The Best Crossfit Supplements
BCAAs – gives your muscles energy, building blocks of muscle, speeds post-workout recovery.
Creatine Monohydrate – nature’s muscle builder. Helps you workout harder, increase strength & power.
Fish Oil – decreases inflammation throughout your body so you can recover quicker, reduce joint pain, lose fat, and build more muscle.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate – relieves joint pain, rebuilds damaged cartilage.
L-Carnitine – the best for decreasing soreness after an intense workout.
MCT Oil – increase your energy and endurance, increased focus, burn off excess fat.
Multi Vitamin – nutritional insurance for optimal health and performance.
Protein Powder – dairy, and gluten free, Paleo and low carb shakes.
ZMA – sleep better and wake feeling refreshed and ready for your WOD.
How Were Supplements for Crossfit Selected?
When deciding which of the 300 supplements I initially reviewed, should make the list, I used the criteria listed below.
- Can it help improve at least one area within Crossfit WODs (endurance, strength, power, recovery, etc.)?
- Do these supplements for crossfit have scientific research to support its purported benefits?
- Is it shown to be safe for healthy men and women to use?
- Is the serving amount, shown to be effective in scientific research?
- Does the supplement receive positive reviews from users?
- Is it convenient to take regularly?
Do I Need To Take Every Supplement On This List?
No. You should only take the products that you feel will offer you the most benefit.The easiest way to figure out which to try is first ask yourself what areas related to your Crossfit workouts do you want to improve the most.Once you know the answer to this question all you have to do is match up the products from this article that will help you the most.
Stayfitcentral’s Guide To Crossfit Supplements
1. Beta Alanine
If I (your reviewer, Curt) had to pick only one supplement for my Crossfit workouts, it would be beta alanine. No other product helps me train harder and longer. Taking it with creatine seems to enhance its benefits.
Supplements For Crossfit
My personal favorite. Enables me to sprint harder and farther and do more reps before I’m fatigued. Helps me recover faster between sets too. Clinically proven ingredients and dosage. Studies show it also helps build muscle and lose fat. Convenient, easy to swallow capsules. 30 day supply.
Research shows that it works by increasing the amount of time it takes for your muscles to become fatigued during an intense workout. This means that it can help you get that last couple of reps at the end of a hard set of squats. You’ll also notice that your will feel less fatigued at the end of a given set too.
Taking beta alanine regularly can also help you build more muscle, get stronger, and even lose fat. The harder you train, the better it works.
Keep in mind that you will see the most benefit during really intense exercises that less than 3 minutes per set. Beta alanine is not a supplement that will improve your endurance in low to moderate intensity activities like running a 5k or swimming 1000 yards.
What Is The Best Way To Take Beta Alanine?
According to the latest research, it’s best to take 3-6 grams a day in divided doses.Taking it this way ensures there’s enough available for you to reap its many benefits.
After taking it this way for 30 days you can cut your daily dose back to 1-2 grams. Research finds this dosage is enough to keep your muscles loaded and able to train harder, longer.
Is Beta Alanine Safe?
Studies show beta alanine supplements are safe for healthy men and women. The only reported negative side effect is an tingling feeling in your face and hands. This is medically known as parathesia. It’s a harmless side effect that occasionally occurs and goes away within a few minutes. The longer you take it, the less it tends to occur.
Which Beta Alanine Supplement Is Best?
The best type of beta alanine supplement is depends upon two things. The first is its quality. As of this publication, the highest quality beta alanine available is the Carnosyn brand. This is the only type of beta alanine that is patented, proven to work in several studies, and guaranteed to be 100% pure.
The beta alanine supplement for crossfit, I like best is Beta Alanine Extreme by Prolab. The reasons I like it are its quality and convenience. Every serving contains 800 mg of Carnosyn beta alanine. This ensures you get the most benefit. Its convenient because you only need to take 2 easy to swallow capsules 4 times a day.
2. Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
BCAA supplements provide many benefits to Crossfit athletes. I noticed a difference in my workouts the first time I took them and continue to benefit to this day.
Supplements For Crossfit
Almost too many benefits to list. Scientifically proven. Reduces post-workout soreness, lose belly fat, build muscle, and increases workout energy and focus. I train in a fasted state and find it really increase my energy and almost eliminates sore muscles afterward.
Here are a few reasons why so many Crossfitters, myself included, take branch chain amino acids.
- BCAA’s increase mental and physical energy. This means they give you better focus and the ability to workout harder, longer.
- BCAA’s decrease post-workout muscle soreness making it easier to train more often.
