Crossfiters are well known for putting all their efforts towards physical and performances goals.
One way to enhance it is by taking supplements!
In this article, we provide you with the 5 best supplements you could consider to take in order to increase your performances and achieve your goals.
Obviously, supplements don’t cover a bad diet, so make sure you have good eating habits before looking to enhance your nutrition with some supplements.
1/ Fish Oil/Omega 3
Whether you’re an athlete or not, Omega 3 is an amazing supplement you really should consider.
Why taking omega–3 fatty acids as supplements? Simply because they are essential fatty acids and the human cannot make them: they must be obtained through the diet or supplementation!
Fish oil contains 2 omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA which provide numerous benefits.
Among the numerous benefits, we can list:
- increasing muscle growth
- improving strength and physical performance,
- reducing exercise-induced muscle damage,
- combating negative immune effects of intensive training,
- improving heart and lung functioning
- relieving joint and muscle pain
How to take it?
The recommended dose is usually 2 caps twice a day
Athletes and those with body composition goals should start with 3,000 mg of fish oil spread out in 2-3 servings (it only lasts in the body about 8 hours) and work toward taking up to 6,000 mg per day
For a good omega 3 supplements, start by choosing products that contain EPA and DHA and ideally with an EPA amount superior to the DHA amount. That also means that your supplement will likely be fish oils. Vegetarian Omega 3 supplements are not the best choice is they usually don’t contain EPA or DHA and are made with linseed or flax oil, which provides another form of Omega 3.
- Use: Improving strength and physical performance, improving heart, brand functions and much more …
- Timing: Throughout the day
- How Much to Take: 3,000/6,000 mg a day ( approximately 2 caps twice a day depending on the brand)
Beta-alanine is a popular amino acid supplement used to improve the athletic performance. Generally, it improves heart fitness and reduces muscle fatigue and acid build-up
Beta-alanine (β-Alanine) is an amino acid naturally found in muscles and the brain. Together with histidine, it forms carnosine, which helps reduce acid build-up during exercise.
Indeed, during an intense exercise, the muscle contractions are producing an acid. The higher the level of acidity (pH) in the cells, the more difficult the contraction of the muscles becomes. Carnosine is the molecule helping to neutralize this acid.
Beta-alanine is most effective during anaerobic exercise (intense and exhaustive exercise that causes lactic acid to accumulate in the muscles), such as high-intensity interval training or sprinting. Most notably, it delays fatigue during repeated bouts of intense exercise with short recovery periods.
Beta-alanine can also be used for weight training to gain power and lean mass and has even better results when taken with creatine (see point 5)
How to take it?
Beta-alanine can be consumed as a pre-workout. Be careful, if you already take a pre-workout supplement, most of them contain Beta-alanine!
Some research also suggests that it’s more efficient when taken during a meal.
However, the benefits from beta-alanine are based upon raising muscle carnosine concentrations over time. Thus, the timing where you consume it is less important than the consistency of consumption throughout the days.
The standard daily dose is 2 to 5 g but when taken in a large dose, Beta-alanine can provoke a tingling feeling (paresthesia) so it’s also possible to take smaller doses (0.8–1 g) several times a day.
An easy way to check is your Beta-alanine supplement is a good quality product, is to check the product label and look for the word ‘Carnosyn’ on it. This is a patented, time-released ingredient. It also doesn’t produce the ‘tingling’ side effect that regular beta alanine does.
- Use: Improving strength and physical performance, reducing fatigue and lactic acid
- Timing: As a pre-workout or during a meal. It must be taken consistently every day to be efficient.
- How Much to Take: 2 to 5g, can be divided into small doses several times a day
Branched-Chain Amino Acid (BCAAs) supplements are a great supplement for people looking to cut down and shred some body fat whilst maintaining as much muscle as possible.
BCAAs are made from 3 essential amino: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are really important because, as the Omega 3, the body cannot make them, they must be obtained through the diet or supplementation!
When you are cutting calories, your body will be in a catabolic state. This means that your body will be breaking down tissue (fat, some muscle etc.) rather than making it (in opposition to being anabolic).
Muscle loss can then occur while cutting since your body opts to use the amino acids which would have been used for protein synthesis (to build muscle) as an energy source.
That’s why taking BCAAs supplement can be a way to prevent the muscle loss.
How to take it?
For optimal results, BCAAs can be taken before, during or after your training, and up to 2-3 times daily.
