The Best Crossfit Supplements
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.
MCT Oil – increase your energy and endurance, increased focus, burn off excess fat.
Protein Powder – dairy, and gluten free, Paleo and low carb shakes.
Vitamin D – for optimal health and performance.
ZMA – sleep better and recover faster between workouts.
How Were These Supplements Chosen To Be The Best?
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 powder- 70 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 are 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 Nutrakey Beta Alanine by Nutrakey. The reasons I like it are because of the quality and convenience. Every serving contains 3000 mg of Carnosyn beta alanine. This ensures you get the most benefit. Its convenient because you only need to take 1 scoop two times a day, which is 6000mg or 6 grams. After 30 days, you can reduce the dosage to a little less than one scoop per day. It’s also produced here in the states and a 100% pharmaceutical grade formula.
You can buy Nutrakey Beta Alanine from our online store.
2. 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.
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.
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. Creatine Edge is a great choice. Each serving provides 5 grams of creatine monohydrate that mixes easily in water.
5. Glucosamine Sulfate & 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 pain is annoying and hurts, the real problem is that it doesn’t ever go away. It’s always there, getting in the way, reminding you there’s pain! Sometimes it gets so bad you are forced to skip exercises like squats, shoulder presses, and pull ups. It’s 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. That’s not something you want to take every day, particularly if it’s not solving the real problem. Your joints have been beaten up from putting so much pressure on them, everyday!
What you need is a nutritional supplement that will help you significantly reduce or possibly completely clear your joint pain permanently. The best product to solve this problem is one that contains glucosamine and chondroitin.
Why Should I Take It?
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 is that the Supplement Facts label on the bottle says the product contains Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate. If it contains any other type of Glucosamine or Chondroitin, other than sulfate, it won’t be as effective, studies show.
Also, 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 sulfate 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 two more powerful ingredients. The first is MSM, short for methyl sulfonyl methane, MSM is a nutrient made from sulfur. MSM is a building block of pretty much everything in our body. It also aids in reducing inflammation for additional pain relief. Studies show it can help grow new cartilage as well.
The other added ingredient is Hyaluronic Acid. Often abbreviated as HA, this nutrient is shown to increase the fluids in our joints. The result helps in relieving pain and reducing joint stiffness.
Here’s How Each Ingredient Will Help You
- Glucosamine Sulfate – decreases pain and inflammation, repairs damaged cartilage.
- Chondroitin – reduces joint pain and swelling.
- MSM – grows new cartilage and soothes inflamed tissue that makes your joints hurt.
- Hyaluronic Acid – helps your joints stay lubricated so they move easily and absorb shock better.
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 that 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.
7. MCTs(Medium Chain Triglycerides)
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 Supplement 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.
8. Protein Powder
The Best Whey Protein For Crossift Is Better Whey All Natural Protein Powder
How drinking a whey protein shake can help
- A post-workout whey protein shake helps your body repair damaged muscles faster.
- It keeps you full between meals which helps keep your diet on track.
- Whey shakes help you build more muscle, up to X pounds in X weeks (link).
- You can get stronger, faster (example) by drinking X shakes a day.
- Whey protein shakes can help you lose belly fat, faster.
- It’s a low calorie, high protein snack that you can make in seconds.
My favorite whey protein powder
The protein shake that I use is Better Whey. Here’s what you get in every scoop.
- It’s all natural – no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors
- 24 grams whey protein per scoop
- 3 grams of carbohydrates
- Only 2 grams of naturally occuring sugars
- Sweetened with Stevia
- Enzymes that help your body easily digest your shake
When should you drink whey protein shakes?
There’s never a bad time to drink whey protein. I prefer to drink it after dinner to help make sure I’m meeting my daily protein requirements.
You can also have your shake between meals as a muscle building snack. Research shows that drinking a whey protein shake post-workout can help you build muscle, recover faster, and lose fat faster (link).
How many scoops of protein should I add to each shake?
Research shows that 2 scoops – about 50 grams – is the right amount for getting the most bang for your buck. I’ve been adding a 3rd scoop to bring the protein content of my shakes up to about 75 grams. This is because I often find it tough to get 180 grams of protein a day from food alone. Give this a try if you have the same issue.
