CrossFit is one of the most demanding exercise regimes your body can undergo – it demands extreme physical fitness and adaptability. You will train your body hard from head to toe.
For these reasons, it’s important that you supplement correctly to enhance your performance and build your strength. Dedicated and professional CrossFitters don’t just take any old supplements. They take a selection of carefully chosen products that all serve to cater perfectly for their needs (fuelling your workouts, recovery and muscle growth)
If you want to build muscle, jump faster, train harder or look better aesthetically with CrossFit, you need to be taking these supplements…
All CrossFitters should have a quality protein isolate source to consume immediately after their workouts. Protein isolate such as whey isolate or soy isolate (for vegetarians) is lower in carbs, lactose and fat than your standard proteins.
An isolate protein undergoes further processing which yields an end product with purer protein and fewer calories. Protein isolate has more intact bioactive peptides, which can be rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream.
Protein is vital for muscular growth and recovery following a rigorous physical performance, and your ability to develop lean, strong muscles that can withstand the onslaught placed on them by CrossFit sessions will be greatly enhanced when using a supplement like this.
BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids)
Branch chain amino acids are the building blocks of muscle. They stimulate protein synthesis in the body and allow you to protect your lean tissue levels when you’re eating a calorie-controlled diet (more specifically, when you’re trying to cut down on your body fat levels)
One of the other huge benefits of taking BCAA’s is that owing to their anti-catabolic (meaning that they stop the breakdown of muscle cells) nature – they can come in incredibly useful for periods where you’re performing an intense exercise for a sustained duration.
There will undoubtedly be periods where you plan to train (cardio perhaps) for longer than 30-45 minutes, and taking some BCAA’s shortly before and during your session will mean that you’re not as likely to lose any of the lean tissue you’ve worked so hard to develop.
This “catabolism” can happen when all of the available glycogen (stored sugar) stores in your muscles have been depleted, after which your body may turn to your muscles for energy.
Creatine (Kre-Alkalyn or Creatine Ethyl Ester)
A high-quality creatine supplement could potentially provide you with the ability to smash out a few extra reps per set or even perform explosive bodyweight movements over a sustained period with greater efficiency.
We actually have creatine in our muscle cells already and it’s a standard part of our biological make-up. Creatine is responsible for assisting us in the performance of any short-term “explosive” movements, so it probably goes without saying that it’s a vital component for performing a CrossFit workout effectively.
Potentially, the most popular product within this category is creatine monohydrate. This form of creatine will allow you to enhance your performance by drawing more fluid to the muscles (another vital component for muscular performance) and enhancing their capacity to function as a result.
Additional reading: Creatine: To Load or Not?
One of the major downsides to the product, however, is that it can draw TOO much water into the cells (including the stomach area annoyingly) meaning that it can make you look bloated.
You’ll be much better off using either Kre-Alkalyn or Creatine Ethyl Ester being that they both successfully drive fluid into the muscles with minimal excess fluid storage in the process. This makes for not only a leaner appearance, but means you’re not carrying any unnecessary extra body weight (vital for optimum performance) too.
Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD)
One of the most important aspects of your workouts is both your post workout nutrition and your pre-workout fuel – cyclic dextrin is the perfect substance to optimise your performance and maximise your results in both of these capacities.
CrossFit workouts rely heavily on stored glycogen in order to be able to perform them to a maximal extent. Therefore HBCDs are great to fill your muscles after a heavy WOD with carbs to accelerate your recovery.
The reason why this form of dextrin (dextrin is simply a rapid-acting form of carbohydrate) is that it has been formulated to absorb with the utmost efficiency, faster perhaps than almost everything else that has come before it.
For this reason, it’s also one of if not the single best product on the market for combining with whey protein in order to shuttle the BCAA’s (contained within the protein powder) to your muscles at an accelerated rate.
Regardless of how you choose to use it, it simply going to provide you with an immense surge of energy, massively increasing your recovery so you’ll be ready to smash that WOD next day.
ZMA is basically a blend of zinc and magnesium (with a little added vitamin B6) and it has become immensely popular amongst the lifting crowd owing to the fact that it can enhance your testosterone output.
The more testosterone you have flowing in your body, the higher your strength and lean mass development capacity is – both of these positive benefits are obviously going to have a huge impact on your crossfit performance.
Another great reason why so many people swear by it is that it actually helps you to sleep more easily, and more important – more deeply. It’s been proven that (especially for active individuals) an ideal of 8 hours sleep is required per night.
It’s only when we hit this “golden” sleep number that we release adequate enough growth hormone to repair and fully recover from our physical activity sessions.
For the positive elements mentioned above, you should definitely integrate ZMA as part of your supplement stack from now on.
Beta alanine actually comes from many of the food sources we consume; only it’s not in a high enough quantity to create a dramatic difference on our physical performance.
What this substance actually does is reduce the buildup of lactic acid, thus ensuring that you can perform rigorous physical exercise over longer periods without having to take any unwanted breaks.
This reduction in lactic acid directly translates into an enhanced ability to perform both resistance and cardiovascular-based activity being that fatigue won’t set in anywhere near as early as it would without using alanine.
This could be one of the most effective supplements you’ve ever used as a crossfitter being that lactic buildup is likely the most common inhibition you may face whilst training.
This supplement is going to deliver very practical results in the form of reduced inflammation of the joints (and immune support) both of which could have an enormous impact on the outcome of your training sessions.
It probably goes without saying, but crossfit isn’t exactly “easy” on the body, and you’ll find that your joints will be exposed to a fair amount of wear and tear as you smash out those burpees and power cleans. s a result, you’re certainly going to spend no small amount of your time aching from the high intensity nature of the movements.
Aching isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it’s often simply a sign that you’ve done something “new” to your body, but it can sometimes be fairly severe to the extent that you’ll head into subsequent sessions without fully recovering from the last.
In this capacity, fish oil could be indispensable as it’ll theoretically allow you to get rid of the soreness much faster, plus with the added immune support (training DOES briefly diminish your immune function) you’ll find that you’re able to “keep going” better than ever before, day after day.
These supplements are hands down going to be some of the best out there for you to maximise your CrossFit training results with. There’d be no harm whatsoever in using all of them, and should you do so – you’d have an immensely powerful supplementary arsenal at your disposal.
Did we miss something? Any supplements you find super beneficial? Leave us a comment!