate” or “citrate”. If they’re attached to “sulfate” or “chloride” it means they’re synthetic forms and your body won’t be able to utilize them.
You’ll also want to look at the “other” or “inactive” ingredients. When reading this section, you want to make sure it doesn’t include extra sugar. Words to look out for are “sucrose”, “corn syrup”, and “fructose”.
The primary active ingredients in fish oil supplements are EPA and DHA. These two components are anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. What does that mean? When you do a high-intensity workout, your body responds with oxidation and inflammation. Fish oil supplements reduce this response. It also helps improve exercise recovery.
When shopping for fish oil, make sure to read the label. Look at what is listed for EPA and DHA in milligrams each (Aim for a 2:1 ratio of EPA:DPA. And like multivitamins, not all are created equal.
CrossFit Pre Workout Supplements
According to research, creatine is most effective when doing high-intensity and explosive training. Weight training, sprinting, football and baseball as well as CrossFitting are among the trainings that fall into this category.
A few benefits are:
• Increased muscle size
• Improved maximal strength and power
• Improved performance during exercise of high to maximal intensity
• Improved recovery following endurance activity
• Improved muscle and performance in vegetarians
One thing to note is that there are many forms of creatine. You want to take creatine monohydrate since it’s the one with the most scientific studies and research use.
If stomach discomfort becomes an issue, try micronized creatine. This form is creatine monohydrate, but with smaller molecules. It helps reduce bloating.
Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid. It’s produced naturally in the body.
This supplement increases:
• Muscular strength and muscle mass
• Muscular anaerobic endurance
• Aerobic endurance
• Exercise capacity so you can train harder for a longer time
BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acid) is an essential amino acid. Examples are isoleucine, leucine, and valine.
Supplementing with BCAA helps:
• Reduce cortisol levels (stress hormone that can make you fat)
• Protect against muscle loss
• Increase strength
• Improve endurance
• In faster recovery
• Regulate blood sugar levels
Unlike the other supplements, this one can be taken pre (20-30 grams) and post (30-40 grams) WOD.
Post Workout Supplements
Best CrossFit Protein
Taking whey protein post WOD will help in gaining lean muscle, burning fat and recovering faster. Whey digests quicker than casein. It also contains a higher amount of BCAA.
The best time to take whey protein is right after your WOD or up to one hour after. 20-30 grams should be enough but read the directions.
Some of the benefits of taking whey protein are:
• Gain in muscle size
• Increased strength
• Increased immunity
There are three types of whey protein – isolate, concentrate, and blends. Isolate protein are the most expensive because they have the highest amount of protein and the least amount of fat. Concentrate protein are the least expensive because they have the highest amount of fat and lowest amount in protein. The blends are typically less expensive than the isolate but have a good amount of protein.
Skeletal muscle tissue is made up of over 60 percent glutamine. During a WOD, glutamine levels are depleted. That means less strength, stamina and minimal recovery. Research shows that it can take up to six days for your glutamine levels to get back to normal. Taking a glutamine after a WOD will help replenish those levels.
Some benefits of glutamine are:
• Muscle gains
• Speedy recovery after a WOD
• Increased immunity
If you’re diabetic, you will need to talk to your doctor before supplementing with glutamine.
There is no way around adopting healthy eating habits. Supplements are just that – supplements. They are to compliment food not replace them. More research on your part may be needed if you have specific food allergies. Always look at the labels.