When it comes to high-intensity functional training programs like CrossFit, the goal is to build a body that is capable of practically anything. Whether it’s rope climbs, sandbag cleans, or sprinting through a 100-meter swim; endurance, strength, and recovery are the most vital aspects to your training. There’s a reason why Crossfitters are considered the fittest humans on earth.
Adding the right supplements to your programming and nutrition protocol can help specific aspects of your training, so that you can increase training volume, fight muscle fatigue, clock faster times, generate more power, increase strength, and recover faster. But with so many supplements to choose from, it’s hard to know which supplements are the best for crossfitters and your goals.
What’s It Good For? Strength, Endurance, Recovery
One of the best supplements for crossfitters in regards to all-around performance is Citrulline Malate. Never heard of it? Here’s the scoop.
Citrulline Malate is a combination of the non-essential amino-acid L-Citrulline and Malic Acid. The reason Citrulline Malate is so beneficial for Crossfitters is that it helps with strength, endurance, and recovery (3 critical components of being a well-rounded athlete) It’s the only supplement that helps with every component of your performance – the only one.
L-Citrulline is converted into another amino acid called L-Arginine, which facilitates the production of Nitric Oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that triggers the widening of blood vessels, to help with blood, oxygen, and nutrient transport. Greater oxygenation of skeletal muscle will improve endurance and help build lean muscle mass (R) That means, that you’ll not only be able to lift heavier, but that you’ll be able to fight muscle fatigue and hammer out more reps, and clock faster times, since you’ll have better aerobic capacity when you’re chipping away at your thrusters.
That’s not all. A study that included 17 pre-professional cyclists were given either a placebo or 6g of Citrulline Malate two hours prior to a 137-km cycling stage. The research concluded that Citrulline Malate supplementation increased amino acid concentration and utilization, especially branched chain amino acid (another beneficial supplement) concentration, which can assist with building and rebuilding lean muscle mass, as compared to the control group. (R)
Citrulline Malate is regarded as a top supplement for crossfitters due to its well-established capacity to improve anaerobic performance and alleviate muscle soreness.A clinical study found in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning found that Citrulline Malate can improve repetitions by 52.92% and decrease muscle soreness by 40%. (R) Considering that improving rep count and deceasing soreness are two critical components of becoming more competitive in Crossfit, Citrulline Malate proves to easily be one of the best supplements for crossfitters.
RELATED ARTICLE The Best Supplement For CrossFitters: Citrulline Malate
Ensure your Citrulline Malate supplement contains at least 5g per serving. Numerous clinical studies suggest a range of 5-8g per serving.
What’s It Good For? Strength, Endurance, Delayed Muscle Fatigue
Endurance is the key to your overall performance. If you can sprint faster, row harder, and clock faster times, you can gain a competitive advantage and improve your results. Beta-Alanine is a beta amino acid, which has proven to enhance muscular endurance and is amongst one of the most popular sports supplements for crossfitters and for good reason. (4)
Beta-Alanine is a non-essential beta-amino acid, proven to improve muscle endurance by counteracting the development of lactic acid. Lactic acid is created from the buildup of Hydrogen Ions (H+), which causes our muscles pH to drop, becoming more acidic. During high-intensity training, lactic acid produces a burning sensation and causes increased fatigue, resulting in a loss of power and eventually muscle fatigue. Imagine if you were able to fight or delay muscle fatigue and maintain a high-level of performance even at the point of exhaustion? You would inevitably increase training volume. More training volume and delayed muscle fatigue means harder and faster turns on the assault bike, increased rowing, and overall – more reps. (R, R) Beta-Alanine is definitely a supplement you should consider taking while high intensity functional training.
RELATED ARTICLE Beta-Alanine: The Best Supplement For Increasing Muscular Endurance
RELATED ARTICLE 10 Studies That Prove Elite Athletes Should Take Beta-Alanine
Research shows that a daily intake of 5g of Beta-Alanine for up to 4 weeks can significantly enhance muscle carnosine levels and boost endurance training.
What’s It Good For? Strength, Power, Endurance
If you google the best supplements for crossfitters nearly every search result will include creatine on their list. Since the introduction of creatine in 1993 as a sports performance supplement, Creatine has proven to be one of the most highly studied and effective supplements to help generate more power and force, to improve strength. But is Creatine one of the best supplements for crossfitters? To grasp the disparity between Kre-Alkalyn and Creatine, it is imperative to comprehend the functioning of creatine.Here’s the scoop
Creatine is a non-essential protein that helps your body perform explosive movements through the generation of your body’s energy supply ATP. Creatine helps enhance athletic performance through its ability to support short bouts of intense training, by producing higher muscle force and power. Research shows that the greatest improvements in exercise performance are found during a series of repetitive high-power reps, such as those found in high-intensity functional training.