Regarding the dosage, you should take about 3-5g per hour during exercise and post workout. BCAA powder can be mixed with any drink for use during your training.
You have to know that BCAAs can also be obtained from whey protein, but are less concentrated and absorbed slower into the bloodstream than BCAAs supplements.
Research shows that 2:1:1 ratio with leucine representing 50% of the composition leads to the better results.
- Use: Building and maintaining muscles, avoid fatigue
- Timing: Pre-workout, intra-workout, post-workout, throughout the day
- How Much to Take: 3-5 grams
4/ Whey Protein Powder
When doing a regular training and pushing hard at the gym you need to consume enough protein in your diet to build muscles.
During every training, microscopic fiber damages happen to your muscles and your body is going to look to repair the muscle and build some more.
The body can do this process thanks to protein.
Sometimes when you are on the run it’s not the easiest option to grab a steak, that’s where Whey protein powder comes really handy!
There are two types of protein found in milk: whey and casein.
Whey is the translucent liquid part of milk that remains after the cheese manufacturing process, after coagulation and curd removal.
Whey protein is rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids needed for muscle growth. Along with many other minor proteins, ⍺-lactalbumin and β-lactalbumin are the two major proteins found in whey.
The main benefits of whey protein are:
- Increases Strength and Builds Muscle
- Burns Fat
- Reduces Cravings
- Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels
- Improves Energy
- Boosts Immunity
- Improves Heart Health
Clearly, getting enough protein in your diet is very important, and using high-quality protein powders is a great way to consume more protein without adding a lot more calories or carbohydrates to your diet.
How to take it?
The dosage of whey protein depends on the goal of each person, their lifestyle, and the amount of protein they already got through their diet.
In general, men should aim for 56-91 grams of protein/day while women should consume 46-75 grams/day
When talking about whey protein, timing is everything! Indeed, this one has shown better effects when taken during and/or after a workout.
Also, keep in mind that taking too much protein is useless. The body can only utilize a limited amount of protein at a given time, about 20-30 grams per hour is the maximum a body can digest.
When you buy a protein powder your intention is to buy protein, not carbs or fat which are really easy to get through your diet. So take a look at the Supplement Facts panel and be sure that your Whey protein doesn’t contain a lot of carbs or fat.
Also, most of the whey protein products contain more than one type of whey, like whey protein isolate, whey protein hydrolysate or whey protein concentrate. To be considered a great whey protein the product MUST list whey protein isolate or hydrolyzed whey protein isolate as the very first ingredient.
Finally, to be considered a good whey protein powder, the percentage of protein per serving (or scoop) should be 80% or more. For example, if a whey protein powder provides 25 grams of protein per 28-gram scoop, that protein powder is about 90% protein and is thus is a reliable product.
- Use: Muscle building and repair
- Timing: During/Post workout
- How Much to Take: 20-30g
5/ Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine is one of the most used supplements used by people looking to build lean muscle mass, maximize performance and increase strength. Not many supplements have this reach as they usually target one specific type of training, but creatine can both increase strength as well as improve the growth of muscle tissue.
Creatine is similar to protein (nitrogen-containing compound) but is not a true protein. It can be obtained in the food we eat (principally meat and fish) or formed in the body from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine.
Creatine is a molecule in an energy system (creatine phosphate) that can rapidly produce energy (ATP) to support cellular function. Basically, when our muscles run out of creatine, our short-term, high-intensity energy system shuts down and our muscles are no longer able to produce force.
For decades, creatine has made the object of hundreds of studies which have shown several benefits to this supplement including:
- Increased muscle levels of creatine
- Increased work capacity and improved training
- Greater increases in lean body mass
How to take it?
The entire goal of creatine supplementation is to saturate muscles stores with creatine. This can be achieved by consuming 3-5 grams per day.
Timing is not really a key factor with creatine supplementation but a lot of athletes usually take it around the training (before or during)
You can find Creating under several forms (Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Citrate, Creatine Malate, Creatine Ethyl Ester, Liquid Creatine, Micronized Creatine, Creatine Hydrochloride, Creatine Nitrate …)
However, the form of creatine used in the majority of studies demonstrating its benefits is a powdered creatine monohydrate. The other forms don’t present any significant advantage.
- Use: Increase strength, support lean mass increasing
- Timing: Before or after the workout
- How Much to Take: 3-5g