Choose the right sport supplements!

In my last post, I discussed the supplements that I recommend to add to your diet to reach optimal health.  In this post, I would like to discuss sports supplements.  Many people think that when they work out, they need their protein shake otherwise their effort in the gym will be wasted…  No shake, no gainz!?  Or there is the crossfitter that, without his/her pre-workout drink, WoDing is not possible…  But how can I go 100% intensity otherwise?!

I hope to surprise some of you by telling you that you don’t need a pre-workout and a post-workout supplement to obtain all the benefits from your workout sessions.  In fact, a sport supplement should NEVER replace a deficient lifestyle.  For the Average-Everyday-Normal guy/girl who goes to the gym two to three times a week, if your nutrition is not dialled in, you don’t hit the bed consistently for at least 8 hours each night, and you swim in stress daily, your are simply wasting your money with sport supplements!  You don’t need the mass gainer, fat burner, super energizer pre-WoD, and incredible recovery post-WoD supplements.

Sports supplements are for the serious athletes who need the extra edge.  By that I mean someone who trains five days or more per week, sleeps well, eats clean, and manages his recovery time by relaxation, stretching and mobilization.  That type of crossfitter needs extra help to enhance the benefits from the last training session, as well as optimizing the muscles repair and minimizing the recovery time so he/she can be back in the gym quickly.  If you don’t fit in that description, I strongly advice to go back to the basics: nutrition, sleep, and stress management.  Read my previous posts about how to choose your carb, fat, and protein sources smartly 🙂

As for the sports supplements that I recommend, again, I like to keep it simple.  You know by now that I am a strong paleo-diet proponent so you guessed it: your sport supplement should be free of grain, dairy, and artificial ingredients.  If you are going to supplement to optimize your training sessions, you certainly don’t want to ingest ingredients that are inflammatory!  Now, when choosing supplements, you should prioritize branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are isoleucine, leucine, and valine.  These three amino acids comprise 35% of your muscle tissue, and because of their branched structure, they are easily converted into energy during exercise.  Hence, with a higher concentration of BCAAs in your muscles, more can be used for energy, slowing the breakdown of muscles cells and preventing muscle loss.  BCAAs can be taken before, during, and after training.  Two staple supplements that I discussed already are magnesium and vitamin-C.  Magnesium is essential for energy production, involved in over 300 reactions, including energy generated during exercise.  Many of these reactions are also related to protein synthesis, hence vital for rebuilding muscle tissues after exercise.  Vitamin-C is a powerful antioxidant that will minimize the oxidative damage caused by training therefore minimizing inflammation and will lower cortisol raised during training.  You are encouraged to take magnesium and vitamin-C post-exercise.

Coaches Notes:

  • This is a very posterior chain dominate day!  I recommend doing any mobilization you need for your hips and hamstrings the night before to prep.
  • Take extra care on setting the back for your power snatches as the weight is light and the back will be a bit fatigued from the strength component.
  • Reset the back at the hang position before moving back to the floor.
  • There is no recommendations on the weight to be used for the workout.  There is a time cap set, so it depends if you want to complete all the reps.  If the weight is more than 50% of your 1RM, you may have a challenging time completing all the reps in the time cap.
  • Use the good ‘ol hook grip on the power snatches.
  • When stringing the reps together on the thrusters, rest with the weight overhead to save energy instead of in the rack position.
  • Make the first rep a squat clean 🙂


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