The problem is that traditional creatine monohydrate, despite its impressive enhancement in proven athletic performance, has some noteworthy drawbacks such as
- Water Retention
- Loading and de-loading phases
- Cycling phases (you have to cycle on and off)
Kre-Alkalyn is a pH corrected form of creatine, which was created to address the negative side effects of Creatine Monohydrate. You see, creatine is converted into a toxic by-product called creatinine, which your body can’t absorb and use towards creating more muscle force, power, and gains. Kre-Alkalyn solves for that problem, by alkalizing and balancing the pH, and therefore delivers higher concentrated amounts of creatine without the toxic conversion to creatinine. In addition, Kre-Alkalyn is a better choice for crossfitters and endurance athletes, because
- Kre-Alkalyn is not degraded to creatinine which subsequently leads to greater bioavailability
- Kre-Alkalynsolves for side effects such as bloating and cramping.
- 5 grams of Kre-Alkalynis equivalent to about 10–15 grams of ordinary Creatine Monohydrate
- Kre-Alkalyndoes not require a loading phase or de-loading phase
- Kre-Alkalyn, unlike creatine monohydrate enhances VO2 max and aerobic capacity (R)
RELATED ARTICLE The Best Type Of Creatine: Kre-Alkalyn Vs Creatine Monohydrate
Studies suggest taking at least 3g of Kre-Alkalyn 30 minutes before your WOD to help with endurance, power, and speed.
What’s It Good For? Strength, Recovery, Hydration, Muscle Mass
Essential amino acids and electrolytes, are two of the most beneficial supplements for long distance and endurance runners.
Intra-workout supplements can be extremely beneficial to help boost endurance and provide fuel for long-lasting training and prolonged bouts of exercise. Athletes who train for several hours in the gym, on the track, or on the pavement, need to keep their energy levels, focus, and hydration optimized at all times to maximize their training capacity and output. That’s where intra-workout supplements can benefit performance the most.
The majority of intra-workout supplements contain fast-acting carbohydrates, essential amino acids, and electrolytes.
Essential amino acids, otherwise known as EAAs, have become a popular sports nutrition supplement for athletes. Studies suggest that supplementing with EAAs can help improve the muscle building process and reduce muscle mass breakdown enhancing athletic performance.
What’s great about Hydrolyzed Collagen, is that it’s virtually tasteless, odorless and you can add it to your smoothies, shakes, and coffee without even noticing it. We recommend adding 10-20g of Hydrolyzed Collagen to your diet.
What’s It Good For? Recovery, Strength, Digestive Health
L-Glutamine plays a vital role in preventing exercise-induced muscle soreness, muscle mass breakdown and ultimately help with faster muscle recovery. Chronic muscle soreness can become debilitating, cause exhaustion, and severe discomfort. The last thing you need is to delay training because you can’t air squat or snatch since your one rep max testing made you so sore you can barely move without grimacing and wanting to cry. L-glutamine is the one supplement that has proven time and time again, that it can help reduce post-workout muscle soreness so you can increase training volume, in less pain.
L-Glutamine is the most abundant and naturally occurring conditionally essential amino acid in the human body. It makes up approximately 60% of the amino acid pool in your muscle tissue.
The specific mechanism of action and role of L-Glutamine is in utilizing nitrogen atoms. Glutamine helps direct the body where and when to place nitrogen atoms in order to rebuild and repair muscle tissue. In order to build muscle mass and strength, you need to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. L-glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that in certain situations, synthesis (production in the body) can be limited. During intense training periods, your body will actually use and deplete all of its glutamine stores, which inhibits its function and decreases strength, stamina, and lengthens the recovery period. By supplementing L-Glutamine, you’re therefore ensuring your body has an adequate supply of glutamine to maintain a positive protein balance, which will reduce muscle soreness and protect yourself from workout induced muscle mass breakdown (R)
Considering that high-intensity functional training consists of constantly varied movement, at a very high intensity, your body will deplete its stored L-Glutamine rather quickly. Studies have consistently shown that Glutamine is one of the best supplements you can take during your high-intensity functional training, mainly due to its ability in reducing exercise-induced muscle soreness and protecting against muscle mass breakdown.
RELATED ARTICLE Why Glutamine Is The Best Supplement For Post-Workout Muscle Recovery
Glutamine also helps with immune system function, protein synthesis and keeping you hydrated during your WOD (R) With so many Recovery products marketed towards crossfitters, it’s important to remember, that when it comes to sports supplements, there is literally no other ingredient that works as well to reduce muscle soreness than L-Glutamine. I know what you’re thinking, Carbohydrates and Protein helps with recovery. You’re right.. But! Carbohydrates and protein are food supplements, not sports supplements.