- BCAA’s can help you lose fat faster, especially belly fat so you look better and have less weight to carry and pull up when doing kip ups, sprints and other exercises.
- BCAA’s ‘turn on’ the muscle building process in your body so you can recover faster and build more muscle.
How Much Should You Take?
Studies show that the amount you need to take is based upon your body weight. A dosage of 5-10 grams pre and post-workout is a good starting point. If you want to be really specific determine your weight in kilograms (body weight divided by 2.2) and multiply by .2. This is the formula scientists use in their studies.
What To Look For In A BCAA Supplement
You can buy BCAA supplements in both capsule and powder forms. I like using the powder form since it’s more convenient for me to drink 10-20 grams than it is to swallow several capsules that make up the same dosage. Met-Rx BCAA 5000 is the powder I currently use.
3. Creatine Monohydrate
In my opinion, this is the best supplement for improving your Crossfit workouts. I’m not the only one who feels this way. In my research on supplement routines of Crossfit Games competitors I found that the majority who report their supplement routines use creatine. Competitors who use it include Crossfit Games champions Rich Froning and Amanda Allen.
Supplements For Crossfit
Most popular sports supplements for a reason. Dozens of scientific studies show it works. It’s micronized so it mixes easily in water and stays dissolved. Guys can add 5-10 lbs. of muscle. Women won’t gain as much but will become much stronger and recover faster between sets, just like the guys. Works great with beta alanine.
Creatine is so effective that many Crossfit athletes who follow the Paleo diet and typically avoid nutritional supplements use it also. This is true for Paleo evangelist and Crossfitfootball.com’s Jon Wellbourn. He’s taken it daily since the 1990’s.
Check out the benefits listed below to learn why these champions take creatine monohydrate daily.
- Creatine can help you feel and look better in and out of the gym. Studies show creatine can help you add 2-3 pounds of muscle in a matter of weeks.
- Taking creatine helps you work harder. Studies show that taking creatine enables your muscles to recover faster between sets of intense exercises like burpees and kettlebell swings.
- Creatine supplementation increases your strength and power to make heavy front squats and power cleans easier.
Former NFL player, Paleo diet evangelist and Crossfitter Jon Wellbourn has taken creatine daily since the 1990’s.
How Should You Take Creatine Monohydrate?
Scientific studies show that the best way to take creatine monohydrate is to first ‘load’ your muscles by taking 10-20 grams every day for 5-7 days. You should notice improved strength and recovery during your workouts after this phase is completed.You can then maintain your muscles creatine stores and the supplements benefits by taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate daily thereafter.
What To Look For In A Creatine Supplement
When shopping for a creatine monohydrate supplement make sure you choose a product that guarantees it to be free of impurities and only contain pure creatine monohydrate. Be aware of creatine supplements that claim to be better than the monohydrate form. No studies have proven this to be the case. Creatine monohydrate is the king.I personally like to use a micronized form creatine monohydrate since it mixes easily in water and stays dissolved, making it easy to drink. This is because it’s milled into a really fine powder. Betancourt Micronized Creatine is a great choice. Each serving provides 5 grams of creatine monohydrate that mixes easily in water.
4. Fish Oil
My research finds that this supplement is one of, if not the most popular among Crossfitters. It’s in my top 3 as well. Even Crossfit pros like Andrea Ager who avoid all other types of nutritional supplements take a fish oil supplement daily.
Supplements For Crossfit
Orange flavored soft gels. Over 1 gram (1,000 mg) per serving. No fishy aftertaste or burps. Tested for contaminants and impurities. Reduces inflammation. This means less soreness and joint pain. Great for your brain (focus/mood) and heart too. Studies show it too builds muscle, and burns off fat (2 lbs. in 6 weeks).
Taking at least 2 grams fish oil daily can provide the following benefits.
- Decrease inflammation throughout your body so your joints may feel less sore post-workout. One study finds fish oil supplementation is better than pain killers for chronic neck and back pain.
- Improve your mood so you can better concentrate and put more mental energy into every burpee, thruster, and kip up.
- Decrease body fat. In one study, subjects taking 4 grams of fish oil daily lost 2 pounds of fat over the course of 6 weeks without making any change in their diet or workout plan.
- Build muscle. Fish oil supplementation ‘turns on’ the muscle building pathways in our body and can help you add more muscle over time.
- Decrease cravings for sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods. This makes avoiding doughnuts and pizza and sticking to your diet a little easier.
While its benefits may not be experienced as quickly as creatine, fish oil supplements help in many ways. Just be patient. Give it 2-4 weeks for significant results to occur since it takes this amount of time for the fats in fish oil to be absorbed by your body in significant amounts.
