Supplement Guide for Crossfit Athletes
Staying fit and healthy requires a certain dedication and commitment. Simply put, it requires more time and effort than most people are willing to put in. But there are amongst us a breed of folks who are dedicated to health and wellbeing; people committed to keeping their bodies in prime condition. If you’re committed to staying healthy, you will surely be interested in the various ways you can improve the efficiency of your efforts.
Well, one way to do just that is to consider adding supplements to your diet. Health supplements can offer a variety of benefits, and can be very useful for your health. On this site, we cover information on just about every supplement out there – but today, we’re here to talk specifically about supplements for crossfit athletes.
As you know, crossfit is an intense form of exercise that covers a huge variety of exercises and routines. It’s an increasingly popular way to stay fit, but it is certainly not easy! Crossfit takes a toll on the body, which is one reason good supplements are beneficial.
How Can Supplements Help Crossfit Athletes?
Crossfit athletes put their bodies under some significant strain. They do rigorous exercise, intense cardio, heavy lifting, and some things that the average person might find a bit… well… crazy! Athletes in general, but particularly crossfit athletes, can benefit from supplementation because they often tend to need more nutrients, more amino acids, more energy.
Why Should Crossfit Athletes Take Supplements?
There are a variety of reasons why crossfit athletes should consider adding supplements to their diets. Crossfit enthusiasts, perform more exercise than the average person, burn more calories, and put our bodies under significant strain. Because of these factors, among others, crossfitters can benefit from health supplements. Here are just a few of the reasons:
Crossfit Athletes Often Need More Nutrients – Since crossfit is so intense, it burns a ton of calories and other nutrients. In order to have the energy needed to do well with crossfit, as well as recover properly after the workout, crossfitters tend to need more nutrients than the average person. All these nutrients can be difficult to obtain from your diet alone, but combining a good diet with good supplements can produce results. Getting adequate protein is vitally important for crossfitters as well, and it can be difficult to get enough from diet alone.
Crossfit Athletes Are More Prone to Injury – Crossfit is a thoroughly enjoyable and healthy activity. With that being said, it’s also hard on the body and can leave you more at risk for injury. Some top crossfit supplements can help in strengthening and protecting bones, joints, etc. With that said, supplements are no replacement for proper form and common sense – so be careful!
Crossfit Athletes Sweat – a LOT – Intense exercise such as crossfit generally produces a lot of sweat. While sweating is good for you, it can also lead to loss of nutrients – which in the long run can lead to nutrient deficiencies and related health problems.
Crossfit Athletes Push it to the Limit – For many, crossfit is all about pushing your body to the limit, performing as intensely as possible in order to make progress on your goals. In some cases supplements can help you give a competitive edge, and help you reach your goals faster.
10 Supplements For Crossfitters to Consider
Now, let’s take a look at the top crossfit supplements, the benefits they offer, and more! Enjoy!
What is Beta Alanine?
Beta alanine is a modified version of the helpful amino acid alanine. It’s primarily used in the fitness world because it can help to improve endurance, allowing for harder workouts and better gains. Beta alanine has been studied for a variety of uses, and the general consensus is that this supplement provides benefits with few side effects. It can be used on its own, and it’s also commonly used in pre-workout supplement blends.
How Beta Alanine Helps Crossfit Athletes
Beta alanine can be used by athletes for a variety of benefits. Primarily, it’s used for its ability to enhance physical endurance and athletic performance.
How to Take Beta Alanine
Beta alanine is typically in powder form (mixed into drinks) or capsule/pill form. The typical dose of beta alanine is between 2 and 5 grams per day. This amount is best split throughout the day to help keep your levels stead. Although beta alanine is a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements, there’s no need to take it immediately before a workout – as long as you take the dose at some point before working out, you will reap the benefits of the supplement.
Beta Alanine Side Effects
The most common side effect of beta alanine is a tingly feeling in the body or under the skin.
What is Creatine
Creatine is a natural organic acid that is found in human muscle tissues. It’s naturally present in the body, and it’s also found in high concentrations in meat products. Creatine is naturally synthesized in the body, and it plays an important role in energy production (namely in ATP production). In supplement form, creatine is a popular fitness tool because of its ability to help strength and improve workout performance. Creatine is one of the most popular workout supplements, and also an easy choice for this list of effective crossfit supplements.
How Creatine Helps Crossfit Athletes
Creatine and whey protein are perhaps the two most commonly used supplements by athletes. You can’t set foot in a gym or crossfit gym without seeing a shaker bottle full of workout supplements. Creatine in particular is extremely useful for crossfit enthusiasts, because of the performance-boosting effects it offers.