Studies on the effective dose of L-Glutamine have varied widely. However, it’s best to use a conservative clinically effective dose of L-Glutamine at 5-10g per day to help relieve exercise-induced muscle soreness and improve recovery times. If your training is more demanding, supplement one 5g scoop post-WOD.
Swolverine’s L-Glutamine contains 100 unflavored servings, at 5g per serving, to help you recover faster and reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness.
What’s It Good For? Recovery, Joint Health, Inflammation, Heart Health, Brain Health
For years, the recommended supplement for Omega-3 fatty acids has been Fish Oil, and for good reason. Fish oil contains Omega-3’s, which contain a litany of proven health benefits, including heart health, brain health, immune system support, joint function, and can also help with inflammation. However, Krill Oil has recently made a solid statement, in terms of being a better option for the essential and recommended Omega-3 fatty acids we all need in our daily diet.
RELATED ARTICLE Krill Oil Vs Fish Oil: 5 Reasons Why Krill Oil Is Better
One of the key differences between krill oil and fish oil is the bioavailability, or how quickly your body can absorb it. The Omega-3s found in krill oil are packaged as phospholipids, (the same structure found in your cellular membranes) which can be utilized immediately by your body. The Omega 3’s found in fish oil, however, are bound in triglycerides, which have to undergo additional conditions and processes in order for them to become bioavailable (R)
Since Krill oil is bound in phospholipids and not triglycerides, the addition of the phosphate group permits more efficient digestion and absorption. Krill oil is absorbed in 2-3 hours as compared to fish oil, which can take anywhere from 48-72 hours, therefore prolonging the benefits associated with inflammation and post-workout recovery.
Krill oil is preferred over fish oil because it contains the highly potent antioxidant, Astaxanthin. As an antioxidant Astaxanthin helps fight the build-up of free radicals and suppress the signs of aging. Astaxanthin also plays a crucial role in reducing inflammation of the cardiovascular system and improving immune system function by increasing HDL-cholesterol which helps the body rid of plaque build-up on the arterial walls.
RELATED ARTICLE Astaxanthin:The World’s Most Powerful Antioxidant
Not to mention krill oil pills are a whole lot smaller than fish oil, and they don’t give you any of the super attractive fish burps we all cherish and love.
The recommended dose for most individuals is one 500mg serving. However, if you experience persistent joint pain and inflammation, follow the guidance of your physician.
What’s It Good For? Sleep, Recovery, Strength, Well-Being
Sleep is an often overlook and critical component of your training. Being tired can hamper your motivation and negatively impact your athletic performance. Getting an adequate amount of high-quality sleep is also vital to facilitate recovery, initiate the muscle-building process, and to recover from brain fatigue caused by normal daytime activities.
ZMT is a synergistic combination comprised of ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B6) and natural testosterone boosting ingredients such as Ashwagandha, Diindolylmethane (DIM), Rhodiola Rosea, and Tongkat Ali. This specific combination of vitamins and minerals, have significant benefits on your immune system, hormonal balance, and will help you attain better quality sleep.
RELATED ARTICLE The Benefits Of ZMA Supplements: More Than Just A Sleep Aid
A study published in the Journal Of Medical Sciences 46 subjects were administered 500 mg of Magnesium, or a placebo in a double-blind randomized controlled trial, over a period of 8 weeks, researchers found a significant improvement in, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep quality in the Magnesium administered group. (R) Therefore, if you’re not getting enough sleep, supplementing with a ZMA might be exactly what you need to get a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and a good night’s rest.
Adequate sleep is essential for the muscle-building process and post-workout recovery. (R) Without enough sleep, you can become irritable, short-tempered, fatigued, and compromise your gains. When was the last time you had a solid day of training when you were running on 3-4 hours of sleep? Probably never. Since ZMT also contains natural testosterone boosting ingredients, your body will naturally release more human growth hormone, helping in overall well-being, strength, and focus. Overall, if you have trouble sleeping and getting an adequate amount of quality rest, ZMT might be exactly what you need to sleep well so you can power through your WOD.
We recommended taking six capsules of ZMT 45 minutes prior to sleep.
RELATED ARTICLE How To Get Better Quality Sleep: 6 Easy Steps So You Don’t Feel Like A Zombie
Overall, these supplements are proven to help improve your CrossFit training and performance. After all supplements are meant to be supplemental. By incorporating these products into your programming and nutrition protocol, you’ll be able to take your performance to a new level and ultimately become a better athlete.