Whether you train 3 times a week or 2x a day, the right Crossfit recovery supplements can really help. I’m talking about helping during your workout and recovering faster before your next.
In this article I reveal the 4 best supplements for recovery during and after CrossFit workouts. When used properly along with getting enough sleep and eating the right foods, they can help you get more from every WOD and Metcon.
Choosing the best Crossfit recovery supplements
- The ingredients in each supplement must be supported by peer-reviewed scientific research.
- To be selected, they cannot contain any potentially harmful ingredients.
- Each product must contain a clinically proven dose of its key ingredients.
- None of the supplements contain unproven ingredients or unnecessary fillers.
Beta Alanine – Recover Faster During Your Workout
This best way to describe beta alanine is as an inter-workout recovery supplement. It does this by helping your body buffer the chemicals that cause you fatigue during an intense workout.
So, instead of succumbing to fatigue during an all-out EMOM workout you will recover faster. Studies even show that you can end up going harder and faster with the help of beta alanine.
Beta alanine provides the best results when you’re doing sets lasting from 1-3 minutes. Especially intense intervals (link to HIIT) like 400 meter runs and AMRAP style workouts. The harder you’re training, the more benefit you’ll receive.
Like creatine you need to fill your muscles up before beta alanine’s benefits kick in. This takes between 3-6 weeks. The wait is worth it. You’ll see for yourself when you’re running faster and pushing harder in your 4th and 5th sets of a workout than you did the 1st and 2nd.
How To Take Beta Alanine
- Weeks 1-3: take 6 grams a day – 2 grams 3 times a day.
- Weeks 4 on: take 3 grams a day.
The Best Beta Alanine Supplement
The most important thing to make sure of is that the supplement you choose uses the Carnosyn brand of beta alanine.
There are 2 reasons it’s the best.
- It’s time released so it stays in your bloodstream longer for greater effectiveness.
- It is the only type of beta alanine that’s been studied and proven to work in several clinical studies.
My favorite beta alanine supplement is Nutra Key Beta Alanine Powder.
Every scoop has 3 grams of Carnosyn that mixes quickly and easily in your water, protein shake, or other drink.
Creatine Monohydrate – Crossfit Recovery Supplements
Like beta alanine, Creatine helps your muscles recover faster between sets of intense, brief exercises. Sets that last less than a minute.
When you’re able to recover faster between sets, you’ll be able to do more work – sets and reps – during a workout. Over time, doing more work like this will help you get stronger, fitter, and leaner, faster.
Although it doesn’t appear to reduce muscle soreness post-workout, it does appear to help with post-workout recovery too. It seems to do this in a few ways.
- Creatine decreases levels of creatine kinase in your muscles after a tough workout. This helps your muscles recover faster.
- It helps improve strength between workouts. Studies find you’re stronger doing a second workout on the same day when you take creatine monohydrate.
- It can increases protein synthesis, the process by which your muscles are repaired abs get stronger post-workout.
The Benefits Aren’t Immediate
You have to take creatine monohydrate daily for 30 days to experience these benefits.
Which Creatine Supplement Is The Best?
I use Creatine Edge, so do my wife and mom. The reason I use and recommend it is that it’s 100% pure, pharmaceutical grade Creatine and nothing else. No fillers, flavors, or preservatives. Just pure, muscle building, performance boosting Creatine monohydrate.
Click here to buy Creatine Edge from our store.
Whey Protein – Recover Faster
Drinking 2 scoops – about 50 grams – of whey protein powder post workout will do wonders for your recovery.
Studies show that a whey shake will help your body recover faster than if you take carbohydrates like Gatorade. It also helps kick start protein synthesis for muscle repair so you’re stronger at your next workout.
In another study, 25 grams of whey taken post-workout appears to help boost muscle repair and recover within 10 hours of finishing a strength training workout. When tested 24 hours later the improvements in recovery, and their strength was even more better.
When should you drink whey protein?
Any time of the day is a good time to drink a protein shake. Having a shake post-workout can help decrease recovery time.
The key is to make sure you get enough protein every day from shakes and other food. This means about 1 gram per pound of your ideal body weight.
This equals 180 grams a day for me as that’s my ideal weight @ less than 15% body fat. I often have trouble eating this much meat every day. Drinking 1-2 whey protein shakes a day makes it much easier.
The best whey protein powder
I drink Better Whey, an all natural protein shake that contains whey protein and not much else. No artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors. No added sugars either.
Instead you get 23 grams of protein and just X grams of naturally occurring sugar per scoop. Better Whey also contains added digestive enzymes to help your body assimilate and use every gram of protein.
Click here to learn more about Better Whey.
ZMA For Crossfit Recovery
Last but not least on this list is a supplement that enhances the most important recovery method of all, sleep. Nothing beats a good night’s sleep to help you feel fresh and ready to train hard.
Unfortunately, most nutritional supplements and prescription drugs that help you sleep come with a hangover like side effect the next morning. Every time I take melatonin, a very popular sleep aid, I feel like I’ve been out drinking the night before. ZMA, on the other hand, only leaves me feeling rested and ready the next day. Plus it replaces key nutrients we quickly use up when working out.
This simple supplement contains B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc to help with Crossfit recovery and sleep in a few ways.
One is the B vitamins in every serving. They are required by our bodies to repair and rebuild muscle. Since much of this happens when we are sleeping, taking them on an empty stomach before bed is a great idea.
Second, the magnesium in every serving is the right amount to help you relax and get to sleep soundly. Just as important is that it’s a specific type called magnesium aspartate. Most types of this mineral are poorly absorbed by your body and therefore not very effective. The aspartate form is easily utilized by your body so you get the most benefit possible.
The third and remaining nutrient in this formula is zinc. Like the magnesium in this product, it’s also the aspartate form to ensure as much as possible is utilized by your body. Zinc has its own recovery enhancing properties which include keeping your immune system healthy and making sure your body is able to make anabolic hormones like testosterone.
How Should I Take ZMA?
Nothing fancy here. The recommended dose for men is 3 capsules a day. Women only need to take 2 daily.
It’s best to take your ZMA 30 or so minutes before bed. This is enough time for it to go to work and help you relax and fall asleep. Taking it on an empty stomach may also help you absorb and get more from your dose.
Which ZMA Supplement Is Best?
Since pretty much every ZMA supplement is the same, it’s best to choose a product that provides as many capsules and servings as possible per bottle at the best price.
Given these factors and the others listed in the beginning of this article, the product I use and recommend to you is Optimum Nutrition ZMA. Every serving contains the aspartate forms of magnesium and zinc and B vitamins in the clinically proven amounts.
Click here to buy Nutrakey ZMA from our store.
Now that you know the best supplements for Crossfit recovery. All that’s left for you to do is give them a try and see for yourself. Let us know what you think after you do.
Jiaming Y, Rahimi MH. Creatine supplementation effect on recovery following exercise-induced muscle damage: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Food Biochem. 2021 Oct;45(10).
Rosene J, Matthews T, Ryan C, Belmore K, Bergsten A, Blaisdell J, Gaylord J, Love R, Marrone M, Ward K, Wilson E. Short and longer-term effects of creatine supplementation on exercise induced muscle damage. J Sports Sci Med. 2009 Mar 1;8(1):89-96.
Wang CC, Fang CC, Lee YH, Yang MT, Chan KH. Effects of 4-Week Creatine Supplementation Combined with Complex Training on Muscle Damage and Sport Performance. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 2;10(11):1640.
West DWD, Abou Sawan S, Mazzulla M, Williamson E, Moore DR. Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study. Nutrients. 2017 Jul 11;9(7):735.
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