Creatine is one of the only supplements out there that can help improve strength in short workouts. Essentially, this natural substance can temporarily increase the amount of weight you can lift, as well as help improve your energy levels. This leads to longer, more productive workouts, and in the long run to much better results from your efforts!
How to Take Creatine
Creatine comes in powdered form, both flavored and unflavored. You’ll just need to mix it with water or juice, or throw it into a smoothie. It’s easy to mix up, but generally it dissolves better if you use warm water.
As for dosage, typically manufacturers will recommend a dose of 5g per day. Some people prefer to do a “loading” phase, wherein they take large doses for 5-7 days, essentially allowing their creatine levels to build up to optimal levels. Then, they return to a normal dose and continue taking 2-5g per day, every day. Studies involving creatine loading are limited, so it’s hard to say if this is more effective than simply taking a standard 5g/day dose. It’s does not seem to be necessary at all.
Timing is not overly important; you can take it at any time of the day, but typically it’s good to take sometime before your workout. You should take creatine with plenty of water.
Creatine Side Effects
Creatine is a safe supplement, but it does have some minor side effects, the most common of which is bloating/slight weight gain. As we mentioned, creatine makes your muscles absorb and hold more water – which is part of the reason it’s effective at boosting athletic performance. Unfortunately, that water can also mean some added weight. It is purely water weight, and it will go away when you stop taking creatine, but nonetheless it’s an annoyance for some folks. It’s also important to drink a lot of water while you take creatine, because it can cause dehydration.
Go to: Top 10 Creatine Supplements
3.) Whey Protein
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is a protein derived from dairy products. It’s actually a byproduct of the cheesemaking process, and is found naturally in many food items. In supplement form, whey protein consists of dried, powdered pure whey. It’s used by tons of athletes as a way to increase protein intake, improve post-workout recovery, and reap all the benefits of the many amino acids contained in each gram of protein. It’s also commonly used as a diet aid, because it helps you feel full when you’re on a restrictive diet.
How Whey Protein Helps Crossfit Athletes
Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements amongst strength trainers, and for good reason! It’s also one of the most popular and effective crossfit supplements. Why do so many crossfitters and athletes choose to use whey protein?
Whey protein is typically used after working out, as a recovery aid supplement. It does a great job of supplying your muscles with the nutrients and amino acids that they need to recover.
Another reason that whey is good for crossfit is that it helps athletes meet their daily protein intake needs. Athletes of all types, and crossfitters particularly, need a ton of protein – way more than the average person needs. Meeting daily protein requirements through food alone can be difficult (and expensive), but whey can help exponentially.
How to Take Whey Protein
Whey protein is best used immediately following your workout. The faster you can take your dose, the better. Whey can digest in as little as a half hour, making it a favorite for athletes and weightlifters because it gets to work very rapidly.
Whey typically comes in flavored powders. It can be mixed into milk, water, or juice, or mixed into a smoothie. You can also get creative with protein powder recipes. However you choose to consume it, the effects will be more or less the same. You’ll want to follow the dosage instructions found on your container of whey (most brands include a scoop that equates to one serving size). Typically, a serving will contain around 20-30g of protein.
Whey Protein Side Effects
You won’t typically notice too many side effects when taking whey, but some are possible. The most commonly reported side effects are gastrointestinal issues, such as gas, bloating, nausea, etc. but these effects are rare. Since whey protein comes from dairy sources, people who are lactose intolerant should avoid it.
Go to: Top 10 Whey Protein Powders
4.) Post Workout Supplements
What are Post Workout Supplements?
Post workout supplements are exactly what they sound like: supplements designed to be taken after your workout. They are developed with rapid and complete recovery in mind. They typically contain a blend of several different supplements, nutrients, proteins, etc. to provide optimal effects. Each supplement varies in its unique composition, but they all share the same aim: to help you recovery quickly and completely.
How Post Workout Supplements Help Crossfit Athletes
During intense exercise, your body and muscles are put under intense strain. After your workouts, you need to rest, recuperate, and recover. You also need to replenish your body with various nutrients; in particular, you need adequate protein, amino acids, etc. to help kick start recovery. Post-workout supplements made our list of the best crossfit supplements because they provide an easy way to get these nutrients quickly and conveniently.
Post-workout supplements are a great way to help your body’s recovery efforts after exercising. They typically contain a variety of ingredients that work synergistically.