Even Crossfit Games competitor’s like Andrea Ager who avoid all other types of nutritional supplements take fish oil daily.
What To Look For In A Fish Oil Supplement
Make sure you buy a supplement that is tested and guaranteed to be free of contaminants like pesticides and mercury to protect your health.You should also buy a concentrated fish oil supplement that contains as much EPA and DHA, the fats that provides its benefits as possible.Choose a supplement that has at least 700 mg of EPA and DHA per capsule combined. You’ll find these values in the Supplement Facts section of the products label.
Fish oil supplements that meet these requirements include Controlled Labs Oximega and Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega fish oil capsules.
How Much Fish Oil Should You Take?
The studies I reviewed find that between 1-3 grams of EPA and DHA from fish oil the amount required to see beneficial results. You may need more or less depending on your own needs. Since fish oil supplements can have an affect on medications like blood thinners you should check with your doctor before giving it a try.
5. Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate
Sore and achy joints make getting through a set of squats or pull ups tough. It happens to many us. Even when we’re careful to warm-up, eat right, and train smart. Constant use, repeated injuries, and other factors sometimes cause our joints to hurt.
While the pains annoying and hurts, the real problem is that it doesn’t ever go away. It’s always there to get in the way. Sometimes it gets so bad you are forced to skip exercises like squats, shoulder presses, and pull ups. This is a bummer since they’re the most fun and produce the greatest benefit.
Taking Tylenol doesn’t help. It only masks the pain for a short period of time. Plus that’s not something you want to take every day. Especially if it’s not solving the real problem. Your joints are beat up.
What you need is a nutritional supplement that will help you significantly reduce or maybe even get of your joint pain permanently. The best product to solve this problem is one that contains glucosamine and chondroitin.
Why Should I Take This Supplement?
Simply put, it works. Research studies show that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are effective at reducing joint pain. When taken regularly, glucosamine can actually help your body repair and rebuild damaged cartilage. No over the counter pain reliever does that.
Is It Safe?
Research finds glucosamine & chondroitin supplements is safe for men and women to take. There’s actually data showing that taking it for several years doesn’t cause adverse side effects.
Since glucosamine is made from shellfish, you may want to avoid it if you’re allergic to similar foods. As always, talk to your doctor before taking any nutritional supplement.
What To Look For When You’re Shopping
The most important thing to make sure of is that the Supplement Facts label on the bottle says the product contains Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate. Don’t buy a product that uses any other type of each ingredient. These are the types used and shown to be most effective.
The other thing is to make sure that your joint supplement contains the correct amount of each ingredient. Every serving of the supplement you take needs to contain 1200 mg of Glucosamine and 1000 mg of Chondroitin Sulfate. These amounts are the most effective. Taking less may not produce the pain relief you desire.
Which Glucosamine & Chondroitin Supplement Is Best?
My favorite product in this category is Nutra Key’s Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM formula. Every serving contains 1200 mg of glucosamine and 1000 mg of chondroitin sulfate, the type and amount every expert recommends.
In addition to these pain relieving, joint healing nutrients, NutraKey packs this formulation with a two more powerful ingredients. The first is MSM. Short for methyl sulfonyl methane, MSM is a nutrient made from sulfur, a building block of pretty much everything in our body. MSM helps reduce inflammation for additional pain relief. It’s also shown to help grow new cartilage.
The other added ingredient is Hyaluronic Acid. Often abbreviated as HA, this nutrient is shown to increase the fluids in our joints. This is helpful for relieving pain and reducing joint stiffness.
Here’s How Each Ingredient Will Help You
I reviewed and tested over a dozen supplements and none have as an effective a formulation as this product by NutraKey. Plus, it’s sold at a much better price than similar supplements, which often don’t even contain the correct amounts of each ingredient.
You can more about NutraKey Glucosamine & Chondroitin from this article.
How Long Does A Bottle Last?
When taken as directed, a bottle will last 30 days.
How Should I Take It?
It’s convenient to take too. You only need to take 4 easy to swallow capsules 2 times a day.
Will It Reduce Pain Immediately?
Be patient when you begin taking Nutrakey Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM. It’s pain relieving benefits don’t happen right away. Studies find that it takes about 30 days to see significant relief. The addition of MSM and Hyaluronic Acid increase the odds it will provide relief sooner.
Remember, it’s well worth the wait when you can finally do squats, pull ups, and power cleans pain free for the first time in years.
This amino acid is found in various foods including milk and red meat. It’s been around as a supplement forever but has only recently been examined by sports scientists. I think we’ll be hearing a lot more about its benefits as a sports supplement in the coming years.
