With the CrossFit Open 2016 around the corner several hundred thousand people find themselves preparing for the unknown. Some for the first time, while others it may be for the 2nd or even 5th time. All with questions: What WODs will be released? What movements will Dave Castro have us do?
For most of us, this is a time to find out what we're made of; to see if the work we have done has made us better. You don't have to be an elite athlete to participate—and let's face it, most have little chance of advancing to your regional open. This is an opportunity to test your metal against those in your community and friends, against yourself, and those around the world! The CrossFit Open is a way to test ourselves against a naturally competitive group and pushing ourselves past our collective limits. So while we might not be among the elite trying to find an edge in our performance is always on our minds.
First, we all want a level playing field and CrossFit ensures this with a stringent drug policy. Before you start taking ANY supplement make sure it meets my 5 rules for picking clean and safe supplements. There will be top level athletes this year that will be disqualified simply because the supplements they are taking are "mistakenly" laced with PED's (performance enhancing drugs) or they were too naive to know what they were taking. If we want to avoid this situation, all we need to do is to follow those rules.
So what supplements will help us push ourselves to the places unknown, sometimes referred to as "that dark place," where everything else fades away and it’s just you, your muscles, and your lungs.
What are the supplements that most of the high level and professional athletes use to give them an edge on their training and recovery?
- A clean whey protein that includes some REAL sugar and at least 20g of protein
- Caffeine (pre workout)
- A clean fish oil
- Branch chain amino acids / Glutamine
- Magnolia or Ashwagandha
After spending the last 7 years in supplement sales and manufacturing and working with health and fitness professionals from around the globe. I have seen the most successful athletes, teams and coaches use these supplements to increase their overall performance. I believe that if you want to take your fitness to the next level you need to be taking these foundational products. The list of reasons is too extensive to list here. I will however give you a few simple indications for why each should be used. A clean Whey protein (preferably from New Zealand) has been shown to increase muscle mass—the more muscle you have, the better you can perform. Caffeine has shown to decrease the bodies "Perceived Exertion" in other words, the body does more with less. Fish oil, to help decrease the inflammation caused through strenuous exercise. Branch chain amino acids (BCAA) to help aid in muscle recovery from the amount of work we put in. Magnolia and Ashwaganda helps reduce the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) we make by working hard.
The question is—are you taking these?
If you want to get the most out of your training and want to perform well in the open, you should start! Chances are most of your competition is! Good job putting in the work and good luck this year in the open!