10. Vitamin D
While it may not produce immediate results like caffeine or creatine, vitamin D is a Crossfit supplement that can still help your performance and health in a big way. It’s responsible for keeping our bodies healthy and bones strong. Several studies also find it can help make you stronger, faster, and fitter too, which is why you’re reading this article.
While we can get it in from foods like milk and cod liver oil and the sun helps our body make it, it’s really tough to regularly get enough from these sources.
A better way to get more vitamin D in your diet is by taking a nutritional supplement. It costs pennies a day, is safe, and only requires you to swallow a single, tiny pill.
The Best Vitamin D Supplement For Crossfit
Our choice for the best product is Optimum Nutrition Vitamin D3. I’ve chosen it as the best since it meets the criteria of the Vitamin D Council, a leading organization that studies how vitamin D effects us. Below are the specific things that make it the best.
- Optimal dosage. Every softgel capsules contains 5000 IU of vitamin D. This is the amount the Vitamin D Council and other experts recommend we take daily.
- It uses the right type. This supplement uses vitamin D3, the type of vitamin D that’s best absorbed amount by our body.
- It’s safe. You can take this supplement daily without risk of developing harmful amounts of vitamin D in your bloodstream.
- It’s a great deal. With 200 capsules, a single bottle will last more than 6 months.
How vitamin D can benefit your Crossfit workout performance and overall health.
- It Helps Build Strong Bones. By increasing the absorption of calcium in your bones.
- You’ll recover faster post workout. Men taking 4000 IU daily experienced less inflammation, a sign of muscle damage and stress to the body after an intense workout.
- Vitamin D may enable you to squat heavier, throw farther, and pull more weight. Men taking vitamin D daily were able to produce more muscular power during an intense workout. This increase can help you lift heavier weights, and throw and jump farther, for example.
- It helps athletes sprint faster and jump higher. Elite athletes taking 4000 IU of vitamin D daily had faster times in 10 meter sprints and higher vertical jump tests than the men taking a placebo supplement.
- Vitamin D can increase men’s testosterone levels. Men taking 3000 IU every day had higher free and total testosterone levels. This may make it easier to build muscle, get stronger, and recover faster between WODs.
- Adequate levels help you stay healthy. Higher levels of vitamin D in our blood are associated with fewer missed days of work due not feeling well. The better you consistently feel, the more often you can train and make progress.
Now that you know how it can benefit you, let’s learn a few basics about this vitamin, what makes the best vitamin D supplement and how much you need to take for the best results.
What Is Vitamin D?
Now that you know how it can you, let’s learn more about this super nutrient. Vitamin D is referred to as an essential vitamin. This is because our body’s aren’t able to make it on its own. We therefore need to get it from the foods we eat or other sources.
Foods that contain it include: fatty fish (cod liver oil), milk, and eggs. Unfortunately, the amount of vitamin D present in these and other foods is too small to support our needs. The sun is actually a better way to get your daily dose. When sunlight hits your bare skin it triggers the process that enables our body to produce vitamin D.
Unfortunately, both of these sources are often not enough to increase your body’s vitamin D levels to optimal amounts.
This is why taking a vitamin D supplement is often the best way to get enough to see results.
How To Choose The Best Vitamin D Supplement
Not all vitamin D supplements are equal. When choosing a product you need to make sure you are going to get the right type of vitamin D and the correct amount.
The product you take must contain vitamin D3, also named cholecalciferol-D3. This is the best absorbed form of this vitamin which means it will get the most into your bloodstream and cells and be able to produce the greatest benefit.
Whichever product you take should also contain at least 5000 IU per serving. This is the amount most health experts, including John Cannell, M.D. recommend we take. Your individual requirements may be more or less but this is considered a safe and effective amount for most of us. As always, speak to your docor before taking this or any other nutritional supplement.
If you want to specifically know what your blood levels of vitamin D and better dial in your dosage, ask your doctor to test your blood for it at your next appointment.
How Much Vitamin D Should You Take?
The Vitamin D Council recommends taking 5000 IU of vitamin D every day from a nutritional supplement. They find that this amount is enough to increase your vitamin D levels in your blood to optimal levels without any negative side effects.
If you’re really curious or have any health concerns you can have your vitamin D levels checked in a simple blood test. Having your doctor test it before and after taking vitamin D may help you really dial in your dosage.
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?
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