How to Take Post Workout Supplements
As the name implies, post-workout supplements should be taken after you exercise. Try to take a dose as soon as you get home from the gym, or even while you’re still at the gym (use a BlenderBottle for easier on-the-go mixing). Other than that, simply follow the instructions on the product packaging. Typically these products will come in a flavored powder that you can mix into your liquid of choice.
Post Workout Supplement Side Effects
Typically, these products contain a mix of several different ingredients, which means that several potential side effects exist. While most people won’t notice any negative effects, potential side effects include nausea/stomach upset, bloating, etc. If you’re curious, you can research the individual ingredients found in the post-workout(s) you’re considering.
What are BCAAs?
BCAAs are branched chain amino acids. This is the name for a category of amino acids which consists of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are a favorite in the fitness community because they help improve protein synthesis, and can even sometimes help improve the quality of your workouts. Most amino acids are useful for post-workout recovery and a variety of other uses, but BCAAs in particular are very beneficial.
How BCAAs Help Crossfit Athletes
BCAAs are good crossfit supplements because they provide a number of athlete-specific benefits. They are useful before, during, and after your workout sessions, making them a unique and versatile addition to any supplement stack.
How to Take BCAAs
BCAAs are unique in that they are beneficial throughout the workout process. With that being said, there is not much benefit to taking BCAAs on days you aren’t working out, or taking a dose hours before your workout.
Dosage varies depending on the product, but you’ll typically see a range of 2-6g per serving. BCAAs are typically found in powdered form, which must be mixed into a liquid. You can take them on their own, or throw them in your post-workout shake.
BCAAs Side Effects
Side effects are rare, but as with anything, they are possible. Most folks won’t experience any negative effects, but some new users report feeling fatigue and/or loss of coordination.
Go to: Top 10 BCAA Supplements
What are Multivitamins?
Multivitamins are one supplement that virtually everyone is familiar with. These are staples of medicine cabinets and health store shelves around the world. Multivitamins are the most commonly used form of supplement, and for good reason; they can help you in efforts to get adequate nutrients and vitamins in your daily diet. They are, of course, no replacement for a healthy, balanced diet, but they can help you fill the gaps in your nutritional intake.
How Multivitamins Help Crossfit Athletes
We added multivitamins to our list because they provide a number of benefits that are important to athletes and the general population alike.
Each and every day, the human body needs a wide variety of micro and macro nutrients, minerals and vitamins in order to function properly. The government has official recommended daily amounts for the most important nutrients. If you eat a very healthy, well-balanced diet complete with lots of fruits and vegetables, you are likely to get most or all of the nutrients you need naturally through your diet. On the other hand, if your diet is less than perfect, there may be some gaps left in your nutritional needs. Multivitamins can help fill this gap.
Also, many nutrients are more important for athletes than they are for the average person. Additionally, because of the intense workouts that crossfitters complete, they may be more prone to nutrient deficiencies. These two factors combined make it easy to see why multivitamins are some of the best supplements for crossfit athletes.
How to Take Multivitamins
Multivitamins are a breeze to take; simply follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. Typically, you’ll take one or two servings per day, and that’s it. Multivitamins should be taken with food for optimal absorption.
Multivitamin Side Effects
The majority of people who take multivitamins don’t experience any negative side effects. With that being said, some effects are always possible. The most commonly reported issues are upset stomach, headache, or unpleasant taste in mouth. There are some potential interactions with other medications that you should be aware of. So it is essential to speak with your doctor before taking a multivitamin.
Go to: Top 10 Multivitamins for Men
7.) Fish Oil
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is a popular supplement that is made from the oil extracted from certain types of fish. Typically the oil is extracted from cold-water oily fish, including salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies. If you eat a lot of fish already, taking fish oil may not be necessary – but otherwise, fish oil is a good crossfit supplement that can help in a number of ways. Chiefly, the supplement is known for its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, consisting of DHA and EPA. These acids provide a number of important benefits.
How Fish Oil Helps Crossfit Athletes
Fish oil can actually be quite useful for just about anyone, but it’s particularly useful for athletes. This simple supplement can help improve your athletic performance because it’s packed with omega-3.
It’s also quite useful as a general health booster, so the benefits go far beyond the gym. Add that to the fact that it’s a natural supplement with very few side effects, and you can see why it made our list of the best crossfit supplements.
How to Take Fish Oil
Fish oil is simple to take; it comes in capsule form, and you can take it with or without food (although it absorbs best with a meal). It’s safe to take multiple servings per day, and you can choose when to take it based on your schedule.
