What Supplement Stack Should You Take For CrossFit?
It’s the question everyone has – Here are our picks and why:
The Basics Vitamin D+K – Studies show over 40% of adults (80% of African Americans) are deficient in Vitamin D. Supplementing with Vitamin D has multiple benefits such as; increased mental function, bone health, immune health and well-being. It can also reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. People deficient in Vitamin D can also experience increased Testosterone levels by supplementation. Take at least 2,000 IU a day along with 500mcg of Vitamin K, to increase effectiveness. Must be taken with fat for proper absorption.
ZMA – 35-45% of adults do not get proper Zinc intake and over 70%, according to the World Health Organization, do not ingest enough Magnesium. Zinc is an antioxidant and immune-boosting supplement. Zinc is most commonly supplemented to reduce the frequency of illness and to support optimal levels of testosterone. Zinc is lost through sweat, so you can imagine it is very important for a CrossFitter to take it. Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral, and the second most prevalent electrolyte in the human body. Magnesium deficiencies are actually very common in developed countries due to the high amount of grains consumed and lack of nut and vegetable intake. Deficiency can cause high blood pressure and reduced glucose tolerance. The easiest way to supplement Zinc and Magnesium is by taking ZMA before bed which also acts as a sedative, giving you a deeper sleep.
Probiotic – Taking a probiotic is a great way to introduce good bacteria into your digestive system and improve gut health. The benefits to a probiotic are seemingly endless, but to summarize:
- Helps reduce inflammation
- Restore good bacteria after taking antibiotics
- Reduce allergies
- Increase nutrient absorption
- Contribute to immune function
Probiotics can typically be taken anytime of the day, depending on the product.
Fish Oil/Krill Oil – Fish oil is a great health promoting supplement that is rich in omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA. Omega-3’s are essential for a healthy heart, they reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) increase good cholesterol (HDL) and prevent the formation of triglycerides. Another great benefit is reduced inflammation, people with gastrointestinal issues have shown improvements after supplementing with fish oil. A decrease in joint pain and arthritis is also a common positive side effect of fish oil supplementation.
Creatine – Creatine Monohydrate is possibly the most studied sports supplement on the planet, over 700 studies, it is incredibly safe and is hugely beneficial. Creatine is a molecule that can rapidly produce energy (ATP), supplementing with it increases power output, work capacity and muscle growth. It has other great benefits as well, such as increasing brain function, bone density and liver health. Creatine can be taken at anytime of the day, it is often found in pre-workouts but creatine has not been shown to have an instant effect. Creatine Monohydrate is the best form of creatine to take, 2-5g a day is suitable for most people depending on bodyweight.
Whey Protein – This is a no brainer, anyone doing any sort of exercise can benefit from supplementing with protein. Whey helps to build muscle, recover from workouts and meet daily protein goals. It is naturally loaded with BCAA’s and has many other benefits as well, such as – increase immune function and decrease blood pressure and cholesterol.
Carbs – Carbohydrates are your bodies main source of energy and critical in athletic performance and recovery, especially for high intensity exercise. Consuming carbs during and after your workouts maintains and refuels glycogen stores in your muscles, enabling you to workout longer and harder.
Beta-Alanine – Has been shown to enhance muscular endurance, many studies show a multiple rep increase over baseline in the range of 8-15 repetitions. It also increases high intensity cardio performance, such as rowing or sprinting when supplemented.
Caffeine – We all know what Caffeine is, a stimulant that makes us more awake and alert. But did you know it can increase anaerobic endurance and power output?
Lactate (Lactic Acid) -During strenuous exercise, your muscles require more oxygen. When these oxygen requirements can not be met your body reverts to lactic acid (lactate) for energy. Supplementing with lactate means you already have lactate in your blood, your muscles already have the fuel they need.
The burning sensation is greatly reduced, even eliminated, by significantly balancing pH as this study shows. Work capacity increases through the roof, for example, this study showed a 17% increase in time to exhaustion when supplementing with lactate.
Beet Juice – Yes, you read that right. Beet juice has been shown to significantly increase time to exhaustion during exercise due to its nitrate content. Drink 500ml 2-3 hours before exercising and feel the difference.
CBD Oil – CBD is short for cannabidiol – a phytocannabinoid found in the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant known for supporting your body and mind in many beneficial ways.
Some of the almost endless benefits include; recovery from inflammation and pain from workouts, relief from stress and anxiety, help with sleep disorders and more.
In conclusion, the above choices are backed by a multitude of scientific evidence.
Always research any products you plan on taking, for a quick reference to check the safety and effectiveness of a product, examine.com is a great tool.