Crossfit, Supplements and You!
CrossFit is sweeping the planet and let me add my voice of affirmation (to the dismay of many of my peers) that I think it’s one of the best things to happen to the fitness industry in a long, long time. CrossFit is the real deal when it comes to the sport of fitness and helping Joe Six-Pack and Soccer Moms all over the place discover what is really possible in/with their bodies and sometimes even more importantly the tremendous bounds of “strength” their minds are capable of. CrossFit has made extreme fitness a sport, and I am glad. Now let me tell you about one of the greatest Achilles heals that the CrossFit movement has today.
CrossFit’s anti-consumerism approach
CrossFit is famous for its anti-consumerism approach to fitness and I find that refreshing…mostly. That said, the very real, tangible scientific research about supplementation and exercise is irrefutable, even for those of the CrossFit ilk of which I am now one. I love CrossFit. I have joined a great CF box and I look forward to really achieving new heights in the realm of fitness and strength that I have never achieved thus far. I am also a man of science and a devotee of truth who has over a decade of experience in pursuing the FACTS about what science has demonstrated as useful in the realm of supplements and supplementation in our quest for physical and neuro excellence.
Crossfit-You still need supplementation!
CrossFit takes an approach that if you have excellent nutrition then you simply do not need to supplement your diet in any way. Scientific research says that’s simply not accurate and has held that position for years. Us CrossFitters are not special, supernatural beings to whom the evidence does not apply. On the contrary, because us CrossFitters workout so intensely and so frequently we are the prime examples of athletes who NEED to have the right supplements in addition to our excellent diet (for those of us who are actually eating clean Paleo diets) in order to perform, recover and progress at our absolute best.
When muscles are worked hard they require certain things to be their very best that are next to impossible to obtain through even the most diligent diet. Now in the CrossFit world PROGENEX has become the favored child among supplement companies to give the CrossFit nation its necessary supplements. The problem – and I have nothing against PROGENEX at all – is that they are not providing anything exceptional and some would argue that their pricing is steep for what you get. Sooooo, here is what I want to say in general about supplementation and CrossFit.
There are some GREAT products you can get that give you well rounded, effective supplementation towards you CrossFit fitness goals that research has suggested works and works well. Let me throw out some really fairly-priced supplements from MULTIPLE companies (not just favoring one company which always makes one wonder):
BCAA’s and EAA’s, the backbone of all muscular performance growth
The science behind BCAA’s and EAA’s has been well established for decades. In short, you should be consuming them both before, during and after. Some research suggests that there is real benefit in sipping a BCAA/EAA cocktail throughout the day. Amino Acids have been demonstrated as very safe and highly effective for a long, long time. Benefits include better performance while working out, faster recovery, and greater growth of lean muscle body composition while still losing fat.
Amino acids are essential (hence the phrase “essential amino acids”) to optimal health. The body uses amino acids to make many crucial substances in our bodies. Here is just a few things that Essential Amino Acids accomplish for the human body:
- Our bodies use them to make enzymes that support biochemical reactions and hormones that influence the body’s metabolism. They also make hemoglobin that carries oxygen through the body, and antibodies that are infection fighters that help the immune system. They are GOOD for you!
- Amino acids play a vital role in repairing muscles, ligaments, tendons as well as glands, organs and more.
- Our bodies use several amino acids as neurotransmitters, chemicals in our brain, that play an essential role in transmitting messages within the neurons of the brain.
- Amino acids also serve as leaders to vitamins and minerals to do their jobs in our bodies as best as they can.
Now specifically there is another supplement found in abundance in the supplement world called BCAA’s which is short for Branch Chain Amino Acids. What can BCAA’s do for people involved in CrossFit? Let me share just a few things that research suggests:
- Research evidence suggests that orally consuming BCAA’s reduces muscle breakdown (catabolism) during exercise while simultaneously increasing protein synthesis! That’s good new for everyone but especially for extreme athletes such as CrossFitter’s.
- BCAA’s have been shown to regulate blood sugar levels, aid in fat loss and have been studied for their potential role in delaying central nervous system (CNS) fatigue, especially in athletes.
- Clinically, it is not just people who are healthy and exercise who benefit on BCAAs. Branched Chain Amino Acids have been used to treat depression, diabetes, anorexia, irritability headaches and other physical issues that stem from a bodies deficiency in protein. The point is simple, every athlete needs BCAA’s!
- BCAA’s combined with Glutamine have been shown to increase lean muscle mass and reduce muscle wasting while promoting recovery.
EVERY athlete needs is protein
To finish this article off for now and with part 2 coming soon, the other absolutely foundational supplement that EVERY athlete needs is protein. Now, I am a huge advocate of Paleo eating and consuming massive amounts of protein via lean meat, fish, peas, healthy eggs and dairy and nuts. That said, again there is overwhelming research that suggests that consuming protein in a more bio available liquid form with other actives involved can lead to much higher bio absorption and benefit to your muscles in term of growth, performance and recovery. The CrossFit darling supplement company Progenex understands this and has just a few products of which one is a Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate. I love Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolates and every CrossFitter should be using them. However, you don’t have to use the Progenex brand as if its magical for CrossFitters in a way its not for other athletes. There are some really great, cost effective proteins out there that deliver fantastic results while being kind to your pocket book.
Here is our recommendations for products that are EXCELLENT and cost effective for every CrossFitter out there today:
1.Pre and Post workout/all day cocktail- Body Mortar™ with Electrolytes that includes BCAA/Glutamine Powder.
2. Intra-workout- Anabolic Competition (no the word anabolic does not mean steroids). AC is a product with a generous mix of the most potent ingredients ever put into one intra-workout formula. Each serving contains: 13.3g of BCAA with 6 of those grams coming from the potent BCAA nitrates (patented by Thermolife), 4g of L-lysine for strengthening connective tissue, 4g of L-Carnitine to help metabolize fat loss while working out, 2.66g of L-Taurine for energy, 1 full gram of Agmatine for increased vasodialation, and 1.6g of Citrulline Malate.
3. Protein- Whey Protein by Muscle Feast. All Natural, no artifiical flavoring or sweeteners. Comes in 5lb and 2lb bags!