Supplements For Crossfit
The best supplement I’ve found for reducing post-workout soreness. Even when doing WODs that include walking lunges. Mixes easily in water and taste great. Every serving has amount (1 gram) shown to work in several scientific studies.
Since I started taking the amino acid l-carnitine every day I’ve noticed significant benefits. My endurance during workouts has improved and I’m noticeably less sore after a really intense workout.
What To Look For When Buying A Carnitine Supplement
When shopping for an l-carnitine supplement, I prefer to buy a product that has at least 1 gram per serving. This makes it easiest to get the 2-3 grams that studies show to be the amount that’s effective for decreasing post-workout soreness and improving endurance.
You can get l-carnitine in capsule or liquid forms. My favorite is Gaspari Carnipure. Every scoop has 1 gram (1000 mg) of Carnipure brand l-carnitine. This is the dose and brand of l-carnitine that are proven to be effective by several scientific studies.
I personally get my daily dose by taking the sports vitamin Anavite by Gaspari Nutrition. It also has 1 gram of Carnipure l-carnitine per serving.
How To Take L-Carnitine
The key to seeing benefits from l-carnitine is to take enough every day. According to the latest research, it appears this amount is between 2-3 grams. You should take it with meals for the best results.
6. MCTs(Medium Chain Triglycerides)
Think of this unique and special fat as rocket fuel for your brain and body. Unlike other fats which digest more slowly and can be stored as excess body fat, MCTs are used for energy almost immediately.
Supplements For Crossfit
I add this to my BCAAs for an extra boost of energy. Great for mental focus too. Better than caffeine – no jittery feelings. Gets your body to burn off its stored fat for energy. Tasteless and odorless. Take off a spoon or add to protein shakes and food.
I started taking MCT oil after learning about their many benefits from a podcast interview with Dr. Dominc D’Agastino. The first time I took them I felt an increase in my overall energy. I also noticed that I was better able to focus and less distracted overall.
Below are the main benefits of taking an MCT oil supplement:
- Instant energy – take 15-20 minutes before a workout for more endurance.
- Burn off fat and lose weight – turns on the fat burning processes so you can get and stay lean.
- Brain fuel -you’ll feel more focused and able to work longer without feeling mentally fatigued.
- Build more muscle – enabling your body to burn fat for its fuel keeps your hard earned muscle from being broken down and used for energy.
- Keeps you healthy – they also help fight off unhealthy bacteria and viruses while encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria in our guts, keeping us healthy and at every workout.
How Should You Take MCTs?
You can take MCT oil to improve your Crossfit performance in the ways I’ve listed below.
- Before workouts – to give yourself more energy, focus, and endurance while you train.
- Between or with meals – for energy and to blunt hunger and cravings for foods that will ruin your energy and workout performance.
How Much Should You Use?
Experts recommend taking 1-3 tablespoons daily. Work yourself up to these dosages slowly. I started with 1 teaspoon per serving. Taking too much at first can lead to an upset stomach.
Which MCT Product Is Best?
My favorite product in this category is MCT Edge. It contains the highest quality medium chain triglycerides and the 2 MCTs that can provide the most benefits, capric and caprylic acid.I also love the fact that it’s completely flavorless and odorless and has 6X servings per bottle. One bottle will should last a month, possibly longer depending on how often its used. Click here to buy Stayfitcentral MCT Edge from our online store.
7. Protein Powder
Drinking a protein shake every day helps ensure that we’re providing our muscles with the building blocks it needs to repair and build new muscle post-workout. While they’re not better than getting your protein from real food, drinking a shake is convenient way to get your daily dose when you’re busy.
Supplements For Crossfit
Sugar, dairy, lactose, soy, and gluten free. Ensures you get all the protein and amino acids you need to recover and grow stronger between workouts. 20 grams of beef and egg protein per scoop. Only 6 grams of net carbs.
Which Protein Powder Is Best for Crossfit
The best shakes are the ones that combine several proteins like casein, beef, egg, and whey. This is because they’re digested at different rates. Drinking a shake with proteins that digest at different rates helps keep your muscles in an anabolic state throughout the day. This means your body can recover faster, build more muscle, and not use any of your hard earned muscle for fuel.
Since I avoid dairy as much as possible, I don’t want to drink a protein shake that contains casein or whey. I recently found a product by MHP called Paleo Protein that does the trick. It uses a combination of beef and egg proteins instead. I actually find that it’s better than my old whey and casein shakes for keeping me full and helping keep my strength up when I’m dieting to cut fat.
