In case you hadn't noticed, CrossFit competitors are getting fitter, faster, and stronger. And I'm not just talking about the top-tier athletes. Boxes worldwide are packed with some of the strongest and most jacked lifters out there, and a big reason is how seriously they take their nutrition and supplements.
If you're looking to shine at a CrossFit competition, or just perform better in your workouts and feel better doing it, these five supplements can help.
1. Creatine Monohydrate
Why? Simple: Creatine has been shown over and over again to help athletes increase muscle mass and strength levels, boost high-intensity work capacity, and improve body composition. It's affordable, too!*
Speaking to CrossFit in particular, creatine supplements help increase the amount of the specific fuel source, phosphocreatine (PCr) that your muscles need to perform high-intensity exercise—which sounds like just about every CrossFit workout.
Keep creatine simple: 5 grams per day, every day. Make it a ritual! VIEW ALL
Recommended Dose: You have two choices:
- Simply take 5 grams as a "maintenance dose" every day
- Perform a "loading protocol" of four 5-gram doses per day for 5 days, then 5 grams per day thereafter
Both get you to the same place in about a month's time, but the loading protocol may cause some stomachaches in the first week.
CrossFit WODs are famous for pushing the pace and intensity in a way that creates plenty of lactate and hydrogen ion buildup in muscles. This is what leads to that awful, burning, "I can't possibly do one more rep" feeling.
This is where beta-alanine comes in. It helps increase your body's stores of carnosine, which can get rid of these extra hydrogen ions and can boost both exercise performance and the amount of training volume you can tolerate. There's even evidence that it can help your creatine work more effectively!*
Maybe that's all you'll need to crank out an extra round in your next AMRAP or shave a few seconds off your next Fran or other killer WOD.
Don't trust your pre-workout to deliver all your beta-alanine. Take it daily to support hard training! VIEW ALL
Recommended Dose: The science is clear: You need to take it every day, not just in your pre-workout. Take at least 3 grams per day, whenever works best. If you're not a fan of the tingling feeling beta-alanine sometimes produces, split your dose into smaller servings throughout the day.
BCAAs are a common sight in pretty much every type of weight room, and CrossFit boxes are no exception. Why? Well, they taste good and help you stay hydrated. But sipping on BCAAs before or during workouts can also help speed up recovery and reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness after a tough session.*
Tired of plain water? BCAAs are an easy upgrade with a big upside. VIEW ALL
Recommended Dose: Take 6-10 grams of total amino acids before or during your workout. Look for products that contain a 2:1:1 or 3:1:1 ratio of leucine:isoleucine:valine to make sure you're getting the leucine you need to maximize muscle recovery.
4. Fish Oil
When it comes to building strength and muscle mass and improving all-around performance, recovery is just as important as your workout itself. Fish oil, an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, can help optimize that recovery process.*
The two essential fatty acids found in fish oil, EPA and DHA, can help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness and speed up the recovery process. This is a supplement you may already be taking for its health benefits, but this might be the push you need to take it more consistently!*
Fish oil isn't just a health supplement, it's a no-brainer for lifters, too! VIEW ALL
Recommended Dose: Take enough fish oil every day to get a combined total of 1.5-3.0 grams of EPA and DHA. To help with absorption, take the fish oil with a meal that contains some fat.
5. Protein Powder
Yes, can meet your protein needs through whole foods alone. But if you have a busy life where you go straight from the box to work, or if you track your macros and have trouble meeting your daily protein goals, then a protein shake can be your best friend.
But which kind of powder is right for you? Fast-digesting protein like whey is ideal to take post-workout because it improves your muscles' ability to recover and adapt after strenuous exercise. Protein types like whey/casein, milk, or egg proteins on the other hand, enable your body to maintain high rates of building muscle and low rates of muscle breakdown.
Meeting your daily protein recommendations is far easier with protein shakes than without! VIEW ALL
Recommended Dose: Take 20-40 grams immediately post-workout, or use between meals so your body can continue to build and repair your muscles.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.