Crossfit is, no doubt, a fast-growing sport, that allows strength, resistance and intensity improvements.
Whatever your goal is: to increase muscle mass, lose weight or to define your abs, it is important that this supplement is adequate to your diet. That said, a protein rich diet (meat, eggs, milk and dairy), carbs (pasta, rice, potatoes) to provide energy, vitamins and fibers (fruits and vegetables) are absolutely essential.
A Crossfit WOD brings devastating benefits to your muscle fibers, so that’s why it is important to have a good diet and take the correct supplements.
Supplements can also be used according to each person’s goal, but due to the exercise’s high intensity, you should at least always use Whey Protein after working out to rebuild and increase muscle mass. Besides that, you can also use a thermogenic to boost fat burn; Creatine, to increase the workout’s intensity, stimulate muscle volume gains and increase strength and resistance as you perform the reps; and Vitamins, to keep the immune system well-protected from the stress caused by the effort.
Without these and other complements, it may get harder to recover workout after workout, to prevent injuries and to overcome muscle stagnation and make progresses.
The following list points out the best supplements Crossfitters use. If you do Crossfit or you’re thinking about starting, take a look at the 6 best supplements that should be part of your plan.
1. Whey Protein
Unlike what you may think, whey protein is not exclusively directed to those who lift weights only. Every athlete needs protein to repair muscle tissue, increase muscle mass and strength. If you want to recover quickly between workout sessions and be able to shorten the WOD time, you should take a protein supplement before and after working out. Regardless of your sport, whey protein should always be first in your list.
If you don’t yet know which protein you should take, according to your goal, learn how to pick the best Whey Protein and to analyze everything you should take into account when buying one.
Tip1: Essential, 20-30 grams before working out and 30-40grams after working out. Optional, take whenever you don’t have the chance to eat a solid meal. However, the recommended is to follow a balanced diet plan and to not replace your meals regularly with protein shakes.
Beta-alanine supplements improve physical performance due to their ability to increase carnosine levels. This type of supplement allows you to delay hydrogen accumulation and, consequently, fighting/delaying muscle fatigue. That will make you work out for longer without getting tired easily. Taking into consideration an analysis published in 2012, beta-alanine is more useful in activities that last between 60 to 240 seconds.
Tip2: Add 2 to 4g to your pre-workout shake.
3. Fish Oil, Omega-3 and Vitamin D3
This oil helps to strengthen the cell’s membranes, fights inflammations and increases the brain’s blood flow. These are important helpers when it comes to muscle recovery, because they will help to repair the damage that was caused in the muscles during the workout. Besides that, it stimulates protein synthesis and muscle growth. In its turn, Vitamin D3 is important not only for the strengthening of the immune systems (fights the free radicals) but also to increase the absorption of calcium by the bones. Vitamin D3 contributes to a healthy bone structure, because high intensity Crossfit movements put a lot of pressure on your bones and joints, an indicator that can lead to possible injuries. A few studies state that this powerful vitamin increases energy production, provoking an increase in the contraction of muscle fiber and making it happen faster.
Tip3: L-Carnitine can also be a strong ally for Crossfitters and its purpose is to decrease the body fat index. To improve fat loss, combine L-Carnitine with Omega3 Essential Fatty Acids.
Glutamine is the most abundant aminoacid in the muscle tissue and it’s produced by the body in the right amounts to fulfill the daily needs. However, due to the intensity of the WODs, glutamine levels fall drastically and it is normal that it affects your performance (strong decrease in maximum strength and resistance) and that it delays the recovery process. Besides decreasing post-workout muscle stress and helping with injury prevention, it also helps to synthesize protein, to stimulate the normal functioning of the immune system and to improve focus, memory and humor.
Tip4: The daily dosage can go from 500mg to 15g, divided by 3 servings during the day: before working out, after working out – along with simple carbs (ex: fruit and honey) to increase insulin levels and speed up the entry of glutamine in muscle cells to fasten up the recovery process – and before going to bed. The amount you should take depends on your body weight and amount of protein you eat. If you’re already on a supplement like Whey Protein, pay attention because it may already contain glutamine in its composition.
5. Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Crossfiters frequently experience pain in the joints, but this can be minimized and even avoided if you add a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement to your plan.
Glucosamine is produced by the body and its main functions are regenerating cartilage and minimizing joint pain. The body’s ability to convert glucose into glucosamine decreases with age due to the reduction of the amount of the enzyme that synthesizes glutamine. That said, for those who play such a physically demanding sport, it is necessary to overcome this barrier with the help of a supplement. Besides that, it only takes an injury for your body to stop being able to produce enough glucosamine to allow an adequate healing.
Chondroitin is also produced by the body and one of the cartilage’s main components. Like glucosamine, chondroitin attracts the water in your body to the cartilage’s matrix and stimulates its production. It also keeps the enzyme from dissolving cartilage. Besides preventing cartilage loss, it promotes an increase in the range of the movement and reduces pain symptoms in the long term, when taken with glucosamine.
ZMA contains zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6. Both minerals are known for playing an important part when it comes to tissue recovery and to calm down the nervous system. As for vitamin B6, it takes action in the process of energy production. It also promotes an increase in testosterone production, a fact that will contribute to the growth of your muscles.
The amount and type of supplements you take are defined according to your physical condition and aesthetic goals. That’s why it is so important to see a nutritionist to know what best suits your needs.
Mr Protein, The 7 best supplements for Crossfit, March 2014, translation and adaptation of the original version
Hobson RM et. Al., Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis, July 2012. [*], translation and adaptation of the original version