What To Look For In A Protein Powder
When shopping for a protein powder make sure you buy a product with 25 grams or more per scoop, not serving. This ensures the supplement you’re buying isn’t full of worthless sugars and other fillers.
8. Sports Multivitamin And Mineral Formulas
I’ve supplemented my diet with various multivitamin and mineral formulas for years. I consider doing so to be an insurance policy for protecting my overall health. This is important since being healthy means I can workout harder and more often.
Supplements For Crossfit
Get all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and perform 100% at every WOD. In addition to vitamins and minerals Anavite also contains clinically proven doses of beta alanine and carnitine. No huge pills to swallow, mixes easily in water and tastes awesome! Refreshing orange flavor.
Why I decided to switch to a sports multivitamin
While have I used regular, once or twice daily, multivitamin formulas in the past, I now take a supplement designed specifically for athletes. Doing so has really helped my workouts and recovery. The key difference with a sports multivitamin is that they contain extra vitamins and minerals that are body needs more of the trainer harder, longer and recover faster. The best sports multivitamins will also contain adequate amounts of nutrients that will boost your workout performance.
What To Look For In A Sports Multivitamin
The key thing to look for in your multivitamin is a supplement which has performance enhancing nutrients you want in dosages that actually work.
I personally take Gaspari Anavite. I do so because it contains not only the right amounts of various vitamins and minerals but also has clinically effective doses of beta alanine and l-carnitine in every serving. I’ve noticed that I’m able to train much harder and experience less muscle soreness since I’ve been taking this supplement. No other sports vitamin I’ve researched contains effective amounts of either nutrient.
I also like the convenience that taking a sports multivitamin provides. Taking it gives me the benefits of 3 supplements in 1 product.
Another good sports vitamin is Controlled Labs Orange Triad. This one is especially good to take if you experience joint pain since it contains glucosamine sulfate and other joint protecting nutrients in every serving in the right amounts.
I first tried ZMA about 20 years ago on the recommendation of strength coach Charles Poliquin. He told me that athletes he trained were using it and experiencing much better sleep and felt as if they recovered faster between workouts. Since I was an over-worked pre-med major who had trouble sleeping and a month’s supply cost less than $20.00 it was worth trying.
After just one dose of this specially formulated zinc and magnesium supplement I saw results. That’s why I still take it all these years later. My wife takes it and finds it helps her sleep better when she’s training hard. Both of us find that it helps us fall asleep faster, sleep more soundly, and wake up feeling refreshed, even if we don’t get a full 7-8 hours of sleep.
Supplements For Crossfit
Sleep is key to getting most out of Crossfit. Don’t get enough and you will be left feeling weak, slow, and hungover. ZMA helps you sleep restfully and wake up feeling refreshed. Replaces 2 key minerals that are depleted during intense exercise. Melatonin fee so there’s no hangover effect. For men and women.
Level 1 trainer and Crossfit Unrivaled owner Jaquelyn Kay Kastelic uses ZMA too. In an interview with Bodybuilding.com she says that it helps her sleep better and recover faster from hard workouts.
Studies of college and professional athletes find that many are deficient in zinc and magnesium. The researchers conducting these studies state that they will benefit from supplementing with both. That’s why a product like ZMA works so well. Since these minerals are difficult to get from diet alone and we use up both during exercise, taking a supplement helps keep our bodies functioning and performing at peak levels.
Your body needs zinc to build muscle, produce testosterone, and keep your immune system strong. Magnesium, helps to keep our hearts, nervous, and hormonal systems healthy. Taking a highly absorbed form like that found in ZMA also has a relaxing effect on our body which is why it helps my wife and I sleep soundly. Doing Crossfit workouts several days a week are also likely to deplete our bodies supply of each mineral.
What To Look For In A ZMA Supplement
When you’re shopping for a ZMA supplement make sure you buy a formula that contains zinc and magnesium aspartate. That’s because it’s absorbed better than other forms of these nutrients. You can buy it from several manufacturers including Nutrakey and MusclePharm.
The MusclePharm formula also contains melatonin which may be helpful to you on nights you really have trouble sleeping. I don’t like this formula as much as the others since melatonin makes me feel slightly hungover the next day.
How To Use ZMA For The Best Results
The recommended way to use this supplement is to take it on an empty stomach before bed. This will maximize its absorption and help you sleep soundly.
Now you know the best supplements for Crossfit. Choose the products from the list that best fit your needs and goals. Doing so will help you workout harder, recover faster, and more quickly achieve your health and fitness goals.
What nutritional supplements do you use for your Crossfit workouts?