Fish Oil Side Effects
The most common side effect of fish oil is more comical than harmful – it can make your breath smell like fish! While this is certainly a minor side effect, it can nonetheless be a bit annoying. To counter this, take fish oil with a meal, and/or try freezing the capsules. We recommend you speak with your doctor before taking fish oil.
Go to: Top 10 Fish Oil Supplements
8. ) L-Carnitine
What is L-Carnitine?
L-carnitine is an amino acid that is very popular in the fitness community. It’s actually an amino that’s naturally synthesized in the body, but it’s also available in supplement form.
How L-Carnitine Helps Crossfit Athletes
L-carnitine is known as a staple of the fitness world because of the impressive benefits it offers. It’s primarily used as a way to boost fat-burning efforts.
How to Take L-Carnitine
L-carnitine usually comes in pill/capsule form, but it’s also sometimes available in powder form. It’s also often used in combination with other ingredients to create powerful workout blends. Regardless of what form it takes, there’s one important thing to remember with L-carnitine: it must be taken with food. Specifically, carbohydrates are important to the absorption and proper use of this supplement. So, make sure to take your dose with a meal, or alongside a pre-workout supplement that contains fast-acting carbohydrates. Other than that, simply follow the dosage instructions found on the product packaging.
L-Carnitine Side Effects
Most folks won’t notice any serious side effects, but stomach upset, nausea and heartburn have all been reported. It’s best to take the recommended dosage and no more, unless otherwise instructed by a medical professional.
9.) Pre-Workout Supplements
What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
Pre-workout supplements are products designed to boost your workout performance in a number of ways. They aim to provide you with energy (often using caffeine), strength (using creatine and more) and endurance (using BCAAs, carnitine, etc.) These products typically contain a wide variety of ingredients, which are intended to work together to produce optimal results.
How Pre-Workout Supplements Help Crossfit Athletes
Pre-workouts are good supplements for crossfit because they help crossfitters improve their performance during those intense workout sessions. Whether you’re a new crossfitter or you’ve been doing it for years, you can likely benefit from a little energy boost at the gym.
Pre-workouts are designed to be all-in-one products, allowing you to take a single dose to be ready for your workout. While you could also buy individual ingredients to take separately, you’ll likely find the convenience of pre-made blends to be beneficial. Plus, many of these ingredients work together synergistically, and the formulas are developed by experts to provide optimal doses of many of the most effective workout supplements.
How to Take Pre-Workout Supplements
Pre-workouts are designed to help boost your performance at the gym, so obviously they should be taken before working out. More specifically, you’ll want to take your dose about 15-30 minutes before you begin your workout. That will give enough time for the supplement to digest and begin taking effect.
As for dosage, you’ll want to closely follow the instructions found on the product you’re using. Because of some of the ingredients commonly used in these products, you should not take more than the recommended dose to avoid side effects.
Pre-Workout Supplement Side Effects
Pre-workouts contain a variety of ingredients, and each product differs in its formula. For this reason, it’s tough to tell you specifics on potential side effects. What we can tell you is the most common side effects, which are jitters, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. These are all caused by caffeine. Most pre-workouts contain relatively high amounts of caffeine (because caffeine provides workout benefits), but this can also cause side effects. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to start with half a dose and work your way up. Additionally, don’t take pre-workouts at night, or even in the late afternoon, as it takes a while for the caffeine to wear off. As mentioned, other side effects are possible as well.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in a wide variety of processes within the body. It’s used by the body for energy production, immune health, heart health, circulatory health, and much more. It’s actually involved in literally hundreds of processes in the body, so it’s impossible to list them all here. For crossfitters, magnesium is important primarily for its role in energy production.
How Magnesium Helps Crossfit Athletes
Magnesium is one mineral that can do a whole lot of good for a wide range of people. But athletes in particular need this mineral on a daily basis. And while it’s possible that you get enough magnesium from your diet alone, a ton of people are deficient in it.
Magnesium deficiency can cause a whole host of problems, ranging from fatigue to migraine headaches and worse. If you get enough from your diet, you may not notice any significant benefits from this supplement – but if you are deficient, you’ll likely start to notice a wide range of health benefits.
How to Take Magnesium
Magnesium is offered in pill/capsule form, and it’s best taken every day. You should take your dose with food, to aid in absorption and reduce the risk of stomach upset. As for dosage, you’ll want to follow the instructions on the product you’re using, but you can expect a dosage amount in the range of 200-400mg.
Magnesium Side Effects
Some folks have reported side effects such as nausea, diarrhea and upset stomach, although these are rare. So long as you take the recommended dose and no more, you shouldn’t notice any side effects.
Go to: Top 10 Magnesium Supplements