CrossFit is a sport of fine margins. The separation between first and last may only be a few extra seconds, pounds lifted or reps completed.
Each CrossFit workout is unique and stresses the utmost capacity of a Crossfitter's athletic performance and muscle capacity. A workout can push the individual's ability to perform and recover to their absolute max.
With such fine margins often being the key determinant of success within the sport, Crossfitters need to pay all the more attention to their diet, sleep, stress management and workout programming.
Over the next few weeks we'll be providing a comprehensive guide of Crossfit supplementation covering;
Sleep quality and quantity
The best Crossfit supplements for health
The best athlete version of you will also be the healthiest version of you.
It's absolutely paramount that Crossfit athletes prioritise their general health if they really want to see their performance improve.
Being healthier outside of the sport will allow you to perform and recover better within and around it. It'll also help minimize injury risk, reduce the chances of illness and ensure that your mental health is also in a good place.
What is the base of all good exercise performance and recovery? Being healthy of course. Health can be defined in many ways and should include all of life’s domains (of which include our physical, mental, financial, career and social health).
Our specific focus, at least as it relates to choosing specific supplementation, revolves around optimizing and or protecting our physical and mental health.
It is well understood that a CrossFit athlete has additional demands for nutrients given the nature of their physical activity schedule and the need to recover from repeated bouts of high intensity exercise.
In this article we're going to cover the most important supplements that Crossfitters should consider (and, arguably, need to take).
Vitamin D, iron and an omega 3 fatty acid supplement would all be highly recommended for a CrossFit athlete; not only will these supplements help to fortify their overall state of wellbeing but athletes have additional demands for iron (a mineral with an important role in oxygen transportation and energy production).
Known as the “sunshine vitamin”, we are able to produce active vitamin D when our skin is exposed to UV rays.
Vitamin D supplementation has many possible benefits. Many individuals are deficient in vitamin D or have an inadequate vitamin D status. This deficiency is, unfortunately, especially prevalent in vegan groups (who may miss out on certain fortified foods and or sources found in animal products).
Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D (which is most easily and practically done through supplementation) can have significantly beneficial impacts on an athlete's immune and musculoskeletal functions ultimately benefiting their performance and preventing future injuries.
When deciding on vitamin D supplementation you should aim to purchase vitamin D3 over vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is the form found in animals (and that which we produce in our skin following exposure to UV light from the sun) whereas D2 is the form found in plants. Circulating levels of vitamin D are better raised with D3 supplementation over D2 so it would be advised to take a D3 supplement (visit Myprotein for their range and use our discount code JAMIEW for up to 50% off).
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
Next to vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acid supplementation is arguably the most important supplement for CrossFit athletes to consider. Omega 3 fatty acid is involved in a range of our body's most important processes and even the formation of cells and cell to cell communication.
When we are looking through the lens of athletic performance, omega 3 fatty acid can influence not only the exercise and the metabolic response of skeletal muscle, but also the functional response for a period of exercise training. Notably, omega 3 fatty acid also has a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect which can assist in muscle recovery from exercise by mitigating muscle soreness, muscle damage and even muscle breakdown.
Omega 3 fatty acid is typically found in fish oil, but can also be sourced from algae too for vegan athletes. It would be advised to keep your omega 3 fatty acid supplementation stored in a cool environment (fridge for example) to prevent the fat from oxidizing (which could lower the health benefitting potential of supplementation. Visit Myprotein for their range and use our discount code JAMIEW for up to 50% off.
Athletes have a greater dietary requirement for iron due to the physical demands placed on their body from their sport / exercise. Female athletes in particular should consider supplementing with dietary iron, especially if they are menstruating, as they are at greater risk of deficiency.
Plant-based athletes should also consider supplementing with iron. Aside from the demands of their sport, there dietary intake may be hampered by absorption inhibiting, naturally occuring substances (phytates) found within plants. Obviously those athletes who are both menstruating and plant-based should seriously consider incorporating an iron supplement into their daily regimen.
Visit Myprotein for their range of iron supplements and use our discount code JAMIEW for up to 50% off.
Multivitamins could arguably be the most practical solution to the above requirements (aside from omega-3 recommendations as these are rarely found in multivitamin products) whilst also providing many other vitamins and minerals important for athletes overall health, performance and recovery.
Multivitamins are essentially "safety nets" for Crossfitters dietary intake and should help minimizing the risk of ever developing deficiencies. We would advise not treating them as a crutch to poor dietary practices rather they should be a compliment (and, as mentioned, a "safety net") to an already nutritious intake (everyone has days where they may not get in the meals / foods they'd like so the multivit can safeguard for those days).
Crossfit is a demanding sport that takes a lot out of you both physically and mentally. If you want to be at your best, you need to make sure that you’re taking the right supplements alongside your nutritious diet to perform at your best.
We’ve highlighted some of the best health supplements for Crossfit, but if you have any questions about what would work best for you, reach out to speak to our team. They can recommend products based on your individual needs and goals.
And don’t forget to visit Myprotein – use our discount code JAMIEW at checkout for up to 50% off all orders!
Balance is Northern Ireland's leading nutritionist and dietician coaching team. We work with everyone from Olympians to office workers to help them achieve their nutrition and diet related goals.
Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you;
- Beat binge eating
- Lose weight and keep it off
- Take your sports performance to the next level and reach your full potential